- Chlamydia can make it really tough, and at times impossible, for a woman to become pregnant. It can permanently damage her reproductive organs.
- The disease causes ectopic pregnancy, which is potentially fatal. This is a pregnancy that happens outside the womb.
- It is found that young people, who are sexually active, are more at risk of getting this disease due to certain biological factors and behavioral patterns.
- This is a modern STD, which was recognized only after 1963.
- Doctors call it a “silent disease,” as it may not show symptoms at all and still damage a woman’s reproductive system.
How does it enter the body?
The Chlamydia bacteria enter the body through unprotected sex. It also spreads through the sharing of sex toys. Those who had this STD and were successfully treated are still vulnerable to the recurrence of the infection.
A baby can get this disease from its infected mother during childbirth.
This STD also spreads through anal and oral sex. So, homosexuals too are at risk.
Chlamydia usually does not show any symptoms. In case it does, the symptoms appear only after several weeks of the bacteria entering the body. In some people, symptoms may surface after several months or after the infection has spread to other body parts.
Symptoms in women:
- Burning sensation during urination
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
Symptoms in men:
- Burning sensation during urination
- Discharge from penis
- Swelling and pain in testicles
Symptoms when bacteria enter through the rectum during anal sex are:
- Bleeding from rectum
- Discharge from rectum
- Rectal pain
As soon as you notice any of the above mentioned symptoms, please schedule an STD testing immediately. Infected people may also experience bleeding between periods or during urination, smelly discharge, and abnormal sores.
This disease can damage a woman’s reproductive system without showing any symptoms whatsoever.
An infected pregnant woman can transfer the infection to her baby during childbirth. As a consequence, the baby may get pneumonia or eye infection. Infected women may also experience premature delivery.
STD Testing & Treatment
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A urine sample or a swab sample from the vagina is required for Chlamydia lab test.
Pregnant women must get themselves tested at their first prenatal visit.
Chlamydia is curable with proper treatment.
Common antibiotics given to cure this STD are:
For allergic people and pregnant women, the usually prescribed antibiotics are:
Re-infection is common. The patient should undergo a re-test after 3 months of completing the treatment.
It is important to take the medication as instructed by the doctor to ensure complete cure.
Do not have sex during the treatment. In case you are prescribed just a single dose of the antibiotic, avoid sex for a week after taking the dose.
What if Chlamydia goes untreated?
A person infected with Chlamydia is at a risk of getting other STDs. An untreated infection can lead to serious health consequences:
In women, it can lead to:
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): This is an infection of the ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes. This can be treated through antibiotics.
- Bartholinitis: This is the swelling of Bartholin’s glands. These glands produce lubricating mucus in women. The disease can block the glands and cause the formation of cysts, which can become infected. This turns into abscess. It can be treated through antibiotics.
- Cervicitis: This is inflammation of the cervix.
- Salpingitis: This is blockage and inflammation of the fallopian tubes. This condition thwarts the transport of the egg from the ovary to the womb. It may require surgery.
In men, it can lead to:
- Urethritis: This is inflammation of the urinary tube.
- Epididymitis: This is inflammation of the tubes that transport sperm to the testicles.
- Reactive arthritis: This is inflammation of the joints. Some people may also experience inflammation of the eyes, called conjunctivitis, and inflammation of the urethra.
- Use proper protection during oral, vaginal, and anal sex.
- Follow monogamy.
- Use latex condoms, and in a correct manner.
Who should get tested for Chlamydia?
- Pregnant women
- Sexually active girls below 25 years of age
- Older women with multiple or new sex partner
- People who have had an infection before and were treated successfully
In the last case, you must wait for 3 months before you undergo STD testing.