The Sexual Health Center

Chlamydia: What You Need To Know About This STD?

In the last few years, STDs have become a growing concern in the United States. According to the latest report by CDC, an estimation of 20% of the US population is diagnosed with an STD which means that one out of five people in the country is infected by sexually transmitted diseases. This increase in the number of people who are suffering from STDs has made it necessary to make people more aware of the diseases and their prevention.

There are many types of STDs and among them, the most common one is chlamydia. It is a common sexually transmitted bacterial infection that usually affects people who are in their teen years and early twenties, to specific 14 to 24-year-olds. Every year, about 3 million Americans get chlamydia. The majority of people assume that it is not a serious disease and it is normal to have it. But if the disease is not given any treatment and you don’t notice it, it can cause many health issues, especially in women. 

To know everything about chlamydia, we suggest that you read this article till the end!

What Is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a common term used by many people when discussing STDS but many people still do not have a clear idea of what the disease actually is. So let’s begin by answering the primary question which is what it is. 

All About Chlamydia

Chlamydia is a common STD that is caused by infection with a bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis. It can cause both men and women. People don’t usually experience any symptoms in the early stage of it and the disease is curable. It is common in young women and if left untreated, it can cause permanent damage to a woman’s reproductive system. Chlamydia needs to be treated as soon as possible to avoid further health complications. 

How Is Chlamydia Transmitted?

Chlamydia can be transmitted from a person who has the infection to another person through the following sexual activities:

  • Vaginal sex without any condom or barrier method
  • Anal sex without any condom or barrier method
  • Oral sex without a barrier method
  • Any sexual activity that involves contact between the genitals
  • Chlamydia might also occur in people who share sex toys with an infected person.
  • Newborn babies can get Chlamydia from their mothers during birth. 

What Doesn’t Cause Chlamydia?

There are many myths about Chlamydia and people often think that the disease will be transmitted to you if you come in close contact with an infection. Here are some common cases where people think that it will transmit but it actually doesn’t:

  • Kissing
  • Holdings hands
  • Hugging the infected person
  • Sharing foods and drinks with the infected person
  • Using toilets after someone
  • Inhaling droplets after the infected person sneezes or coughs

What Are The Symptoms?

Medical experts usually refer to chlamydia as a ‘silent infection’. This is because the infection does not show any symptoms which makes it go unnoticed. Nevertheless, some of the common symptoms that both men and women who are infected with chlamydia experience are the following:

Symptoms of chlamydia in men
  • Pain
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Abnormal discharge from the penis or vagina

Men and women might experience varying symptoms when infected with chlamydia. 

Symptoms in men

In most cases, men with chlamydia do not experience any symptoms at all. But a few of the common symptoms that men experiences are the following:

  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Pain in testicles or lower abdomen
  • Yellow or green discharge from the penis
  • Discharge from anus
  • Pain in anus
  • Bleeding from anus

Symptoms in women

In women with chlamydia, the symptoms start to show after a few weeks of becoming infected and some of the common symptoms are given below:

  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Burning sensation during urinating
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Inflammation of the cervix.

In some women, chlamydia can spread to fallopian tubes and cause pelvic inflammatory diseases

What Are The Risk Factors?

Risk factors that make a person more prone to be infected with chlamydia are the following:

  • Being sexually active before the age of 25
  • Have multiple sexual partners
  • Does not use condoms consistently
  • Has a history of sexually transmitted infections
  • Men who have sex with men

Is It Curable? 

Chlamydia is a curable disease. With the right treatment and medications, it can be cured easily. But for this, you will have to consult a medical expert and take all of the medicines given by them properly. Its treatment can also help in reducing the risk of being infected with it but repeated chlamydia is very common. You can screen your health and tests regularly to ensure that you are not infected with the disease. 

When To See A Doctor?

Even though chlamydia does not show any noticeable symptoms, it is important that you treat it as fast as you can. It is recommended that you see a doctor if you have discharge from the vagina, penis, or rectum. If you experience pain during urination, then you can consult a doctor to confirm whether the pain is caused by chlamydia or not. If you have unprotected sex with a person who has this STD, then it is better to see a doctor if you don’t experience any symptoms associated with the infection. 

How It Is Diagnosed?

Chlamydia can be diagnosed in many ways. One of the most common ways in which it is diagnosed is by doing a test called the nucleic acid amplification test. The healthcare provider will take a sample either from the urethra or cervix and will send it to the lab to check whether the sample contains bacteria that cause chlamydia. Some healthcare providers even check your urine sample to see whether the bacteria is in your body or not. 

Chlamydia Test

How Is Chlamydia Treated?

As chlamydia is an infection, it can be treated with antibiotics. Once you are diagnosed with this, your healthcare provider will prescribe antibiotics for a few weeks. To completely cure the infection, it is essential that you consume antibiotics throughout the course recommended by the medical expert even if you no longer experience any symptoms.

You will be asked to retest yourselves after 3 months of using the antibiotics to ensure that the infection is completely out of the body system. Your healthcare provider will also recommend that your partner be treated to prevent infection. 

Complications Of Chlamydia

Even though chlamydia is a curable sexually transmitted infection, if left untreated for a long time, it can give rise to many complications. Some of them are discussed below:

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease: Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of one or more reproductive organs, usually the uterus or fallopian. The bacteria that cause chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammation in your body. 
  • Prostate gland infection: Chlamydia can cause prostate gland infection in men if the bacteria travel to your prostate gland. Prostate gland infection can cause pain during or after intercourse and painful urination. 
  • Infection in newborns: A main complication of chlamydia in women is that it can pass to your newborn baby. This can cause pneumonia or serious eye infection in newborns. 
  • Ectopic pregnancy: If you are infected with chlamydia, then there is a chance that the fertilized may grow outside the uterus which needs to be removed. This ends in an ectopic pregnancy. 
  • Infertility: Chlamydia can cause the reproductive system of a woman and make them infertile. It can permanently scar or cause obstruction in the fallopian tube. 

What Preventions We Can Take?

There are many ways through which one can prevent or reduce the risk of getting infected by chlamydia:

  • Use condoms while having sex
  • Limit sex with multiple partners
  • Do not share your sex toys
  • Avoid douching
  • Use protection while having oral sex
  • Get regular screenings

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