Both men and women can suffer reproductive issues either directly or indirectly caused by bacterial infections. Infections, whether bacterial or due to other issues such as sexually transmitted diseases, inflict negative changes upon the reproductive and genital tracts. These changes can occur during the infection or even after the health problem has been cured. Unfortunately, infertility can result from infections. Bacterial infections are largely considered an underlying or aggravating cause of infertility. That is, the changes caused by the infection result in other health problems or exacerbate existing ones. Those health problems are then directly linked to problems with conception, if not complete infertility. Bacteria are highly microscopic and infrequently show clear signs of negative influence. This makes it very hard to prove how they directly affect reproductive health or cause infertility. Quite often, the infertility issue is addressed by treating the directly linked disorder, whereas prevention of infections is a more beneficial approach to ensuring better reproductive health and optimum chances of conception.
Bacterial Infections in Women
Women are particularly susceptible to bacterial infections of the genital tract. Such infections can result in scarring or blockage of Fallopian tubes and ovaries. Pelvic inflammatory disease and endometriosis are other possible outcomes of an easily prevented and treated bacterial infection. Hormone imbalance can result and the cervix may be triggered in production of abnormal mucus.
Bacterial Infections in Men
Men also suffer major reproductive ramifications from bacterial infections. The volume, movement and morphology of sperm can be negatively impacted by such invasions. Sperm production can be drastically reduced or even diminished through testicular damage by the infection. Adhesions can also result, blocking and scarring sperm ducts, just as the Fallopian tubes and ovaries are scarred in women.
Bad Bacteria vs. Good Bacteria
The reproductive system is teeming with bacteria at all times. Good bacteria are those which do not interfere with reproductive health. On the other hand, bad bacteria are suspected to influence reproductive system changes. The biggest suspects within the bad bacteria genre of study into how infections affect fertility are mycoplasma, chlamydia and some anaerobic bacteria. Other anaerobic, aerobic, virus, yeast and parasitic bacteria are too difficult to test for fertility influence at this point in scientific evolution. Yet these are all suspected to be culprits of some infertility issues, whether directly or indirectly. Anaerobes are considered real villains of the human body. They wreak havoc on the immune system and partner with other types of bacteria to attack systems. These infectious criminals are populous, particularly in the genital tract. Somewhere between 10 and 20 anaerobes exist for every other type of bacteria also present.
Causes of Bacterial Infections in the Genital Tract
Bacterial infections of the reproductive system are considered sexually transmitted. Many healthcare professionals believe that many types of bacteria commonly found in the genital tract should actually be categorized as sexually transmitted diseases. This is because an overwhelming percentage of such health issues are caused by sexual activity. Male sperm can carry harmful bacteria into the female body. A woman can also transmit her infections to an uninfected male, although this is less frequently the case. Bacteria are more easily transmitted from male to female than female to male. Some STDs like syphilis and gonorrhea can create the right conditions for bacterial invasion. Mycoplasma, chlamydia and some anaerobes may already be present in the genital tract when an STD is acquired. Those bacteria, formerly latent, then work in conjunction with the STD to alter the state of reproductive health. Birth control methods are a common cause of infection in women. Intrauterine devices, also called IUDs, are frequently a cause of such bacterial problems. It is common for women using IUDs to experience pelvic inflammatory disease after bacterial infection. Like most sexually transmitted diseases, the best prevention of bacterial introduction from one partner to another during sexual intercourse is through the use of a condom. The condom prevents sperm-carried bacteria and other fluids supporting transmission from entering the woman and starting an infection. Likewise, men using a condom are not affected by the state of the female’s genital tract. The best way to ensure a healthy reproductive system and optimum fertility is to prevent bacterial infections from happening in the first place. Bacteria will always be present in the human body. The trick is to ensure bad bacteria remain latent and exist in low population by not carelessly supporting transmission from one partner to the other.