#HLWDK Staph And Infertility

Q: Please ma’am, I have been married for two years now with no issue (child) yet. but the problem is that we have treated infections several times and it keeps coming back (staphylococcus) I don’t know what to do. I need your advice

A: Staphylococcus has received a bad rap over the years, especially in Nigeria. A whole lot of TV advert time in the past was devoted to traditional/alternative/native medicine practitioners who all claimed a cure for this ‘terrible’ Sexually Transmitted Infection. After the airwaves were made off limits, attention moved to the print media where all manner of cures are touted for ailments ranging from the indomitable staph to fibroids! Have you read about how some drugs can make people excrete their fibroids out???! I shake my head in wonder 😀

Generally, Staphylococcus, Staph for short, are bacteria which can be found in people’s noses or skin all over the body, minding their own business until a cut or injury occurs giving the germs access into the body. This is the reason why surgeons meticulously scrub sites for surgery before they make a single cut because infections caused by Staph can be deadly. They usually cause infections like boils but can also get into the blood, as described for surgery above, and cause infections too. They are also responsible for Staphylococcal food poisoning and Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) as can happen in people who use tampons.

People who are more at risk of Staph infections include breastfeeding mothers, new born babies, diabetics, people with sores/injuries of any sort and also people with compromised immune systems.

It is usually spread by direct contact with an infected sore or use of infected personal care items like shave sticks, plasters or bandages.

Technically, Staph infections are not considered Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI); however, because Staph is spread through skin to skin contact, it can cause an STI if there is contact between the genitals and the area with a Staph infection. Remember also, that these bacteria are found on the skin and so can show up in urine. Thus, if this was isolated in your urine, it does not mean that it is sexually transmitted. As part of the test carried out in isolating the organism in your urine, specific antibiotics would have been shown as being active against the organism. Be sure to use this and complete the dose.

Given that Staph infections are spread through person to person contact, practicing good hygiene is a great idea. Wash your hands often especially after contact with situations described above. Remember that you can also spread the infection from one part of your body to another, so it is important to keep wounds clean and properly covered. If a towel is used to clean the area, this should be done once and then the towel washed in hot water. Do not share items of personal care like towels and be sure to bath every day.

Menstruating ladies who use tampons should be sure to change them often to prevent TSS.

On not having a child yet…not being able to have a child at the time that we expect it can be a harrowing experience…especially in Africa where a couple of months into your marriage, family members and even outsiders are beginning to look at you in suggestive ways. Some actually ask outright, ‘when are you guys planning to start having babies?’
However, in the medical world, we can only agree that perhaps there might be an issue after one full year of trying to have babies with no luck. This, however, implies that there is frequent and unprotected sexual intercourse. Frequency in this respect means that sexual intercourse should be at least 3 times in a week. Unprotected means that there should be no barrier protection like a condom. Don’t laugh…this has been known to happen. People use a condom and then expect to get pregnant J The ejaculate (semen) should also be of significant volume.

Therefore, if this has been established to have been happening for one year, the next thing is to run tests. The less ‘invasive’ tests are usually done first. This usually involves the husband who provides his semen for analysis. Other tests will now be run on the wife, which presumably has already happened in the case above.

Some causes of infertility in men include problems with the production of sperm, problems with the delivery of sperm, being exposed to environmental toxins (like sitting in hot tubs) and cancer.

Some causes of infertility in women include problems with ovulation, problems with the uterus and cervix, blockage or damage of the fallopian tube, thyroid problems, cancer etc. Fibroids may or may not cause inability to have a pregnancy. It depends on size and position. Big fibroids in the area of the womb where a baby is meant to implant may cause a miscarriage or indeed, failure of the fertilized embryo to implant. Your doctor will take a decision on what to do with the fibroids based on size, symptoms etc., if this is still a problem.

Other risk factors for both sexes include use of alcohol and tobacco, being overweight or even underweight and age (the older people get, the more difficult it is to get pregnant).
Where a problem is identified, this is taken care of through various options like the use of drugs or surgery.

Oftentimes, no reason can be found for infertility. In these instances, the couple may want to consider assisted reproduction. Your doctor will discuss the different options available in your area and if you can afford it, he will suggest other centers where better facilities exist.

Prevention of infertility is targeted at the risk factors. Quit smoking, reduce alcohol consumption, exercise moderately and keep your weight within normal limits.
Infertility is really nerve wracking, because nobody has an idea how long it’s going to last or what treatments are going to work best. Joining support groups and/or counseling sessions may be helpful during this period of waiting, patiently and prayerfully

I hope y’all had a great day?

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