Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can be easily cured. If left untreated, chlamydia can make it difficult for a woman to get pregnant.
What is chlamydia?
Chlamydia is a common STD that can infect both men and women. It can cause serious, permanent damage to a woman’s reproductive system. This can make it difficult or impossible for her to get pregnant later on.
The desease can also cause a potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that occurs outside the womb).
In fact, about 90 percents of women and 70 percents of men with STI have no symptoms. But chlamydia can still cause health problems later.
How is chlamydia spread?
Sex without a condom, unprotected oral sex and anal sex with someone who has chlamydia are the main ways to transmit chlamydia infection.
If you’ve had chlamydia and were treated in the past, you can still get infected again.
Newborn babies can acquire chlamydia from their mother during birth.
Most people who have chlamydia have no symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they may not appear until several weeks after you have sex with an infected partner. Even when chlamydia causes no symptoms, it can damage your reproductive system.
The symptoms of STIs in men and women can be different, so it’s important to talk to a healthcare professional if you experience any of the above symptoms.
Chlamydia symptoms in men
Some of the most common symptoms of chlamydia in men include:
- A discharge from their penis;
- A burning sensation when urinating;
- Pain and swelling in one or both testicles (although this is less common).
Having anal sex with someone who has the infection raises the risk for getting chlamydia in the anus. In this case, the main symptoms are often discharge, pain, and bleeding from this area.
It’s also possible to get a infection in the throat when you have oral sex. Symptoms can include a sore throat, cough, or fever. It’s also possible to carry bacteria in the throat and not know it.
Chlamydia symptoms in women
Women with symptoms may notice
- An abnormal vaginal discharge;
- Painful sexual intercourse;
- A burning sensation when urinating.
Women can also have a sore throat, cough, or fever when they perform oral sex on someone with the infection.
Women may not experience symptoms if they have a chlamydia infection in the rectum. If symptoms of a rectal infection do occur, however, they may include rectal pain, discharge, or bleeding.
Laboratory tests can diagnose chlamydia. Your health care provider may ask you to provide a urine sample or may use (or ask you to use) a cotton swab to get a sample from your vagina to test for chlamydia.
Results may take several days. The doctor’s office should call to discuss results. If the test returns positive, a follow-up appointment and treatment options will be discussed.
Chlamydia can be easily cured with the right treatment.
Since it’s bacterial in nature, it’s treated with antibiotics. You should follow dosage instruction carefully to make sure the infection clears up fully. This can take up to two weeks, even with the single-dose medications.
When taken properly it will stop the infection and could decrease your chances of having complications later on. You should not share medication for chlamydia with anyone.
During the treatment time, it’s important not to have sex. It’s still possible to transmit and contract infection if exposed again, even if you’ve treated a previous infection.
Repeat infection is common. You should be tested again about three months after you are treated, even if your sex partner(s) was treated.
The initial damage that chlamydia causes often goes unnoticed. However, it can lead to serious health problems.
If you are a woman, you may develop pelvic inflammatory disease, an infection that can damage the uterus, cervix, and ovaries. PID is a painful disease that often requires hospital treatment. Women can also become infertile if the desease is left untreated because the fallopian tubes may become scarred. Pregnant women with the infection can pass the bacteria to their babies during birth, which can cause eye infections and pneumonia in newborns.
Men can also experience complications with untreated chlamydia. The epididymis — the tube that holds the testicles in place — may become inflamed, causing pain. The infection can also spread to the prostate gland, causing a fever, painful intercourse, and discomfort in the lower back. Another possible complication is male chlamydial urethritis.
You can successfully prevent yourself from STIs by using appropriate contraception and taking other precautions, such as:
- Using male condoms or female condoms every time you have vaginal sex, or male condoms during anal sex;
- Using a condom to cover the penis or a latex or plastic square (dam) to cover the female genitals if you have oral sex;
- Not sharing sex toys.
If your partner is showing any symptoms, avoid any sexual contact. Ask them to seek medical attention to rule out any possible conditions that could be passed on.
You’re at a higher risk for acquiring the disease if you’ve already had it or any other STIs. You’re also at a higher risk if you have multiple sexual partners or a new partner.
Where to get tested
There are several different places you can go to be tested:
- A sexual health clinic
- Your GP surgery
- A contraceptive and young people’s clinic
- A private clinic
You can arrange a clinic visit online at MaNaDr application to see a doctor if you are showing any symptoms.
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