Infections that threaten female fertility

There are indeed infections that can threaten fertility if they are not treated immediately. These infections may or may not be sexually transmitted. What is certain is that they are often considered less important than they really are. If you want to have a child, you should leave nothing to chance and consult your gynecologist as soon as you encounter a problem or abnormality. Here you can find out more about some infections that can reduce your chances of conceiving a child.

Vulvovaginal infections

Vulvovaginal infections are infections that affect the vulva or the vagina, as the name suggests. The best known of these so-called lower genital tract infections are mycoses and bacterial vaginosis. 

Vaginal mycosis

Vaginal mycoses are distinguished by a thick, odorless white discharge. Its aspect resembles that of curdled milk. This low-grade infection causes itching, burning and redness. 

It is important to know that mycoses are caused by a fungus, the most common of which is Candida albicans. It is the most common vaginal infection and is not severe. However, if it is not treated timely, its complications can have a significant impact on the reproductive system.

If the infection is confirmed, it must be treated immediately. There are several possibilities: an antifungal agent to fight the fungus, an anti-itching cream and antibiotics in case it gets worse. Vaginal suppositories can also be prescribed as a treatment for the fungus. 

You should be aware that it is possible to prevent vaginal fungus. The first preventive measure is to be careful about personal hygiene. Corrosive shower gels, for example, should be avoided. Instead, use a mild soap-free cleanser. Wearing underwear that is too tight is also not recommended. 

If the vaginal yeast infections are treated in time, they are harmless to the patient. You will also not have to worry if you follow the rules of intimate hygiene recommended by your gynecologist. However, if the condition worsens, e.g. if the uterus is affected or if there are other infections, you may be at risk of infertility.

Bacterial vaginosis

A bacterial vaginosis is caused by a severe imbalance of the vaginal flora and affects about 15 to 20% of women in France. The disappearance of the lactobacilli, invading the vaginal cavity to protect the vaginal flora, leads to this form of lower genital tract infection. It usually affects women infected with a sexually transmitted disease. Many of the women affected use an intrauterine device.

This infection causes a white or greyish fluid discharge with an odor that resembles that of fish. It also has a very bad smell due to some aromatic amines with a higher pH level. These are substances produced by anaerobic bacteria in the vagina.

Note that bacterial vaginosis presents different risks. The risk of contracting other sexually transmitted diseases is one of them. These include HSV or Herpes Simplex Virus, HIV AIDS and Neisseria gonorrhoeae or Chlamydia trachomatis. The resulting infertility problems are to be taken seriously.

It is also important to know that certain sexual habits or lifestyles can lead to bacterial vaginosis. These include premature sexual activity, female homosexuality, having multiple sexual partners, the use of intrauterine devices and the use of douching. 

However, it is possible to prevent the infection by, for example, using condoms during sexual intercourse. As far as treatment is concerned, a clinical examination is first required in order to determine the presence of the bacteria responsible for the infection inside the vagina. Then, depending on the results, the doctor may prescribe the most suitable antibiotics. 

How do lower genital tract infections affect fertility?

If a lower genital tract infection is not treated immediately and worsens, the cervical mucus can be severely affected. Cervical mucus plays an essential role in the reproductive system. And with good reason! It facilitates the passage of sperm to the uterus and then to the fallopian tubes.

The cervical mucus of a woman infected with the bacteria responsible for a vaginal mycosis or a vaginosis becomes less sensitive to sperm. When it is not so fluid, it can prevent the male and female cells from meeting each other. As a result, fertilization will never take place, hence the importance of early treatment.

STDs that increase the risk of infertility

Some sexually transmitted infections also pose a threat to a woman’s fertility. The best known are gonorrhea and chlamydia trachomatis infections. 


Gonorrhea, also known as gonococcal infection, is a venereal infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It is spread during sexual intercourse whether vaginal, anal or oral. It is an STD that causes burning and/or yellow discharge from the vagina, anus or penis.

In most cases, this infection results in inflammation of the urethritis or urethral canal. The diagnosis of this condition is very difficult. Doctors therefore refer to these signs to confirm the results of the tests. These involve taking samples from the cervix, pharynx or anus, taking cultures and examining them under a microscope. The conclusions of the diagnosis are obtained within 48 hours.

It should be noted that many cases of gonorrhea are now transmitted by oral sex because of the pharyngeal reservoir of this STD. If not treated immediately and completely, this infection can rapidly worsen and reach the genital organs: epididymides, testicles, uterus and tubes. These will no longer be able to function normally. The same applies to the entire reproductive system. Local complications and severe infections related to gonorrhea may affect the patient’s fertility.

Chlamydia trachomatis infections

Chlamydia is particularly contagious among young people. The bacteria are transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse. Their presence in women is not manifested by any external signs. This STD is therefore generally asymptomatic. If it worsens, upper genital tract infections are inevitable, in the form of salpingitis and endometritis.

Salpingitis or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), in particular, is the result of the aggravation of a lower genital tract Chlamydia infection. However, this is very rare and unpredictable, occurring approximately one time out of ten cases. However, it is an unavoidable risk if the disease is neglected. Note that salpingitis manifests itself as a dull pain in the lower abdomen. It can become a real danger if there is pain around the liver. There may also be foul-smelling discharges and blood loss outside the menstrual period and the temperature of the infected person may rise.

Be aware that the risk of infertility caused by Acute PID is still less than 15%. This rate rises to 30 to 40% at an abscess stage and can be as high as 75%.

Now you know how dangerous certain infections can be for fertility. In case you are a victim of them and still suffer the sequelae to the point where you can no longer conceive a child, do not lose hope. Coparentalys is here to offer you a better alternative: co-parenting. You can start a family and have a child without necessarily be a couple. To join the Coparentalys program, simply register on this matchmaking site and find the ideal co-parent.