If you’re sexually active, it’s important that you know how to safeguard your sexual health to maintain your wellbeing and avoid damaging your fertility. Chlamydia is one of the UK’s most common STIs, and it can impact fertility. In fact, it can even lead to infertility if it is left untreated.
The chlamydia virus is actually an organism like a bacteria that is passed through any kind of unprotected sex, including oral sex. Around 10 per cent of young people in the UK are estimated to have had it at some time, and the NHS recommends that anyone who is aged under 25 and sexually active gets checked yearly.
The key thing to know is that this STI often has no signs; up to 70 per cent of women who have it exhibit no symptoms at all. Those who do may simply think that they have cystitis or see a small amount of bleeding after sex or before a period.
The dangers of PID
If the infection isn’t diagnosed and treated, however, it can travel up to the cervix after lying dormant for several months and infect the fallopian tubes in the process. This can lead to PID, or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, which leads to various painful and unpleasant symptoms such as bleeding, heavy periods, pain during sex, pain whilst urinating and other pains, fever and even nausea.
If this isn’t treated, the fallopian tubes can become blocked or scarred, which can lead to infertility. In fact, the NHS has said that around 10 per cent of women who get PID will experience infertility as a result. The same STI can also lead to infertility in males and reactive arthritis, which can last for up to a year after treatment.
Remember that you can get STI testing London wide through www.checkurself.org.uk/plus/. Although prevention is better than cure, chlamydia is quick and easy to diagnose and also easy to treat with antibiotics.
Remember that the only way you are truly protected from an STI when having sex is to use a condom. Always carry a condom with you, be vigilant for symptoms, get an annual STI check, and ensure your sexual partner is thorough with testing. Even if you don’t plan to have children in the near future, you must protect yourself now.