ZocdocAnswersCan recurring high fevers cause infertility?

Question

Can recurring high fevers cause infertility?

My grandmother always warned me to keep fevers under control because, she said, they could render me infertile if I got hot enough. Is that true, or is it just an old wives' tale? (I do value my fertility, for what that's worth.)

Answer

There are risks to having very high sustained fevers. However, infertility is an almost unheard of complication of only body temperature rises. Body temperatures over 106 degrees F are thought to be dangerous to the body and can result in multiple organ damage. Fertility is not of great concern when someone's brain is in danger. Typical fevers up to 102-103 degrees associated with illness such as the flu are not (by itself) dangerous to your organs or fertility. With that said, it would not be advisable to ignore a fever. Certain types of infections that cause fevers can result in infertility. For example, untreated gonorrhea or chlamydia infections can result in pelvic inflammatory disease, an infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes that can result in scaring. This is one of the most common causes of infertility. Symptoms are fever, pelvic pain, vaginal discharge, and burning urination. In men, high temperatures can render sperm inactive and thus, sperm are developed outside the body's core in the scrotum. This is why the scrotum hangs down, so that it can avoid body heat. If you are every worried that you have an infection like this, do not hesitate to schedule an immediate appointment with your primary care physician or present to the emergency room.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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