STIs are a preventable cause of infertility for women
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Australia's Intelligent STI Check - Fast, Convenient and Discreet

STIs and Women

STIs are an important preventable cause of infertility for both men and women. If left un-diagnosed and untreated, STIs can lead to dangerous long-term health consequences including chronic pain, infertility, sterility and even cancer.

Possible outcomes of STI infection in women include;

  • Infertility – at their most severe, untreated STIs can lead to infertility in women. STIs are equal opportunity sterilisers, as men can also become sterile as a result of chlamydia or gonorrhoea infections.

  • Ectopic pregnancy – this occurs when scarring of a woman’s reproductive organs, which can occur as a result of an STI like chlamydia or gonorrhoea, causes a fertilised egg to and grow outside of the uterus.

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) – two out of five women whose chlamydia infection is not treated develop PID, which can lead to chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy, and infertility. Untreated gonorrhoea can also lead to PID.

  • Infection of newborns – pregnant women with untreated STIs may pass these infections on to their babies. The results of this transmission can be premature birth, stillbirth, death soon after birth, birth defects and, in the case of HIV, lifetime infection. In pregnant women with untreated early syphilis, 21% of pregnancies result in stillbirth and 9% in neonatal death (WHO).

  • Heart disease and brain function – untreated syphilis can lead to cardiovascular and neurological problems, blindness, and can eventually result in death if left untreated.

  • Un-diagnosed Hepatitis B can result in chronic liver disease or hepatoma (liver cancer).

In women, untreated STIs can also have critical implications for reproductive, maternal and newborn health.

All of the curable STIs have been linked with preterm labour, and associated risks to the neonate of preterm birth, low birth weight and death.

Hepatitis B infection can also be transmitted from mother to child at birth, which can lead to chronic infection and cancer.