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Sexually Transmitted Disease and Male Infertility: A Systematic Review

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

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  • Mikkel Fode
  • Ferdinando Fusco
  • Larry Lipshultz
  • Wolfgang Weidner
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CONTEXT: Theoretically, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have the potential to disrupt male fertility; however, the topic remains controversial.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the possible association between STDs and male infertility and to explore possible pathophysiologic mechanisms.

EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: We performed a systematic literature review in accordance with the PRISMA guidelines. PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Library were searched for articles published before January 1, 2016, using the MeSH terms for a variety of STDs and infertility. The search was restricted to human studies performed in men and published in English. Studies were included if they contained original data on a possible association or a cause-and-effect relationship between STD and male infertility. Studies were considered only if they included an appropriate control group and/or comprehensive laboratory data. Due to heterogeneity in the literature, a qualitative analysis was performed.

EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: Relevant studies on Chlamydia trachomatis, genital mycoplasmas, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Trichomonas vaginalis, and viral infections were identified. For all pathogens, the studies were contradictory and generally of limited quality. In studies confirming an association, there was a tendency for authors to perform multiple analyses without appropriate corrections and to subsequently focus solely on outcomes that seemed to suggest a positive association; however, the body of literature that does not confirm an association between STDs and male infertility is also of inadequate quality. The data regarding possible pathophysiologic mechanisms are inconclusive.

CONCLUSIONS: There may be an association between STDs and male infertility of unknown genesis and possibly with different pathogenic mechanisms for different pathogens. Alternatively, some STDs may cause male infertility, whereas others may not; however, there is hardly a strong correlation. High-quality studies of the subject are needed.

PATIENT SUMMARY: Sexually transmitted diseases may cause male infertility through unknown mechanisms; however, from the available research, we cannot be sure that there is an association, and more studies are needed.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftEuropean Urology Focus
Vol/bind2
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)383-393
Antal sider11
ISSN2405-4569
DOI
StatusUdgivet - okt. 2016

ID: 51443711