Chlamydia, as well as Gonorrhea, two of the most common STDs, can cause Tubal Disease in women. In turn, Tubal Disease is the 3rd most frequent cause of Infertility. “The tubal damage caused by Chlamydia or Gonorrhea may result in tubal closure or other damage that may result in infertility and/or may lead to ectopic pregnancy (tubal pregnancy). The risk of tubal damage caused by Chlamydia and Gonorrhea can result in loss of, or diminished fertility and/or ectopic pregnancy,” says Dr. Rana. Depending upon the severity of the tubal disease, which may result in complete or partial tubal closure, Invitro Fertilization (IVF) may be required to conceive. To add to an already complex issue, a recent study indicates that women with Chlamydia have a significantly lower chance of conceiving even when the fallopian tubes appear normal on imaging tests.
Almost 3 million cases of Chlamydia occur each year in the United States, along with approximately 1 million cases of Gonorrhea. Other STD’s can have a negative impact on Fertility as well, one that is not fully understood yet. The risk of contracting STD’s can be lessened by minimizing the number of sexual partners as well as through the use of latex condoms.
Often times, Chlamydia does not cause symptoms, despite the fact that damage is being done to the reproductive system. Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI) specialists may administer blood tests to more accurately determine the presence of Sexually Transmitted Disease. Physicians recommend yearly testing for those women under the age of 25, or older women who are at a higher risk due to multiple partners and/or one who is affected by an STD. The earlier the diagnosis, the more likely the chance of preventing reproductive damage.
“There are certain things that women can do to be proactive in preserving their future fertility,” says Dr. Rana. “Protecting from STDs is one of those ways.”