Chlamydia is a very common bacteria spread sexually transmitted disease (STD). It often presents no symptoms in men or women unless it leads to complications. Thus, infected individuals can unknowingly spread it to others. It usually infects the urethra in men and the cervix in women.
Symptoms of Chlamydia;
It is difficult to recognize this infection since no symptoms show up most of the time.
In women :
- Yellow vaginal discharge.
- Pain on passing urine.
- Bleeding between periods or often after sexual intercourse.
- Abdominal pain accompanied by fever.
Chlamydia, if in advanced stage can spread to fallopian tubes and ovaries in women leading to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.
In Men :
- Burning and itching around the opening of the penis accompanied by a discharge.
- Frequent urination and pain during passing urine.
- Pain and swelling in the testicles.
What are the complications?
- Women may develop chronic pelvic pain leading to spontaneous abortion and later sterility.
- It can cause an inflammation in rectum and eyes (chlamydia is the biggest cause of blindness worldwide).
- Chlamydia may lead to a painful joint arthritis called Sexually Acquired Reactive Arthritis (SARA).
- A pregnant woman can pass the infection to her newborn during delivery leading to serious eye damage,pneumonia.
- It can affect sperm function and fertility in men also.
- If left untreated, chlamydia can increase the risk of acquiring HIV.
- Chlamydia infection is associated with an increased incidence of premature births.
Causes of Chlamydia;
- Chlamydia is spread by unprotected sexual intercourse (vaginal, oral and anal) with an infected person.
- Spread from mother to child during child birth.
Treatment : how to get rid of it ?
Chlamydia is easily curable with one single course of antibiotics. Finish the entire course of antibiotic prescribed by doctor, even if symptoms go away. Go for a follow-up check up after the course is over.
How to prevent spread and getting infected ?
It is better to prevent chlamydia than treat it. And the best ways to do it are:
- Use condoms during sexual intercourse. But remember, “there is nothing like safe sex.” Condoms do not necessarily prevent STDs.
- Avoid sexual contact with high-risk partners.
- Limit your sexual relationship to a single, uninfected partner.
- All newborns should be treaded with eye drops containing antibiotics that kill chlamydia.
- All sexual partners of an infected person should be treated to prevent further spread of the infection.
- Spread awareness of this disease amongst your friends. Encourage them to go for a checkup if they think they may be at risk.
Chlamydia is a silent epidemic, which is on the rise. It is also the largest STD with dire consequences if left untreated. Therefore, wakeup, get checked if you think you are at risk. It is a dangerous but not an incurable disease.