Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases.
It affects men and women of all age groups, although it is more common in young women. The disease is easily treatable, if diagnosed early, as it tends to be unnoticed in a large percentage of patients. Although the symptoms appear 5-20 days after the time of infection, many people - about 75% of women and 50% men - remain asymptomatic causing the disease to developed undisturbed, threatening them even with infertility.
In the early days, the infection of chlamydia usually has no sign. The first symptoms usually occur one to three weeks after the initial exposure of the body to the guilty bacterium. Even then, however, the symptoms may be so mild so the patients don't notice them.
The main symptoms are:
- pain during urination
- pain in lower abdomen
- vaginal secretions of women
- discharge from the penis in men
- pain during sexual penetration in women
- pain in the testicles in men
Visit the dermatologist-venerologist when
Make an appointment with your dermatologist-venerologist if you notice any unusual discharge from the vagina or penis, or if you feel pain during urination. Also, visit your doctor if your sexual partners are diagnosed with chlamydia, because you may need to take antibiotics even if you don't have symptoms.
Causes and risk factors
Chlamydia are caused by a bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis and transmitted to the vaginal, oral and anal sexual contact. It is also possible the transmission of the bacteria from mother to baby during childbirth. In this case, the baby may develop pneumonia or severe ocular infection.
Factors that may help the transmission of chlamydia are:
- the young age (under 24 years)
- the large number of sexual partners
- the infrequent or no use of condom
- history of sexual transmitted diseases
If chlamydia is not treated, it can lead to:
Other sexually transmitted diseases. Those who suffer from chlamydia, are more likely to be infected by other sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and HIV (the virus that causes AIDS).
Pelvic inflammatory disease. It is an infection that affects the uterus and fallopian tubes and cause pelvic pain and fever. In more severe cases, the insert of the patient to hospital is necessary for intravenous antibiotics. Pelvic inflammatory disease can destroy the tubes, ovaries, and uterus, including the cervix.
Infection near the testicles. Chlamydia may cause inflammation in the epididymis, the long twisted tube at the back of each testicle.
Infection in the prostate gland. The bacterium can extend into the prostate gland in men and cause pain during or after sex, fever and tremors, pain during urination, and pain in the lower abdomen.
Infection in newborns. The bacterium can be transmitted through the vaginal canal to the baby during childbirth, leading to pneumonia or severe eye infection.
Infertility. Infection - even this that hasn't symptoms - can cause scars and blockage in the fallopian tubes, resulting in infertility.
Reactive arthritis. Those who suffer from chlamydia, are more likely to develop reactive arthritis, also known as Reiter syndrome. It is a condition that affects the function of the joints, eyes and urethra.
Prepare for an appointment
A. At the meeting with dermatologist-venerologist you should be prepared to answer the following questions:
- When the first symptoms occurred?
- There is something that worsens or alleviates?
- What medications or supplements do you regularly take?
- Do you have a new sex partner?
- Do you use condom?
- Do you feel pain in the lower abdomen?
- Do you fell pain during urination?
- Have you noticed unusual discharge from your genitals?
B. Questions that you may want to make to the doctor:
- What tests should be submitted?
- Should I be tested for other sexually transmitted diseases?
- Should my sexual partner be tested for chlamydia?
- How long should i abstain from sexual activity?
- What can I do to prevent chlamydia in the future?
Tests and diagnosis
Because chlamydia infection often has no symptoms, but at the same time threatens you with serious health problems, it is recommended to go for test if:
You are a woman, sexually active, and 25 years: Chlamydia appeared with greater frequency in this age group, so it is recommended annual test or whenever you change sex partner.
Pregnant: You should be tested for chlamydia at the first antenatal screening. Repeat the test in late pregnancy, if you belong to high risk group because of the frequent changing of sexual partners.
You belong to the risk group: You should be tested regularly if you have multiple sexual partners or you don't always use a condom in your sexual contacts. The same applies if you have a history of other sexually transmitted diseases.
Chlamydia can be diagnosed by testing the sample by:
- Secretion. In women, chlamydia can be diagnosed by culturing a sample of vaginal secretions. This can be done during normal Pap test. In men, the respective sample is taken from the urethra. In some cases, can be taken secretion from the anus.
- Urine. In some cases, chlamydia can be detected through urine test.
Treatments and drugs
Treatment is based on antibiotics (family of macrolides and tetracyclines), which can be taken in one dose or multiple-day treatment. In most cases, the infection dissapears within one to two weeks. During this time, sexual abstinence is recommended. It is necessary to begin treatment and your sexual partner, even if he has no symptoms. Alternatively, infection can be transmitted from one partner to another. It should be noted that those who have previously been diagnosed with chlamydia and have been treated, they have not acquired immunity against the disease.
Transmission of chlamydia can be prevented if:
Abstain from sex or be monogamous. Abstaining from sex is undoubtedly the surest way to prevent chlamydia. The next safest method is an erotic relationship in which both partners are monogamous.
Make use of latex condoms in every contact. Condoms can reduce the risk of infection, but not annihilate him.
Have regular exams. If you are sexually active, especially if you have multiple sexual partners, you should, in cooperation with your doctor to test regular for chlamydia and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Avoid frequent showers. In women, frequent showers reduce the number of "good" bacteria that exist in the vagina, thus increasing the risk of infections.