Valentine’s Day is on the Horizon

February means Valentine’s Day is on the horizon – chocolates and flowers may be on the cards but there is a present that you definitely don’t want: Chlamydia!

Amazingly this period is often busiest in STI clinics and can be a time when relationships are sorely tested – with evidence on infidelity popping up unexpectedly in the form of flowers and cards in the post from unexpected sources!

And this is really where the guys come in - chlamydia, as I have mentioned before, may cause no symptoms at all in men, or it can cause some discomfort when peeing and even cause a discharge to occur, but these symptoms are often ignored by many blokes. If it is not detected and treated we are sure that chlamydia can cause long-term problems like inflammation to the fine tubes that take sperm from the testicles to the penis. There is some evidence that it may eventually block these tubes with scar tissue. This means that although you will still be able to produce semen there will be no sperm in it as they will be unable to get out of the testicles.

Infection in the testicles and these tubes is called epididymitis, and is important because of the risks to male fertility. Some research suggests the possibility that chlamydia can cause the body to make antibodies against it but which can then attack sperm, causing a reduced sperm count and problems with their mobility. This will then seriously affect their ability to successfully fertilise an egg. We are still looking into this but the bottom line is very clear: if you don't get treated you are putting not only yourself but also your partner at risk of infertility. It’s a shame that this is not well known, and much more attention is given to the problems chlamydia causes in women but these male issues could be just as important.

If you suspect there have been more than two people in your relationship then it is really important to go for a chlamydia test – as a naïve belief in a monogamous relationship that isn’t can lead to troubles with infections later on.

Why not use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to show how much you care for each other and both get properly tested? Free postal tests for Chlamydia are available from freetest.me.

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