You probably already know that STDs can lead to a host of medical conditions and complications for women, including cervical cancer and other potentially fatal diseases, making routine STD screening key for women’s health. But did you know that STDs can also cause infertility in women?
Even if having children is not currently a part of your life plan, if you intend to have kids down the line it’s important to realize the risks associated with STDs — and start taking detection and treatment seriously with STD screening.
STDs, Infertility, & STD Screening
Chlamydia & Gonorrhea
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), STDs like chlamydia and gonorrhea are two preventable causes of infertility that can be detected with STD screening. When women with chlamydia or gonorrhea are left untreated, their fallopian tubes can get infected without displaying any symptoms. 10-15% of them will also develop pelvic inflammatory disease or PID. Along with the unnoticed fallopian tube infection, PID can cause lasting damage to the fallopian tubes, uterus, and surrounding reproductive tissues, leading to permanent infertility.
How Can STD Screening Help With Infertility?
Silent STD Symptoms
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are two STDs whose symptoms often never manifest — and when they do, women and their doctors can often confuse the symptoms with other ailments.
Though 3/4 of women with chlamydia never experience symptoms, those who do might suspect they have a bladder infection due to their abnormal vaginal discharge, a burning sensation in urination, and spotting between periods. Likewise, gonorrhea symptoms such as painful urination, yellowed or bloody vaginal discharge, pain in the abdomen, or a heavier menstrual flow can also be confused with bladder infection.
Though only 1,412,791 cases of chlamydia and 321,849 cases of gonorrhea were reported in 2011, the CDC estimates that there are closer to 2,860,000 people infected with chlamydia and 820,000 with gonorrhea — meaning half of those infected are unaware of their STDs (which could have been identified with STD screening). The high volume of unreported STD cases leaves women at a higher risk for infertility, as they could be living with the disease or have increased chances of contracting it from silently infected partners.
Detect & Treat STDs Early With STD Screening
The best way to combat the effects of STDs is through early detection and treatment — which you can achieve with STD screening. Gonorrhea can be cured with a prescription medication regimen, but any permanent damage caused by the disease before its detection — including infertility — can’t be undone. Chlamydia is also treated with antibiotics, but repeat infection of the STD is common, especially if infected persons don’t continue with STD screening. This means it’s key to detect chlamydia early so that you and your partners can be treated to prevent re-infection — and to follow up your treatment with an additional STD screening 3 months after your initial treatment. Remember, a woman with multiple chlamydia infections runs a higher risk of infertility caused by PID, and routine STD screening can prevent this.
In order to most effectively fight chlamydia and gonorrhea, the CDC recommends STD screening for all women who are sexually active under the age of 25 as well as women 25+ who are sexually active with a new partner or multiple partners.
Get Reliable, Walk-In STD Screening Today!
If you want to ensure your reproductive health, you should schedule routine STD screening for infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea. To help you with early detection and STD treatment, ARCpoint Labs offers comprehensive STD screening, including chlamydia and gonorrhea testing, at many of its facilities nationwide. Click here to see if STD screening is available at the ARCpoint location near you, and start lowering your risks for STD-related infertility.