Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Can Herpes Make You Infertile

What Does This Mean For Infertility Treatment

Herpes (oral & genital) – causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology

Unfortunately, there is currently neither a vaccine nor a medication that can fight the infection. Researchers are putting their hopes in antiviral therapies in order to render the virus ineffective in the future. However, just knowing that they have been infected with HHV-6A can already help women avoid unnecessary procedures such as artificial insemination, which can be both nerve-wracking and expensive.

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1. Pellati D, Mylonakis I, Bertoloni G, Fiore C, Andrisani A, Ambrosini G, Armanini D. Genital tract infections and infertility. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2008 Sep 140:3-11. PMID: 18456385.

2. Whitley R, Baines J. Clinical management of herpes simplex virus infections: past, present, and future. F1000Res. 2018 7:F1000 Faculty Rev-1726. Published 2018 Oct 31.

3. Monavari SH, Vaziri MS, Khalili M, et al. Asymptomatic seminal infection of herpes simplex virus: impact on male infertility. J Biomed Res. 2013 27:56-61.

4. James SH, Sheffield JS, Kimberlin DW. Mother-to-Child Transmission of Herpes Simplex Virus. J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc. 2014 3 Suppl 1:S19-S23.

5. Genital herpes in pregnancy. . URL. Accessed March 15, 2022.

6. Stankiewicz Karita HC, Moss NJ, Laschansky E, et al. Invasive Obstetric Procedures and Cesarean Sections in Women With Known Herpes Simplex Virus Status During Pregnancy. Open Forum Infect Dis. 2017 4:ofx248. Published 2017 Nov 6.

You Wont Always Get Symptoms

Signs of herpes in men arenât always readily apparent or detectable. In fact, many men with genital herpes may not even be aware theyâve contracted the virus. Although a male herpes rash is commonly associated with an outbreak, it is important to note that the virus remains contagious even when no visible signs of flare-up are showing. Due to the nature and structure of the neural pathways the virus travels upon, recurrences of herpes may not appear in the same area of the body as previous outbreaks.

Reactivation of the virus can be asymptomatic, so males should take caution when engaging in sexual activity if infected with the HSV-2 virus.

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How Genital Herpes Can Affect Your Pregnancy

If you have genital herpes, its possible to spread the virus to your baby. A woman can spread it to her baby while she is:

  • Taking care of her newborn

If the baby gets the virus while in the womb, the mother may have a miscarriage or deliver the baby too early, causing the baby to be premature.

When the baby catches the virus during birth or shortly thereafter, this can be deadly for the baby. Be sure your OB/GYN knows that you have genital herpes so that precautions can be taken.

Genital Herpes And Pregnancy

Herpes Zooster

The herpes simplex virus causes genital herpes. There are many types of herpes viruses. Both herpes simplex type 1 and herpes simplex type 2 can infect the genital area.

Commonly the cause of cold sores, HSV 1 tends to occur in the upper half of the body, mainly around the lips and mouth. HSV 1 can also infect the genital area. HSV 2 is more commonly the cause of genital herpes. Both viruses are passed from one person to another by close body contact.

If you are pregnant and you get genital herpes, it is important to tell your midwife or obstetrician.

If you are someone who has herpes, the risk of transmission of herpes to your baby is small. However, there is some risk of transmission if there is a herpes lesion around your genital area while you are in labour.

In pregnancy, herpes simplex virus may cause problems. The most likely time this can happen is if the woman has a first ever infection that causes symptoms in the first part of the pregnancy or at the time of delivery . Women who are pregnant and have a sex partner who has a history of HSV may decide to use condoms for the duration of the pregnancy or the partner mayy take suppressive treatment through the pregnancy to reduce the risk of transmission.

The most common outcome is for the mother to pass herpes virus onto the baby at the time of delivery. By talking to your doctor about your history of herpes, precautions can be taken to prevent this from occurring.

Practical Advice

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Which Stis Cause Infertility

Chlamydia & gonorrhoea

Chlamydia and gonorrhoea are both bacterial STIs which are treated with antibiotics. Left untreated, however, they can cause fertility issues in women and possibly in men .

In women, untreated chlamydia or gonorrhoea can spread to the womb, ovaries or fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease . In men it can cause epididymitis – an inflammation of the tube that stores and transports sperm from the testicle. In England in 2020, about 0.6% of chlamydia cases led to PID or epididymitis.

Not only can PID cause chronic pelvic pain , it can also make it difficult for you to get pregnant. This is because the infection can lead to scarring and blockages in the fallopian tubes, making it impossible for eggs to travel through.

Risk of infertility from untreated chlamydia

How common infertility is, depends on lots of different things. In the UK it’s thought that as many as 1 in 7 heterosexual couples will experience infertility.

Chlamydia can cause infertility – it tends to cause problems with the fallopian tubes . The fallopian tubes transport the egg from the ovary to the womb. If the tube is blocked or the ‘conveyor belt system’ does not work well, the egg cant travel to the womb and it will not be fertilised.

Risk of infertility from HIV

What Are The Complications Of Having Herpes And Being Pregnant

Most people who have herpes when theyre pregnant will not have any complications. In rare cases, herpes infection during pregnancy can be transmitted to the newborn. This can potentially cause serious or even life-threatening disseminated neonatal herpes.

The more likely complication of having herpes when youre pregnant is that your doctor might recommend that you have a C-section instead of giving birth vaginally.

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Stds Affecting Infertility In Women And Male Infertility

STDs are a group of more than 20 diseases that can cause specific health complications. When these infections are left untreated, there can be irreversible damage present often leading to infertility.

The connection between STDs and male infertility is not completely clear, according to a report published by the National Institutes of Health. But they can have a direct effect on male sexual performance such as erectile dysfunction. A significant aspect of STDs in males affecting fertility is that the diseases are passed on to the female, causing infertility in her.

Std Related Infertility Overview

Herpes simplex (Cold sore): All you need to know
  • Sexually transmitted diseases are diseases transmitted from person to person through sexual contact, and are particularly common in adults 25 years old and younger.
  • Sexually transmitted infections are caused by bacteria or a virus that spreads in the body, leading to STDs.
  • Problems with the fallopian tubes cause about 30% of female infertility, and STDs are a common cause of what is known as tubal factor infertility.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease , an infection commonly caused by STDs, can lead to tubal factor infertility as well as damaging the ovaries, which can also contribute to infertility.
  • Some STDs, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, can affect fertility in men and women these often go unnoticed due to lack of symptoms, resulting in more damage.
  • Its easy and cheap to screen for STDs, which are the most preventable cause of infertility.

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The Link Between Stds And Fertility

Infertility is technically defined as being unable to conceive after 12 months, and its a painful problem for couples. In the United States, approximately 11% of women and 9% of men suffer with infertility.

There are treatments that can lead to successful conception and birth, including discovering and solving gynecological conditions that hinder conception in women, such as polycystic ovary syndrome or endometriosis. Low sperm production or motility in men are linked to the problem, too. Fertility drugs and in vitro fertilization are also available.

Some causes of infertility might surprise you, and one is the role that sexually transmitted diseases play in your ability to conceive.

Dr. Kevin Hooker has helped many couples struggling with infertility, and he leaves no stone unturned when it comes to evaluating you thoroughly and creating a customized treatment plan to further your goal of bringing a baby into this world.

Can Infertility Caused By Stis Be Reversed

Women who are struggling to conceive because they have blocked or scarred fallopian tubes may be able to have surgery to correct this. However, the success of the surgery will depend on how damaged your fallopian tubes are.

Another option is to have IVF , as this doesnt require working fallopian tubes. During this process, eggs are directly removed from your ovaries with a needle, and then fertilised with your partners sperm, before being transferred to your womb.

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When To See A Medical Provider

If you have never been formally diagnosed with HSV-2 and you notice signs or symptoms of possible infection, visit your doctor to confirm the diagnosis.

They will do a physical examination and may wish to do additional testing to determine if you have any other STDs.

Visit a doctor or STD clinic frequently to protect yourself and your partners from STDs.

Get regular sexual health checkups to reduce the chances of exposing yourself or others to potentially harmful STDs.

If you test positive for HSV-2, you are at a greater risk of contracting HIV.

Herpes also increases the number of immune cells in the lining of the genitals which HIV targets to enter the bloodstream.

If you are experiencing a flare-up, a doctor can prescribe you antiviral medications to help alleviate your symptoms.

For the safety of your sexual partners, you should abstain from sexual activity until the sores have cleared up.

Prevalence Of Herpes During Pregnancy

It Turns Out Herpes Could Cause Infertility

Herpes infections are common during pregnancy. Research suggests that the prevalence of HSV-2 in reproductive-age females is almost 16%. Furthermore, that only represents a fraction of genital herpes infections, because many genital herpes infections are caused by HSV-1.

Most people with genital herpes do not know they are infected. The vast majority of herpes infections are asymptomaticmeaning they do not have recognizable symptoms.

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Can Herpes Cause Infertility

Herpes simplex does not adversely affect egg production or ovulation. However, a couple of studies did show a possible correlation with fertility challenges:

  • Infertility in people with uteruses – One small study from 2016 found that there was a link between a certain strain of herpes and unexplained infertility in people with uteruses. This study showed that 43% of 30 participants with unexplained infertility had a uterine lining that was infected with this specific herpes strain . However, the 36 participants in the study who had no problems conceiving were not found to have the herpes strain in their uterine lining.
  • Infertility in people with penisesOther studies have focused on the effect of genital herpes on infertility in people with penises. It was determined that having genital herpes may lower sperm count, which, in turn, may affect your chances of getting pregnant. Herpes may actually be a significant factor in unexplained infertility for these individuals.
  • Reduced fertility in a couple – A common complication that may also occur is if it is time to try to conceive and you have a herpes outbreak. This could delay intercourse and therefore interfere with potential conception and pregnancy.

It Turns Out Herpes Could Cause Infertility

A rare strain may be to blame.

Infertility can be difficult to grapple with, even for the strongest of couples. And when doctors cant explain why youve had no luck getting knocked up? Well, thats even more frustrating.

Now, a new, small study, published in the journal PLOS One, shows that there’s a strong link between a specific strain of herpes and unexplained infertility.

Researchers discovered that the herpes strain HHV-6A infected the uterine lining in 43 percent of the 30 women in the study with unexplained infertility. However, it was not found in the uterus lining of the 36 women in the study who had no issues conceiving.

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While HHV-6A is different than the strains that cause cold sores and genital herpes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that its still somewhat common. Doctors can determine if you have an HHV-6A infection by doing a biopsy of your uterine lining, a procedure that can be done in-office without anesthesia.

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Ask Your Doctor About Antiviral Medications

There is no cure for herpes, but medicines can modify the pattern of the disease process. Taking an antiviral herpes medicine daily might make it less worrisome and stressful to get pregnant with genital herpes. Daily treatment can:

  • Reduce the chance of passing the virus to your partner or the other way around
  • Suppress the virus and decrease viral shedding and transmission

Acyclovir , valacyclovir , and famciclovir are the choices of medicines used for herpes suppressive therapy, according to the CDC guidelines. Ask your doctor about taking suppressive therapy while you are trying to conceive.

Risks Of Herpes During Pregnancy

Cold Sores | Oral Herpes | Causes, Signs & Symptoms, Treatment

The major risk associated with herpes and pregnancy is neonatal herpes infections. These infections of the newborn are rare, but can be quite serious or even fatal. The biggest risk for neonatal herpes occurs for people who are newly infected during pregnancyparticularly near the time of delivery.

Cesarean section is recommended instead of vaginal delivery for people who have genital symptoms at the time of delivery. It is also recommended for people who are having prodromal symptoms that signal a likely outbreak. C-section has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of herpes transmission to the infant.

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Can Stds Cause Infertility In Males Too

In women, they can be affected doubly as the bacteria may settle in the mucus produced by the cervix and thereby reducing sperm motility, or it may also affect the patency and function of the fallopian tubes. But when it comes to men, they are also not free from possible future problems as well, as microorganisms can adhere to sperm, thereby affecting their quality and quantity. The STD that cause a higher rate of infertility are Chlamydia, caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis, and Gonorrhea, caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

Herpes And Fertility: What You Need To Know

One question that has repeatedly come up from couples planning to conceive is the link between herpes and fertility. If you are concerned that you might have genital herpes and worry that it could be affecting your fertility, its important to first get tested. Of course, when it comes to a herpes blood test accurate results do matter. We like STDcheck online for their quick, confidential, accurate and affordable testing.

Note that this article is referring to genital herpes and not shingles, which is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. Varicella-zoster belongs to a group of viruses called herpes viruses, which includes the viruses that cause cold sores and genital herpes. This explains why shingles is also known as herpes zoster.

The varicella-zoster virus is different from herpes simplex virus type 1 or type 2 . The herpes simplex virus causes cold sores or genital herpes, a sexually transmitted infection. This infection is more common than people think. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that about 776,000 people in the United States contract new herpes infections annually.

To understand the link between genital herpes and fertility, well look at what happens in women and men separately.

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Effects Of Herpes On The Mother And Baby

HSV is most commonly passed on to the baby during labor. It might cause neonatal herpes, which can lead to skin, eye, or mouth infections, central nervous system damage, or disseminated infection.

Mothers with old or recurrent genital herpes develop antibodies that they pass on their babies via the placenta and might lessen the effects of the virus on the baby. Those with a recent infection do not have that protection, which might result in a severe herpes infection in an infant.

Risks and Complications

An active herpes simplex infection during pregnancy might lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, mental retardation, or birth defects.

Genital Herpes Treatment For Men

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Left unchecked, male herpes symptoms can be painful and â in the case of individuals with suppressed immune systems â potentially severe. Men experiencing an outbreak should not touch their sores or the fluids that they emit, as this could cause further irritation and pain.It is recommended that a man washes his hands immediately after touching a herpes lesion. Regarding treatments for genital herpes, there are two medications recommended as part of a symptom-containing protocol.

  • Aciclovir, commonly known as Zovirax, is a popular medication taken to combat the frequency and duration of male herpes outbreaks. Aciclovir tablets work by changing the DNA of the herpes simplex virus, preventing the strain from multiplying and infecting more cells. Aciclovir is available in 200mg, 400mg, and 800mg tablets and can be utilised as part of a suppression protocol.
  • Valaciclovir, better known by the brand name Valtrex, is the prodrug of aciclovir and is also taken to suppress male herpes. By inhibiting the viral replication of the HSV-2 virus, Valaciclovir reduces the severity and length of an outbreak. It also reduces the pain and irritation associated with the formation of blisters as they progress to liquid-filled ulcers. As Valaciclovir remains active in the body longer than aciclovir, the frequency of dosage is reduced in comparison. Available in 500mg tablets, Valaciclovir is also an effective suppression agent when taken as a preventative treatment.

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