Chlamydia: More Common than You Think
Chlamydia is classified as a sexually transmitted disease. It is often thought to be rare, however 1 in 10 sexually active youths catch it in the UK alone. 2012 figures show an alarming 200,000 people have, at one point, tested positive for Chlamydia and possibly more disturbing is the fact that 64% of these were under 25.
However, unlike more series sexually transmitted diseases, Chlamydia is treatable and curable. All that is required is an easily acquired antibiotic treatment. However, Chlamydia has many inconspicuous symptoms that often lead to people being unaware that they have it. Not only does this enable the further spread of the disease but if it is left untreated is can cause infertility.
How Chlamydia is Acquired
The Chlamydia Trachomatis bacteria tends to be found in the genital fluids of those afflicted. These bacteria are then passed through any and all unprotected sexual contact, including oral, if it occurs without protection. it is incredibly easy to contract as all it requires is unprotected sex with a carrier to be transmitted. It is even possible for a pregnant woman who contracts Chlamydia to pass it on to her child. This makes it important to use condoms and other forms of barrier protection at all times when engaging in sexual contact. Contrary to popular belief, however, Chlamydia cannot be passed on by swimming or sharing a toilet seat.
The Symptoms of Chlamydia
Many sufferers experience no symptoms whatsoever. 75% of women and 50% of men who have contracted this disease did not report any initial symptoms. This is why it is important to not only get tested regularly for sexually transmitted infections but also to learn about some of the lesser known symptoms.
For women, symptoms include bleeding in between menstruation cycles; unusual discharge; abdominal pain; lower back pain; pain during intercourse; and a burning or painful feeling when urinating.
Some of the symptoms for men are itching or burning sensations in the genital area, especially on the end portion of the penis. These symptoms generally start between one and three weeks after becoming infected. While the symptoms may persist, it is important to note that often they simply disappear after a time but you may still be contagious.
How to Determine if You Have Contracted Chlamydia
It is near impossible to completely determine for yourself if you have contracted any sexually transmitted disease, especially Chlamydia. Most people who contract the disease remain unaware that they even have it. Because they are unaware of their condition, they infect their other sexual partners which is how the disease is so widely spread. The only concrete way to determine if you have contracted Chlamydia or not is to have a test done by a medical professional. For women, this means taking a swab sample from the cervix and for men, a swab is taken from the urethra. A urine test can also be taken but none of these tests are 100% accurate. If you fear that you have contracted a serious sexual disease, contact your doctor and seek treatment for it.
The Importance of Seeking Treatment for Chlamydia
Many people avoid seeking treatment as they are not certain that they even suffer from the disease. If they do not suffer from any symptoms, it is almost impossible to detect and determine.
However, in order for you and your partner to be safe and relax when it comes to sexual contact, Chlamydia needs to be treated. Also, if a person does not receive treatment for Chlamydia soon enough, it can cause severe health problems in the future. For women, these risks include Arthritis, blocked fallopian tubes, severe risk with regards to ectopic pregnancy, and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. For pregnant women especially it causes a risk that their baby could contract neonatal pneumonia or conjunctivitis.
For men, there are health risks such as testicle infection, which often leads to infertility; arthritis; and Epidymitis, which is swelling and pain in the testicles. These health risks are why it is important to be tested for Chlamydia as not only will it negatively affect you, but it might negatively affect anyone you transmit it to.
How to Treat Chlamydia
Once you realise you have Chlamydia, it is important to seek treatment for it immediately. The health risks associated with it are due it not being treated fast enough. The general treatment for it is one dose of Azithromycin. This is an antibiotic and it is hassle free to obtain and use. However, you must continue using protection during sex for a week after taking it as you may still be contagious. It is also imperative to treat Chlamydia as, once it is contracted, it never goes away.
Sexual Partners Also Need to be Treated
If you contract Chlamydia, you must inform anyone you have sexual contact with so they might get treatment too. Chlamydia can be transmitted with as little as one occasion of sexual contact so any of your previous partners are at risk. It is recommended that once you are diagnosed that you inform all your partners in the last six-month period so they can get tested. If you find doing this difficult, your local genito-urinary clinic provides anonymous help to people infected with the disease.
Treating Chlamydia is a Must
The only way to stop the spread of Chlamydia is to treat it. You must treat it immediately as avoiding treating it for too long can cause infertility in both men and women. Treating Chlamydia is simple with the aforementioned antibiotic treatment, Azithromycin, so it is relatively easy to avoid these debilitating symptoms. Azithromycin does have possible side effects however, including abdominal pain, diarrhoea, loose wind, and nausea. If you feel Azithromycin is not a suitable treatment for you because of this, be sure to contact your doctor.
Chlamydia Treatment FAQ
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What happens after chlamydia treatment?
Effect of Treatment for Chlamydia pneumoniae and Helicobacter pylori on Markers of Inflammation and Cardiac Events in Patients With Acute Coronary Syndromes
Is there a role for Chlamydia trachomatis and genital mycoplasma in male infertility?
A pharmacy-based private chlamydia screening programme: results from the first 2 years of screening and treatment
Infection With Chlamydia pneumoniae Accelerates the Development of Atherosclerosis and Treatment With Azithromycin Prevents It in a Rabbit Model
A cohort study of Chlamydia trachomatis treatment failure in women: a study protocol
Chlamydia Treatment Information Sheet
- 1 Chlamydia: More Common than You Think
- 2 How Chlamydia is Acquired
- 3 The Symptoms of Chlamydia
- 4 How to Determine if You Have Contracted Chlamydia
- 5 The Importance of Seeking Treatment for Chlamydia
- 6 Chlamydia Treatment FAQ
- 7 References