Chlamydia is a bacterial infection which is curable only with correct treatment and is very common in USA. The approximately 1.4 million cases of chlamydia represent the highest number of annual cases of any condition ever reported to CDC in 2014 and there is a rise of 6 % in 2015-16.
What is Chlamydia ?
Chlamydia is a kind of sexual transmitted disease caused because of Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria. It is actually a kind of infection , also dubbed as ‘The Silent Infection’, where the bacteria lies in the cervix, urethra, vagina, and rectum of an infected person causes no (or only very mild) observable symptoms.
It is a fairly common STD in USA but when left untreated can damaged sperms in men cause scarring in the reproductive tract (which can lead to permanent infertility).
In women it can also cause a potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that occurs outside the womb).
How Chlamydia Spreads ?
It can spread through sexual contacts in the form of vaginal, anal, or oral sex with the person already having chlamydia. It can be passed to your child in-case of pregnancy.
If you’ve had chlamydia and were treated in the past, you can still get infected again. This can happen if you have unprotected sex with someone who has it.
How to Prevent yourself from getting Chlamydia ?
As it transfers through sexual contact, the only way to avoid is to abstain from vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
To reduce the chances of contraction, in case of sexually active couples
- Use of latex condoms
- Practicing long-term mutually monogamous relationship
Who can be at the risk of Chlamydia ?
As mentioned earlier, it spreads through sexual contact by means of unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Moreover, sexually active youngsters are at the greater risk, 15-24 age group the most and, as it often has no symptoms, the only way to know if you have it is to test regularly(at least once in a year). Men having sex with other men, bisexual, Gay and pregnant women too are at a greater risk of passing on the disease.
So in brief the people at risk are as follows
- Younger women less than 25 years of age
- Any one with new / multiple sex partner or sex partner already had STDs
- Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men
How does Chlamydia affect pregnant mother and her baby?
In case of Pregnant mother with Chlamydia the major risk is to pass the infection to the baby which may be in the form of pneumonia or eye infection.
The other form of risk involved premature delivery which may cause due to infection itself.
Thus it is always advisable to go for STD testing during the first prenatal visit.
It is an asymptotic, i.e. it hardly show any signs or symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they may not appear until several weeks after you have sex with an infected partner. No system just doesn’t means no problem, Chlamydia can still harm your reproductive system.
Following symptoms are observed in women
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Painful and burning sensation when urinating
Following symptoms are observed in men
- Abnormal discharge from penis
- Painful burning urination
- Pain and swelling in testicles
Men and Women get also get infected in their rectum. This primarily happens due to receiving anal sex or by spread from another infected site (such as the vagina).
They can cause the following
- Rectal pain;
How do they test for Chlamydia ?
- Urine sample is taken. It is advised not to urinate for 2 hours before the sample is being taken
- Direct sample; usually from the cervix by swabbing. A woman should not douche or use vaginal creams or medicines for 24 hours before having a chlamydia test.
Is Chlamydia curable?
Yes, if correct treatment is given. If patient takes his medicines on time without skip, because when medicines are taken properly it will stop the infection and could decrease your chances of having complications.
In-case of repeat infection which is a common phenomena, patient should get retested 3 months after being treated, regardless of the sex partner (even if treated)
When can a patient have sex, after being diagnosed with Chlamydia ?
The patient is advised not to have sex until the treatment for the disease is completed. Ideally, you should wait for all the medication doses to be completed.
What happens when Chlamydia left untreated?
Apart from Infertility untreated Chlamydia can cause the following
- Inflammation of the lining of the uterus (endometritis)
- Inflammation of the cervix (cervicitis)
- Inflammation in the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries (pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID)
- Inflammation of the glands at the opening of the vagina (Bartholin glands)
- Pelvic infection and long term pelvic pain (abscess)
- Lever complications (rare), where the inflates the liver.
Untreated chlamydia in males
- Loss of fertility
- Inflammation of urethra
- Inflammation of the epididymitis (it is the tubes that hold sperm)
- Inflammation of the prostate, the gland that makes most of the fluid in semen (prostatitis)