The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is reporting a rise in sexually transmitted infections across the United States. For the fifth year in a row, there is a rise in gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis cases across the country.
“Combined they total 2.4 million infections that were diagnosed and reported just in the last year alone,” said Elizabeth Torrone, an epidemiologist at the CDC. She also stated that this is the most cases ever recorded since monitoring began in the United States.
As a fertility specialist, this is alarming to hear. Sexually transmitted infections can negatively impact a person’s future fertility. Two of the biggest culprits for causing female infertility are gonorrhea and chlamydia. Both of these infections can cause scarring of the fallopian tubes, which can block the passage way for sperm to get to an egg to fertilize it. Scarring of the fallopian tubes can also increase a woman’s chance of having an ectopic pregnancy, which can be a serious and life-threatening condition.
At least half of all tubal factor infertility cases are thought to be due to sexually transmitted infections. Unfortunately, some sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia, cause few noticeable symptoms, so can go undiagnosed for long periods of time. The longer the infection is present, the higher likelihood it will cause scarring in the reproductive tract.
It is extremely important for both men and women to have routine screening for sexually transmitted infections, even if they are not experiencing unusual symptoms. If you know that you want to conceive a pregnancy in the future, using condoms and having routine screening for sexually transmitted infections are some of the best things you can do to protect your future fertility.