Can recurrent UTIs lead to infertility in women?

There is a reason why you need to take bacterial infections down there seriously.

A urinary tract infection is way too common in women. Bacterial vaginosis is a common bacterial infection in women and can happen when the bacterial fauna in the vagina goes haywire. There is a good mix of healthy bacteria in the vaginal area. When this balance goes kaput and there are more bad bacteria than the healthy bacteria in the region this could lead to an infection. There is a reason why bacteria grows in the area down there, these bacteria keep the area clean (the vagina is a self-cleaning organ), lubricated and healthy.

BV is a type of inflammation in the vagina due to overgrowth bacteria. Women with BV develop a temporary shortage of lactobacilli (good bacteria) in their vagina. Lactobacilli are the lactic acid-producing bacteria which maintain acidic pH in the vagina. Once lactobacilli are lesser in number, there s overgrowth of other types of bacteria in the vagina due to which your vagina s pH balance gets upset. Only when the bacterial balance is disturbed it can lead to infections with symptoms like irritation, pain during urination, vaginal discharge, foul smell or even painful intercourse.

Apart from this, women can also acquire a yeast or fungal infection that could give rise to similar symptoms. While these symptoms can throw life off tracks, it usually isn t life-threatening or makes one infertile. When diagnosed and treated in time, UTIs can regress and one can be free of symptoms and problems. Did you know genital tuberculosis can lead to infertility in women?

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Untreated UTIs, however, can pose to be a problem, if bacteria from the vagina spread up to the uterus or the fallopian tubes. More so, if a woman contracts a UTI due to bacterial STDs, such as gonorrhoea, syphilis and Chlamydia.

Bacteria if spreads from the vagina to the uterus or fallopian tube can lead to pelvic inflammatory diseases or PID. This could lead to an infection in the uterus or block fallopian tubes. A UTI does not cause sub-fertility or infertility, however a genital or pelvic infection that can lead to blockage of the fallopian tubes that can cause sub-fertility or difficulty in conceiving, says Dr Gayatri Deshpande, Gynaecologist, Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, Mumbai.

For a woman who has an active sex life symptoms of UTI should be taken seriously. It might not just be just a UTI but an STD which can be fatal if left untreated. A bacterial STD infection can be treated with a course of antibiotics and one should refrain from having sexual encounters while on treatment to minimise the spread. One way to prevent bacterial STD is by using a condom every time you have sex.

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