Preventing Chlamydia And Recurrences
How Antibiotics Used In The Treatment Of Chlamydia Work
Once bacteria causing chlamydia has found a way within a persons body, it will inhabit the mucous membranes and begin to multiply. What we commonly call infection spread is actually the result of this process of multiplication when new bacteria is formed and it starts to colonise other bodily parts and not just those that were originally infected.
However, in order to grow and replicate, bacteria need to synthesize a specific protein, an enzyme that serves as a kind of catalyst in the process of multiplication. Most of the antibiotics used for the treatment of chlamydia work by inhibiting the activity of that enzyme, effectively halting the spread of infection and rendering the bacteria unable to replicate. Once this is accomplished, the infection can be easily cleared by the bodys immune system.
What Is Chlamydia Like
Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection . Most people who have confirmed cases of chlamydia are recorded to have no symptoms. When symptoms do appear, it occurs in the form of a pus-like yellow discharge, frequent or painful urination. Additionally, some women experience spotting between periods or after sex. Also, rectal pain irritation, bleeding or discharge can occur. Some patients may experience lower abdominal pain, swollen or tender testicles. If left untreated, chlamydia may lead to infertility or irreversible reproductive issues.
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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Getting Chlamydia
The only way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting chlamydia:
- Be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results
- Use latex condoms the right way every time you have sex.
How Is It Contracted
Chlamydia is transmitted primarily through sexual activity. The following are the most common ways:
- unprotected intercourse with an infected partner
- oral sex, although a less common cause of infection as bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis targets the genital area rather than the throat. Although it is possible theoretically, the cases of infestation from mouth-to-penis and penis-to-mouth contact are rare
- vagina, cervix, anus, penis or mouth contacting infected secretions or fluids which means that contraction can occur even if the penis or tongue does not enter the vagina or anus
- bacteria can travel from the vaginal area to the anus or rectum of women while wiping with toilet paper
- sharing sex toys
- from mother to the newborn during vaginal childbirth through the infected birth channel
- infection can be transferred on fingers from the genitals to other parts of the body
Chlamydia is not contracted through simple kissing, handshaking, any casual contacts, sharing baths, towels and cups as well as from toilet seats.
Chlamydia trachomatis, an obligate intracellular human pathogen, is one of four bacterial species in the genus Chlamydia. 3D illustration
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How Accurate Are The Tests
The accuracy of a chlamydia test depends on the kind of test used and the type of sample thats collected. The recommended tests are over 95% accurate in picking up chlamydia. As no test is 100% accurate theres a small chance that the test will give a negative result when you do have chlamydia. This is known as a false negative result. This can sometimes explain why you might get a different result from another test or why you and a partner might get a different test result.
Its possible for the test to be positive if you havent got chlamydia, but this is rare.
How Does Chlamydia Spread
Chlamydia is spread when a person has unprotected sex with an infected person.
Because chlamydial infection often has no symptoms, many people do not realise they have the infection.
Even if you know a person well, you may not be able to tell they have an STI, because people can look healthy and still have chlamydia.
Remember, you can get chlamydia and other STIs from a new sexual partner who has in the past had sex with someone who is infected.
It can also be spread from a long-term partner who has had sex with other people.
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Effects Of Chlamydia Treatment
After you have begun your course of chlamydia treatment, you should start to notice an improvement in your symptoms within a few days. Generally, most symptoms should resolve completely within 24 weeks. If any symptoms persist, such as pelvic pain or pain during sex, please return to the clinic as further treatment or investigations may be necessary.
If you are diagnosed with chlamydia you may need to inform anyone you have had sex with within the last six months as they may also be infected. They should be advised to attend a sexual health clinic for a chlamydia test and will usually be offered treatment on the day they attend. This advice is regardless of whether they have any symptoms or not, or whether or not you used a condom.
If you feel unable to inform previous sexual partners one of our Health Advisers will be able to notify them on your behalf without revealing your identity.
You should not have oral, anal or vaginal sex during your course of chlamydia treatment or for seven days after a single dose of chlamydia treatment and also until your current partner completes their treatment and until both you and your partners symptoms have abated. This is to avoid being re-infected and requiring further treatment.
How Can I Know If I Have Chlamydia
If you think you have chlamydia, or any STI, contact your healthcare provider. He or she will examine you and perform tests, if necessary, to determine if you have an STI.
To check for chlamydia, a woman is given a pelvic exam. A sample of fluid is taken from the vagina. In men, a sample of fluid may be taken from the penis. The fluid is sent to a laboratory for testing. The cultures can also be taken from a urine test. Your provider will discuss which way is the best way to check for an infection in your particular situation.
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How Easily Is Chlamydia Transmitted During Sexual Intercourse
Unfortunately, chlamydia is very easily transmitted through unprotected sexual contact. This is especially true because chlamydia infections are sometimes asymptomaticâmeaning they donât cause noticeable symptoms.
In fact, any time you come in contact with the bacteriaâeven if your sex partner doesnât ejaculate or you arenât fully penetratedâyou could become infected or pass along the chlamydial infection. This being the case, men and women should get tested for STIs before beginning any new sexual relationship.
How Is Chlamydia Spread
You can get chlamydia by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has chlamydia.
If your sex partner is male you can still get chlamydia even if he does not ejaculate .
If youve had chlamydia and were treated in the past, you can still get infected again. This can happen if you have unprotected sex with someone who has chlamydia.
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How Is Chlamydia Treated During Pregnancy
Pregnant women are a very specific case when it comes to chlamydia treatment. This is so because not only there is a risk of passing on the infection to the baby, but also because neither Doxycycline nor Ofloxacin are suitable for use during pregnancy. In this scenario, doctor may recommend:
- One-off dose of Azithromycin
- Seven day course of Erythromycin
- 14-day course of Erythromycin
- A week course of Amoxicillin
Of course, these are just the most general guidelines every patient comes with a specific medical history and specific issues which might have significant impact on how the treatment is conducted.
Female Complications Of Untreated Chlamydia
Women can also become infertile if chlamydia is left untreated because the fallopian tubes may become scarred.
What Happens If Chlamydia Isn’t Treated
Only some people who have chlamydia will have complications. If chlamydia is treated early, its unlikely to cause any long-term problems. But, without proper treatment, the infection can spread to other parts of the body. The more times you have chlamydia the more likely you are to get complications.
- If you have a vulva, chlamydia can spread to other reproductive organs causing pelvic inflammatory disease . This can lead to long-term pelvic pain, blocked fallopian tubes, infertility and ectopic pregnancy .
- In people with a vulva, chlamydia can also cause pain and inflammation around the liver, though this is rare. This usually gets better with the correct antibiotic treatment.
- If you have a penis, chlamydia can lead to infection in the testicles. If this isnt treated, theres a possibility it could affect your fertility but more research is needed to understand how likely this is.
- Rarely, chlamydia can lead to inflammation of the joints. This is known as Sexually Acquired Reactive Arthritis and is sometimes accompanied by inflammation of the urethra and the eye. This is more likely to occur in people with a penis than people with a vulva.
In Men Untreated Chlamydia Can Lead To:
- Epididymitis painful inflammation of the inner structures of the testicles, which may cause reduced fertility or sterility. A rare complication of Epididymitisis reactive arthritis, which causes pain in the inflamed joints that can be disabling
- Occasionally, Reiters syndrome
- Urethritis inflammation of the urethra with a yellow discharge appearing at the tip of the penis. Untreated urethritis results in narrowing of the urethra which leads to painful urinating and can cause kidney problems
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What Do I Need To Know If I Get Treated For Chlamydia
If youre getting treated for chlamydia:
- Take all of your medicine the way your nurse or doctor tells you to, even if any symptoms you may be having go away sooner. The infection stays in your body until you finish the antibiotics.
- Your partner should also get treated for chlamydia so you dont re-infect each other or anyone else.
- Dont have sex for 7 days. If you only have 1 dose of medication, wait for 7 days after you take it before having sex. If youre taking medicine for 7 days, dont have sex until youve finished all of your pills.
- Get tested again in 3-4 months to make sure your infection is gone.
- Dont share your medicine with anyone. Your nurse or doctor may give you a separate dose of antibiotics for your partner. Make sure you both take all of the medicine you get.
- Even if you finish your treatment and the chlamydia is totally gone, its possible to get a new chlamydia infection again if youre exposed in the future. Chlamydia isnt a one-time-only deal. So use condoms and get tested regularly.
Rules For Successful Treatment
The patient should make sure that the doctor is informed if the patient is pregnant or has any allergies. These conditions influence the choice of the medicine prescribed. No matter which antibiotic the patient takes treating chlamydia the following points should be remembered:
- The treatment of all partners on the infected person is obligatory
- Abstain from sex contacts during the treatment and until the negative result on chlamydia test is received
- It is unadvisable to interrupt the course of antibiotics treatment as it will result in the necessity to start again from the beginning. Although the symptoms may disappear, the infection may still remain in the body
- It is necessary to get tested after 34 months after the end of the treatment to make sure the infection is no longer in the body.
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Std Testing Is Not A Part Of A Routing Physical Examination
The first most common reason your tests didnt come up positive is that you werent tested for the STDs that you thought you were being tested for. Just because your doctor gave you a clean bill of health at your last annual check-up doesnt mean that they gave you an STD test. Most doctors, unless you specifically ask them to, will not automatically give you any type of STD testing. Even though they should ethically test you for such bacterial and viral infections, it is up to their discretion what is included in your health exam. For example, a doctor wont automatically give you a gonorrhea test at a casual checkup. If you dont alert them to something new, they wont have medical reason to test you.
Why Do I Keep Getting A Chlamydia Infection
You can get chlamydia even after treatment. You may get it again for several reasons, including:
- You did not complete your course of antibiotics as directed and the initial chlamydia did not go away.
- Your sexual partner has untreated chlamydia and gave it to you during sexual activity.
- You used an object during sex that was not properly cleaned and was contaminated with chlamydia.
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Treatment For Chlamydia Is Quick And Easy
Two antibiotics are most often used for treating chlamydia:
- Azithromycin The main treatment for chlamydia is one gram of azithromycin, taken one time, says , deputy director of clinical services for public health with the Seattle and King County HIV and STD Program in Washington. That one gram comes as either two pills or four pills. It is not expensive.
- Doxycycline If your doctor prescribes doxycycline, you will take two pills daily for one week. It costs somewhat more than azithromycin.
Antibiotics can also cure chlamydia in infants, who can get the infection from their mothers, and treatment is essential for them. Without treatment, infants infected with chlamydia can develop conjunctivitis, which can cause blindness, or pneumonia, which can be fatal.
What Causes Chlamydia
Its caused by bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis.
In people with chlamydia, the bacteria are most commonly found in the cervix and urethra . The bacteria can also infect the throat and rectum .
Anyone whos sexually active can get chlamydia and pass it on. You dont need to have lots of sexual partners.
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How Does It Work
- Your doctor will give you either the medication Azithromycin, or a prescription for the medication to give to your sexual partner/s
- Its a way to get your sexual partners treated for Chlamydia without them having to see a doctor
- Its not available everywhere in Australia, but is offered by some publicly funded Sexual Health Clinics and Family Planning Clinics in NSW
- Telling sexual partners you have an STI can be difficult, but its the right thing to do
Shopping For Std Tests
- STD Check has prices that are lower than most. It is actually one of the few STD-testing organizations that are FDA-approved to offer early detection for HIV.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a listing of clinics that can offer you free STD testing. By just entering your zip code, you are given the clinics that are near you. STD testing is also confidential and nobody would ever know that you have undergone such test. Aside from the CDC, you can also check out some clinics where you can get tested at Free STD Check.
- Planned Parenthood, a provider of low-cost healthcare in the United States, also covers STD testing. Aside from it being less expensive than other options, their affiliated clinics have different payment schemes available. If you also qualify for a financial assistance, your cost will be adjusted, depending on your capacity to pay.
- MyLabBox also made available STD testing kits which you can order online. You can have yourself tested in the convenience of your own home. After testing, you can mail your samples and get your results in two to five days.