If left untreated, urethritis could progress to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can threaten fertility by scarring the fallopian tubes. Tubal factor infertility occurs when the fallopian tube(s) prevent sperm from reaching the ovary to fertilize an egg. Treatment options are IVF (in vitro fertilization) or tubal surgery. Women with untreated STIs are also at a higher risk for ectopic pregnancies, which can be life-threatening.
Untreated, urethritis among men can also lead to infertility if it causes an inflammation of the epididymis, the tube that carries sperm from the testis. Untreated, acute epididymitis's major complications are abscess formation and testicular infarction. Chronic epididymitis can lead to permanent damage or even destruction of the epididymis and testicle (resulting in infertility and/or hypogonadism), and infection may spread to any other organ or system of the body.