Chlamydia : Cause, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Prevention And Treatment
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease. It is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. It can infect both young men and women but mostly women. In women, Chlamydia can affect the cervix, rectum, or throat while it affects the urethra (inside the penis), rectum, or throat in men. The infection can be transmitted during oral, vaginal, or anal sex with someone who has the infection. People with chlamydia can also be coinfected with Gonorrhea.
symptoms of chlamydia
Although most of the time Chlamydia have no symptoms, some possible symptoms include
In women include:
- Pain during intercourse (in the lower abdomen),
- Abnormal vaginal discharge, which usually has a strong smell,
- A burning sensation when urinating,
- Pain during menstrual periods and heavier periods.
The spread of the infection can lead to lower abdominal pain, pain during sex, nausea, and fever.
In men include
- Discharge from the penis (cloudy or watery discharge)
- A burning sensation while urinating
- Burning or itching around the opening of the penis
- Pain and swelling in one or both testicles (although this is less common)
Chlamydia can infects the rectum (in men or women), leading to rectal pain, discharge, and/or bleeding.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, see your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.
who is at risk?
- Young people (mostly sexually active women that are less than 25years)
- Men who have sex with men
- People with multiple sexual partners
- Those who have sex without barrier protection (eg condoms)
Complications of chlymidia
If Chlamydia if left untreated, it can lead to various complications that are not pleasant to you.
In women, it can spread to the fallopian tubes and uterus (womb); this will cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID often does not have symptoms but some women might have abdominal pain and pelvic pain. PID can lead to permanent damage to the reproductive tract which will eventually lead to infertility (not able to get pregnant). Some might get pregnant but the pregnancy might be outside the uterus (ectopic pregnancy).
Men do not usually have complications from Chlamydia but sometimes the infection can spread to the epididymis (this is the tube that carries sperm from the testicles) causing pain, fever, and discomfort.
Both men and women might develop reactive arthritis because of a Chlamydial infection. Reactive arthritis is a type of joint inflammation that happens as a result of an infection.
When Chlamydia is left untreated, it can cause an increased risk of contracting or transmitting HIV infection
Chlamydia can be passed to babies by their mothers during pregnancy. This can lead to pneumonia and conjunctivitis (serious eye infection) in newborns. Chlamydia can also lead to the early delivery of your baby. Therefore, pregnant women should be tested in their first prenatal visit.
To diagnose Chlamydia, your doctor or health care provider might require a urine sample to test for the infection. For women, sometimes a cotton swab is used to get a sample from your vagina, throat, or anus depending on the area affected.
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection so it can be treated with antibiotics. Depending on the treatment prescribed to you by your doctor, you can be able to complete the treatment in one day or in 7 days.
Sexual intercourse should be avoided until you and your current partner are fully evaluated and treated.
If you are getting a one-day treatment, there should be no sex for 7 days, but if you are getting a 7 day treatment, there should be no sex until the doses are completed. This is because, in the course of the treatment, your immunity becomes low, making it very easy for you to get another infection.
Some of the ways to prevent Chlamydia include:
- Use of male and female condoms when you have sex (best way)
- Abstinence (if you can)
- Avoid sharing sex items (like sex toys), also wash them after use
- Regular checkup
SAFETY IS KEY