Your Fertility Questions Answered
Can I get pregnant at any time of my cycle?
Yes, although the chances of getting pregnant at the beginning or end of your cycle are very low. The problem is, if you don’t want to be pregnant, you can’t take chances.
While it will vary from woman to woman, you are usually most fertile around 2 weeks before your next period is due. This is when an egg is released from your ovaries .
Sperm can live for up to 5 days inside you, so even if you have sex early on in your cycle there is a possibility sperm will still be there when you ovulate and the egg will be fertilised. If you ovulate early, it would be possible to get pregnant shortly after your period finishes.
Some women think if they’ve had unprotected sex a few times and not become pregnant that they may be infertile, but all this suggests is they probably weren’t having sex at their fertile time.
If you’ve had unprotected sex and don’t want to be pregnant, use emergency contraception as soon as possible after it’s happened.
I’ve had chlamydia – will that make it more difficult for me to conceive?
Most women who have had chlamydia won’t have any difficulties conceiving that are related to the infection.
If you are under 25, the NHS recommends you are tested every year or when you change partners. You can also request a free postal self-test kit on line in your local area. Find out more information online from NHS Choices
Does it become harder to conceive the older I get?
Does abortion lead to infertility?
What Is The Treatment
During any stage, syphilis can be treated with antibiotics. Antibiotic treatment cannot undo the damage already caused by syphilis in the late latent stage, but it can prevent further damage. After treatment, you must have blood tests to make sure the treatment worked.
Your sexual partners within the last 3 to 12 months should be tested and treated for syphilis. This will depend on what stage of syphilis you are diagnosed with. Do not have sex until 2 weeks after you and your partner have finished the treatment and you have confirmed that the treatment was effective.
How Can I Prevent Spreading Sexually Transmitted Diseases
- Stop having sex until you see a healthcare provider and are treated.
- Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for treatment.
- Use condoms whenever you have sex, especially with new partners.
- Don’t resume having sex unless your healthcare provider says it’s okay.
- Return to your healthcare provider to get rechecked.
- Be sure your sex partner or partners also are treated.
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Which Stis Cause Pregnancy Complications
Some STIs make it difficult to initially conceive, while others pose a risk while youre pregnant.
Syphilis in pregnancy is particularly dangerous, as it can cause miscarriage, prematurity, stillbirth, neonatal death, low birth weight, or a serious infection in the baby.
Trichomonas might cause your baby to be born prematurely or with a low birth weight. At this moment in time, we dont know how big of an issue this is and more research is needed.
Genital herpes can sometimes cause problems for the baby – this depends on whether you have recurrent genital herpes or whether you caught it for the first time during the last six weeks of your pregnancy. If you caught herpes for the first time, your body hasnt had enough time to make antibodies to protect the baby during pregnancy and childbirth. This means your baby can catch it during vaginal delivery. Your baby might get neonatal herpes, which is quite serious, but easily treatable. This is why some women are offered a caesarean section if it is certain that they got their first-ever genital herpes outbreak in the later stages of pregnancy. If youve had genital herpes outbreaks before you fell pregnant you may just be offered a course of suppression therapy to reduce the chance of an outbreak during labour.
Syphilis Treatment By Stages
Syphilis is a very old disease, and there are records of patients with syphilis that date back hundreds of years. However, it wasnt until the invention of the first modern antibiotic penicillin that doctors were able to successfully treat this disease. The progression of syphilis can be subdivided into four distinct stages, which are as follows:
- Primary syphilis
Lets talk about how syphilis can be treated in each of its stages.
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How Did I Get Syphilis
Syphilis is almost always passed through sex. It also can be passed from an infected mother to her baby during pregnancy.
Syphilis can sometimes be avoided through safer sexusing condoms, and using dental dams during oral sex. Syphilis sores have to be covered up with a bandage to keep the infection from spreading.
Pregnant And Lactating People
A single dose of benzathine penicillin G-LA is effective in most cases of early syphilisFootnote 2. Some experts recommend that primary, secondary and early latent cases be treated with two doses of benzathine penicillin G-LA 2.4 million units one week apart, particularly in the third trimesterFootnote 15. This is because of:
- The difficulty in accurately staging cases of syphilis
- Physiological changes in pregnancy that may alter the pharmacokinetics of penicillin and reduce plasma penicillin levels
- Limited data suggesting a possible benefit to additional therapyFootnote 16
The effectiveness of additional doses to prevent fetal syphilis is not known. Retreatment during pregnancy is not necessary unless there is clinical or serologic evidence of new infection , serologic evidence of inadequate treatment response or history of recent sexual contact with a person with infectious syphilisFootnote 2,Footnote 17,Footnote 18.
Manage people diagnosed with infectious syphilis during pregnancy in consultation with an obstetric/maternal-fetal specialist.
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Can Having An Sti Affect My Pregnancy
STIs can affect your ability to become pregnant , as well as your pregnancy. Women who are pregnant can get the same STIs as women who are not pregnant. If you get infected with an STI while pregnant, it can cause serious problems for you and your developing baby.
If you are pregnant, or wanting to become pregnant, it is recommended that you are tested for STIs even if you have been tested in the past. If you have concerns about this, discuss them with your doctor.
If you do contract an STI while pregnant, getting early treatment can reduce the risks. Even if the STI cant be cured, there are things that can be done to protect you and your baby.
What Is The Treatment For Syphilis
Syphilis can be treated with penicillin. The penicillin is given as a shot. If you had syphilis for less than one year, you only need to get one shot. If you had syphilis for more than one year, you need three shotsone shot a week for three weeks. If you’re allergic to penicillin, be sure to tell your doctor.
If you have an advanced case of syphilis, you may need stronger treatment. You may get shots of penicillin every day for 10 days. This can be done in the doctor’s office or at a clinic. A few people have to go to the hospital to get penicillin put into their veins.
If you’re pregnant, it’s very important to get treated right away. Syphilis can hurt your unborn baby.
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Where Can I Go For A Sexual Health Check
The best places to go are a genito-urinary medicine clinic, sexual health clinic, your GP or a young peoples clinic.
All information given will be kept confidential, and the tests are only done with your permission.
You can find details of local GUM clinics by contacting the Sexual Health Line on 0300 123 7123 or the Family Planning Associations website
Remember that your reproductive partner should have a sexual health check-up too.
How Stds Cause Infertility
Gonorrhea and chlamydia, which are preventable, are the two STDs most likely to result in infertility because they can cause PID in women. This can inflame and scar the fallopian tubes, making it hard for sperm and eggs to find each other, blocking pregnancy. Chlamydia and gonorrhea can also cause inflammation of the cervix and inflammation of the urethra in the lower part of the urinary tract.
Gonorrhea and chlamydia often show no symptoms, so thats another concern and reason to be tested. If untreated, about 15 percent of women with chlamydia will develop PID, which occurs in the upper part of the genital tract affecting the uterus, fallopian tubes and surrounding tissues in those areas. This can cause infertility, with cases of acute PID being particularly damaging to fertility.
Screening for gonorrhea and chlamydia is simple and inexpensive, involving a urine sample. Treatment is also relatively easy. The CDC recommends dual therapy of two drugs, one an injection, the other an oral medication. Because gonorrhea and chlamydia often occur at the same time, this dual approach can cure both.
HPV and herpes simplex virus dont directly cause infertility, but HSV can make you more vulnerable to other infections. Couples with HSV must abstain from sex until the sores have healed, and HPV can progress to cervical cancer, and the treatments can sometimes make you less fertile.
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Can Stis Ever Affect Fertility
If an STI is left untreated, people with ovaries can develop pelvic inflammatory disease an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and cervix which can result in infertility. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , 10%-15% of women with chlamydia will develop PID. But remember, this refers to situations where chlamydia is not treated which again drives home the importance of regular STI testing.
Chlamydia can result in these fallopian tube infections with mild or no symptoms, so the issue may continue undetected without testing and cause permanent damage that could potentially result in infertility. Similarly, untreated gonorrhea can spread into the uterus and fallopian tubes, resulting in PID and potentially infertility but you can undergo fertility treatments to try to conceive. If PID was severe enough to distort the fallopian tube anatomy such that they are no longer functional, IVF is an alternative means of conception, Dr. Conti explains. We can bypass the tubes entirely and place an embryo directly into the uterus.
What Happens During A Syphilis Test
If you have symptoms of syphilis, a doctor or nurse will check your penis, vagina and bottom for syphilis sores . They may use a swab to collect a fluid sample from any sores.
They’ll also check the rest of your body for other signs of syphilis like a rash, sores or wart-like growths. They may also take a blood sample.
You may also have tests for other sexually transmitted infections at the same time.
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Can Stds Be Treated During Pregnancy
Bacterial STDs can be treated and cured with antibiotics during pregnancy. There is no cure for viral STDs such as genital herpes and HIV, but antiviral medication for herpes and HIV may reduce symptoms in the pregnant woman. In addition, the risk of passing HIV infection from mother to baby is dramatically reduced by treatment. For women who have active genital herpes lesions at the time of delivery, a cesarean section may be performed to protect the newborn against infection.
What Are The Signs Of Syphilis
In men, the first sign of syphilis may be a sore on the penis. In women, the first sign may be a sore around or inside the vagina. You might not even notice the sore, because syphilis sores don’t hurt. The sores go away after three to six weeks.
If you don’t treat syphilis early, it spreads from the sore into your blood. When syphilis gets into your blood, it can cause many problems. The most common sign is a rash. The rash may show up, often on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet, from two weeks to two months after the sore appeared. Other signs of syphilis include fever, sore throat and swollen lymph glands.
After many years, people with syphilis who don’t get treatment may begin to have problems in their brain and spinal cord. Syphilis may damage the heart and other organs, too.
Some people with syphilis don’t have any signs of infection. In other people, the signs may be very mild. They might not even know they have it. But even if the signs of infection go away on their own, the germs are still alive. They can cause serious health problems many years later.
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What If I Find Out I Have An Sti
Dont worry. Most STIs can be treated. These are available in most pharmacies or from a GP or GUM clinic.
Some treatments are not suitable if you are trying to get pregnant. Your GP, pharmacist or clinic will let you know which ones.
If you have an STI you shouldnt have sex until seven days after you and your partner have completed treatment and the infection has cleared. Sometimes, symptoms may not go away after the first treatment and you may need another round. If the treatment doesnt work you may need more tests.
Tell the doctor, nurse or pharmacist that you want to start trying for a baby. They will be able to advise you about when the infection should clear and when to start trying for a baby.
Can I Get Treated For An Std While Im Pregnant
It depends. STDs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomoniasis and BV can all be treated and cured with antibiotics that are safe to take during pregnancy. STDs that are caused by viruses, like genital herpes, hepatitis B, or HIV cannot be cured. However, in some cases these infections can be treated with antiviral medications or other preventive measures to reduce the risk of passing the infection to your baby. If you are pregnant or considering pregnancy, you should be tested so you can take steps to protect yourself and your baby.
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Should I Tell My Sex Partner I Have Syphilis
Yes. Then your partner can find out if he or she also has syphilis. If you’re not comfortable telling your sex partner, your doctor can help you. In some places, the local health department can tell sex partners that they may have syphilis and should get a test. If you wish, your name can be kept secret.
How Can I Get Tested For Syphilis During Pregnancy
If you suspect that you may have syphilis while pregnant, it is extremely important to get tested. Based on the results, you and your primary healthcare provider can take the necessary precautions in regards to your prenatal health.The US Preventative Services Task Force now suggests that ALL pregnant women be screened for syphilis.See our full article on syphilis to learn more about screening and testing.
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Syphilis During Pregnancy: Symptoms Testing And Treatment
Pregnancy can be a very fun and exciting time for expecting mothers and families, but along with that excitement can be many sources of stress, such as the state of your own health. It is important to make your primary health care provider aware of any pre-existing health issues or diseases. Syphilis during pregnancy is serious, but the good news is that there are things you can do to reduce or avoid any problems for your growing baby.The US Preventative Services Task Force now suggests that ALL pregnant women be screened for syphilis.
How To Get Tested For Syphilis
Visit your health care provider to get any syphilis symptoms, like sore or rashes, tested. Your health care provider may give you a referral for lab work to get your blood tested.
It is recommended that gbMSM and anyone who has multiple sexual partners be tested for syphilis every 3 to 6 months or immediately if they have symptoms.
Screening for syphilis is recommended as part of prenatal screening for anyone who is pregnant. If you are pregnant, speak to your health care provider to learn about your risk of getting STIs, including syphilis. They can help determine if you need STI screening.
You can access testing directly at certain lab locations in B.C. To locate the nearest testing clinic or get tested online, visit Smart Sex Resource at and/or Get Checked Online at www.getcheckedonline.com.
What Can I Do To Make Sure My Baby Doesnt Get Congenital Syphilis
If you are pregnant, heres what you can do:
- Go to Your Doctor. If you think you may be pregnant, see a health care provider as soon as possible to be sure that you and your baby are healthy during your pregnancy. Prenatal care is important for every pregnancy. Even if youve been pregnant before, its important to ensure that THIS pregnancy is healthy. All pregnant women should be tested for syphilis, ideally at their first doctor visit. Make sure to ask your doctor about getting tested at your first visit.
- Ask for the Results of Your Syphilis Test. And if you test positive for syphilis during pregnancy, be sure to get treatment right away. Your doctor can treat you with medicine that is safe for both you and your unborn baby.
- Complete Follow-Up Visits with Your Doctor. Continue to visit your doctor regularly during your pregnancy to be sure that you and your baby stay healthy. If you learn that one of your sexual partners has or may have syphilis, tell your doctor right away so you and your partner can be treated, and your baby can be protected. Your doctor may need to retest you for syphilis at the beginning of your third trimester and at delivery, depending on how common syphilis infections are in the area that you live in. Ask your doctor if you should be retested during your pregnancy and at delivery.