CHLAMYDIA, MYCOPLASMA AND UREAPLASMA AND THEIR IMPACT ON MALE FERTILITY
Nowadays, sexually transmitted infections are still a problem, despite the improved level of sexual education and the widely available means of protection. Chlamydia infection remains one of the most common in sexually active people.
We can be infected with chlamydia during vaginal, oral and anal intercourse. Chlamydia infection can affect many parts of the body outside the reproductive system. For instance, it can infect the throat during an oral contact or the rectum during anal intercourse. If the infection goes untreated, the bacteria can even reach the eyes and the heart through the bloodstream.
The main problem with Chlamydia is that for both men and women in over 50% of cases there are no symptoms, so no medical care is sought. In the rest of the cases, men complain of a white to yellowish discharge from the penis or pain during urination.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS FOR YOUR FERTILITY?
From the urethra, chlamydia moves towards the prostate, epididymis and ultimately the testicles. This poses the risk of inflammation in these structures. Especially dangerous is the inflammation of the epididymis. This part of the testis is comprised of a complex network of tubules in which sperm matures. During ejaculation sperm moves from the epididymis through the urethra and outside of the body.
If left untreated, a chlamydia infection can cause obstruction of the tubules of the epididymis, preventing sperm’s movement. Such a condition is known as obstructive azoospermia (a complete lack of sperm in the ejaculate due to a blockage).
The best option is for the infection to be diagnosed as early as possible and treated successfully. If a blockage is already present, the treating urologist has to decide together with the patient what the best course of action is. Epididymis or testicular biopsy remains as a last resort option for the procurement of spermatozoa.
MYCOPLASMA AND UREAPLASMA
Bacteria of the genera Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma are found in the reproductive tracts of many men and women. These bacteria do not cause problems in a normally functioning immune system. If an infection develops, men complain of a burning sensation and frequent urination.
The diagnosis of sexually transmitted infections in men is determined after a microbiological examination of semen (ejaculate), urine or urethral secretions. If diagnosed early, they are successfully treated with antibiotics. We believe that prevention of sexually transmitted infections should always be a priority. So if you do not plan to become a parent in the near future, always use condoms!