'I thought I'd never have a baby' 

Sally Woodall discovered she had chlamydia when she was 16.

"I'd had lots of the symptoms of chlamydia since I was 14, but there wasn't much awareness about it in 1990. I constantly suffered with pains in my back, spotting between periods and heavy periods. But despite lots of visits to my doctor, nobody realised what it was. They thought I was just a normal teenager and put me on the pill to regulate my periods.

Then, when I was 16, I had an ectopic pregnancy. It emerged that both my fallopian tubes were damaged. The right one was so badly blocked by scarring that I had to have an operation to remove it. But still, nobody considered the fact that it could be caused by chlamydia. 

"It wasn't until I had a smear test after my ectopic pregnancy, and some pre-cancerous cells showed up, that they investigated further and diagnosed chlamydia. I was given a course of antibiotics to clear up the chlamydia. Then I was told I would never conceive if my remaining tube wasn't unblocked. And that was it. It was a bit brutal. I'd always wanted to be a mum and I was heartbroken. I thought I'd never have a baby.

"I now have four children. I had a laparoscopy to clear the scarring out of my tube. But because I thought I couldn't have children and I was with a long-term boyfriend, I didn't bother taking precautions. My first was born when I was 19.  

"I hadn't heard of chlamydia. I only realised what it is when I got older, and it made me feel a bit dirty. Because of the lack of information, I'd been completely unaware that I was putting not only my own health at risk, but also other people's." 

Page last reviewed: 10/06/2015

Next review due: 10/06/2017