08 Feb European Day of Sexual Health
On February 14th, the European Day of Sexual Health is celebrated in our continent. A date that was born in 2003, proposed by the ESHA, European Alliance for Sexual Health. This organization has the purpose of making society aware of the need to have healthy sexual habits. Thus, this day was suggested to put on the table some important items, such as respect for sexual rights and the promotion of safe sex.
We are all aware that unsafe sex causes diseases, some of them very dangerous that can lead to serious health problems. We are talking about STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) or STIs (sexually transmitted infections). This last one we mentioned is the one that appears before the disease. Unfortunately, according to the WHO, more than a million people are infected with a sexually transmitted disease every day, approximately 450 million cases a year.
STDs are transmitted through sexual contact, vaginal, anal, and through oral sex.
The most common diseases are HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes, syphilis or trichomoniasis, which can be caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites. Although they do not always have symptoms, people who suffer from an STD may have symptoms such as itching, redness in the genital area, fever, abdominal pain, abnormal vaginal odour, bleeding, anal pain or itching, sores or warts, HPV, etc.
How do STDs affect fertility?
Diseases such as chlamydia or gonorrhea are the ones that can cause infertility in both women and men, since they can reach the uterus or the fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammation and, therefore, damaging the reproductive organs.
When STDs are not treated early, they can cause these problems:
- Damage the fallopian tubes, creating a scar or fibrous adhesions in them, causing a blockage in the tubes that hinders the movement of eggs to the uterus.
- Cause ectopic pregnancies.
- Reduce the mobility of sperm, due to some microorganisms that are located in the cervical mucus of the cervix.
- In the case of men, they suffer a decrease in the quality and quantity of sperm.
- strong>Alter seminal fluid and pH.
70% of infertility cases are in women, between the ages of 15 and 39
Gonorrhea can cause infections in specific areas, such as the throat, rectum, or genitals. A disease that can also be transmitted from mother to fetus, causing eye infections, leading to blindness in the baby. It is one of the most dangerous infections during pregnancy.
It is very dangerous because it can be asymptomatic or confused with a mere cystitis or some vaginal infection. The symptoms are yellowish vaginal discharge, pain when urinating and even bleeding. In addition, it is the most resistant STD to antibiotics.
Chlamydia can cause PID in women in the upper part of the genital tract, the pelvic inflammatory disease, discussed above. So the fallopian tubes, the uterus or some tissues that are in that area can be damaged by this STD.
It is caused by bacteria and can affect not only the reproductive organs, but also the mouth, rectum or urethra. The positive part of this disease is that with the intake of antibiotics it can be easily treated.
What damage can an STD cause in pregnancy?
The most common STDs can also become a dangerous and threatening factor for pregnant women, since they can transmit the disease to their baby during pregnancy and at birth.
In fact, diseases such as syphilis manage to reach the placenta and infect the fetus. Others such as those mentioned above, along with hepatitis B or genital herpes, infect the newborn at the time that they pass through the vagina during childbirth.
It is for this reason that, when a patient or a couple wants to undergo assisted reproduction treatment, one of the tests that is carried out is to confirm that they are free of any STD, since many of them do not present symptoms, but are just as harmful to the woman’s health, as well as to the future baby.
The role of assisted reproduction after an STD
When a woman, due to a sexually transmitted disease, has her tubes blocked, no egg will be able to be fertilized. In addition, in the event that they are partially obstructed and the egg could meet the sperm, the damage from an STD can also harm the moment that the embryo must be implemented in the uterus, causing ectopic pregnancies in some cases.
In these cases, IVF is the best option to get a woman pregnant. If you need more information about our treatments, do not hesitate to schedule a first free visit with our team of gynecologists specialized in fertility.