You have concrete plans to have kids or at least would keep the possibility open for a far-off future date? Then these are the 5 things you need to know about STDs, also known as sexually transmitted diseases.
#1 Chlamydia: Leading cause of infertility in women
Most people have a pretty good idea about the risks of HIV/Aids. However, less known STDs like Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are often severely underestimated - especially considering that they are much much more common than HIV/Aids. When it comes to family planning, you should specifically care about Chlamydia: in Switzerland, Chlamydia infections are the leading cause for infertility in women. This is how Chlamydia kill your baby-dreams:
Untreated Chlamydia infection --> Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) --> Scarring of fallopian tubes -->Goodbye, baby dreams
Unfortunately, today, there is no cure for scarred fallopian tubes, so this will end your family dreams pretty permanently. You are wondering, how Chlamydia infections can go untreated? Spoiler alert: Chlamydia infections don´t cause any symptoms in 70% of men and even 90% of women. More about that in point #3. Doesn´t sound so good? Yes, we agree. Gonorrhea can cause the same issue, but it´s less common. Both infections can also cause infertility in men.
#2 Risk for pregnancy & unborn child
STDs can also cause you trouble after having gotten pregnant successfully. Chlamydia & Co can for example lead to so called ectopic pregnancies where the fertilized egg does not embed itself inside the womb but outside of it. As you can imagine, that does not bode well for a successful pregnancy. The pregnancy will have to be terminated and serious medical complications can put the mum-to-be at risk.
To top it all off, Chlamydia can be transmitted to the unborn child and cause a severe eye infection which might lead to blindness.
At this point, most people think, oh well, sounds pretty scaryb, but I use condoms, don´t have symptoms and I don´t sleep with people who would have an STD. If you want to protect that false sense of security, this is where you should stop reading 😉.
#3 90% of infections occur without symptoms
Yes, you read that correctly. In a large majority of cases, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea infections don´t cause any sympomts. In women, it´s even around 90% (!). You just had an "oh shit"-moment? Yeah, so did we when we learned about this. And we have another one for your: condoms don´t provide 100% protection from Chlamydia and genital contact is all it takes to transmit it. No penetration necessary. So yes, you can behave totally responsibly, have no symptoms and you even don´t need to have penetrative sex to become the unwilling host to Chlamydia & friends.
#4 More common than you think
While HIV/Aids infections have been in recession in the past couple years thanks to awarness campaigns, Prep-Pills and a lot of progress with treatment, other less known STDs like Chlamydia have been celebrating record numbers. In Switzerland, Chlamydia infections have doubled in the past five years. In 2019, they reached a new record of twelve thousand per per year. People between 20 and 30 are most commonly affected: in this age group, it´s estimated, that every 10th person has an STD. When it comes to Chlamydia (you remember: killer of unborn babies), women between 15 and 24 are especially at risk.
So let´s summarise: STDs, especially relatively unknown ones like Chlamydia, are becoming increasingly common and especially tricky because you can have them despite using condoms and because they are easy to miss since they don´t cause symptoms. This can have drastic consequences for your family planning - infertility! Not great? Yes, we agree. But no worries, there is a very easy solution.
#5 Simple solution: get screened regularly
STDs are generally only really dangerous if they are not notices over long periods of time - which can happen pretty easily. We want to remind you again: up to 90% without symptoms (!).
The best way to trick those sneaky bastards and to protect your future family plans is to get tested for STDs regularly. For Chlamydia and Gonorrhea, that means an easy urine test or vaginal swab. You can get it done at the doctor or comfortably from home with home sampling tests like the ones we offer at Health Yourself. You will have you results within 2-3 working days.
So what if you are positive? STDs - especially the most common candidates like Chlamydia and Gonorrhea - can usually be treated and completely cured very easily. After one or two weeks "sex-break" and antibiotics, you can go back to your dating life.
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