How Chlamydia Is Diagnosed
There are a number of different, reliable tests for chlamydia. In addition to tests that a healthcare provider would use in a medical office or clinic, there are now some good test kits you can use at home. The tests rely on several different methods.
Some older tests involve obtaining some of the chlamydia bacteria and growing them in a culture. Today, healthcare providers prefer newer DNA tests, often called NAATs .
Some tests that work for both men and women use a urine sample. Others use secretions from the genitals or other infected areas of the body, such as the rectum. While the CDC recommends testing of genital secretions, screening a urine sample is less invasive and more practical for many primary-care physician offices.
Women under age 25 ought to be tested every year for chlamydia whether or not they have any symptoms. In women, tests often involve the insertion of a cotton swab into the vagina to obtain secretions.
Vaginal swab is the preferred method, says Dombrowski. You dont have to have a whole pelvic exam.
If you are pregnant, you should be screened for chlamydia during your first prenatal visit. If you are pregnant and younger than 25, or if you are pregnant and have a new sex partner or multiple partners, you should also be screened again in your third trimester. Its important to catch and treat chlamydia in a pregnant woman to prevent transmission to the baby. In newborns, the illness can cause serious harm or death.
How Is It Spread
Chlamydia is passed from one person to another by contact with body fluids containing the bacteria during unprotected oral, vaginal and anal sex.
Sometimes a person with chlamydia will have no symptoms. Even without symptoms, the infection passes easily to another person.
If you have a chlamydia infection you will be able to pass the infection on to others until you complete antibiotic treatment.
If you are pregnant, you may pass the infection to you babys eyes during childbirth. This may lead to blindness if the baby is not treated. If you have chlamydia during pregnancy, the baby may develop pneumonia.
Chlamydia treatment does not protect you from getting it again. If you are treated and your sex partners are not, the bacteria could pass back to you again.
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How To Tell Someone About Your Sti
Whether youÃ¢re telling a new partner before you have sex, or a past partner that they need to get tested, there is no silver bullet to broaching this conversation. What is most comfortable varies from person to person, but there are some options to consider which could help you decide how you would like to approach it.
A recent study published by the US National Library of Medicine found that most people chose to give the news in person, followed by calling them. Less than a quarter chose to email or text their past or current partners about their STI. The study found that telling someone in person was the way to go, as it demonstrated care, respect and courage. Less common were email and SMS, as people thought that they might not be taken seriously or shown to others.
The takeaway? Basically, the more honest and open you can be about telling someone, the better. But every relationship is different, and you do you. As long the conversation takes place in some shape or form, thatÃ¢s what matters.
If you really, really canÃ¢t face the talk youÃ¢ll be happy to know that there are escape routes. letthemknow.org.au sends an anonymous text message telling your past partner to get tested. Alternatively, you can ask your GP to contact people for you.
ItÃ¢s worth thinking about how you would like to find out â would you rather someone tell you in person, or get an anonymous text?
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The Health Risks Of Chlamydia
For up to 40 percent of infected women, untreated chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease . PID effects include abdominal pain, fever, internal abscesses and long-lasting pelvic pain effects also include scarring of the fallopian tubes, which can cause infertility and increase the chance of potentially life-threatening ectopic or tubal pregnancies.
Men can develop scarring of the urethra, making urination difficult and occasionally causing infertility. Although rare, both sexes are at risk of a type of arthritis known as Reiters Syndrome that causes inflammation and swelling of the joints.
If a pregnant woman has chlamydia, her baby may be born prematurely, have eye infections or develop pneumonia.
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What Can Happen If Chlamydia Isnt Treated
Untreated chlamydia can put your health at risk. Make an appointment with your provider immediately if you notice any symptoms of chlamydia, and get regular STI screenings to avoid complications later.
Complications of chlamydia for people with vaginas
Untreated chlamydia can cause:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease . PID is a serious condition that requires hospitalization. It can occur when an untreated STI, like chlamydia, damages your reproductive organs. PID can lead to infertility and chronic pelvic pain. It can also cause an ectopic pregnancy,which is life-threatening for the fetus and potentially deadly for the mother or gestational parent, too.
- Pregnancy complications. An untreated infection can lead to pre-term delivery. Also, if youre pregnant and have chlamydia, you can pass the infection on to your newborn. Babies born with chlamydia may have pneumonia or conjunctivitis that could lead to blindness if not treated.
Complications of chlamydia for people with penises
Untreated chlamydia can cause:
- Epididymitis. Infection can spread to the testicles and the tube that carries sperm to your testicles , causing symptoms like pain, swelling and tenderness in your testicles.
- Reduced fertility. Chlamydia can harm your sperm, negatively impacting your ability to conceive.
Complications of chlamydia that can affect all genders
Untreated chlamydia can:
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Young Sexually Active Women Are Most Susceptible
Women between ages 15 and 24 are most likely to be newly infected with chlamydia, according to the CDC, but anyone who is sexually active male or female can be infected. Men who have oral or anal sex with men are also at risk, notes the CDC. The CDC recommends regular chlamydia screenings for people at an increased risk of contracting it.
You should be screened annually for chlamydia if you are:
- A sexually active woman under age 25
- A woman age 25 or older who has multiple sexual partners
- A woman whose sexual partner may have multiple sexual partners
- Pregnant and under age 25 or pregnant and age 25 or older with an increased risk
- A man who has sex with men
- At an increased risk for other health reasons
I would emphasize that young women should be screened if they engage in any sexual behavior that puts them at risk because often has no symptoms, and early treatment is important to avoid long-term damage and infertility, Dr. Schaffir says.
Screening for chlamydia is painless: It usually involves testing a urine sample or a specimen swabbed from the vagina or penis. Some lab tests for chlamydia can use specimens from the throat or rectum.
What Are The Symptoms Of Chlamydia
It may be difficult to actually know if you have contracted chlamydia because most people do not have any symptoms at all. The suspicion may only be raised if there has been a known contact with chlamydia or from testing after unprotected sex. It is important that you get tested if you suspect you have chlamydia because there are treatments available and if left untreated it can have serious short-term and long-term effects.
In the short term after infection, some people may experience unusual vaginal or rectal discharge, which is described as yellow or milky white. This is because the chlamydia bacteria infects the cells in the vagina and rectum, stimulating mucous secretion. These secretions combine with dead infected cells to produce discharge.
A white discharge may also be caused by vaginal thrush, however, but this is usually curd-like, often odourless, or smells like bread or yeast. It is also often associated with vaginal itching or redness.
A green, rather than yellow discharge, along with a foul smelling odour, may be due to other sexually transmitted diseases such as trichomoniasis.2 A grey-white watery vaginal discharge that has a strong fishy smell may be due to bacterial vaginosis, which is caused by a disruption of the balance of normal vaginal bacteria.3 So, the difference in colour and smell of the vaginal discharge may differentiate between whether it is likely to be caused by chlamydia or not.
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What Happens If Gonorrhea Goes Untreated
If a person is not treated for gonorrhea, there is a good chance complications will occur. Women frequently suffer from pelvic inflammatory disease , a painful condition that occurs when the infection spreads throughout the reproductive organs. PID can lead to sterilization in females. Men may suffer from swelling of the testicles and penis. Both sexes may suffer from arthritis, skin problems and other organ infections caused by the spread of gonorrhea within the body.
Essential Facts About Chlamydia
Chlamydia often causes no symptoms in the short term, but it can have serious health consequences if it goes untreated.
If youre sexually active, you should know about chlamydia, a common sexually transmitted bacterial infection. These 10 facts will bring you up to speed on whos at risk, why regular screening is so important, and how to avoid getting chlamydia and other sexually transmitted infections .
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How Do You Know If You Have Chlamydia
The only way to know if you have chlamydia is by amedical exam. Most women with chlamydia do nothave any signs of infection. See your health careprovider to be tested for chlamydia each year if you:
- Are age 25 or younger and are sexually active
- Are older than 25 with new or multiple sex partners
- Do not practice safe sex
- Are having sex with someone who might be havingsex with others
- Are pregnant
How Gonorrhea And Chlamydia Are Tested
Both gonorrhea and chlamydia can be diagnosed with similar methods. A healthcare provider might do a physical examination to look for symptoms, and they may do a urine test to check for the bacteria that cause chlamydia or gonorrhea.
But screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea doesnÃ¢t have to take place at a clinic. With the Everlywell at-home Chlamydia & Gonorrhea Test, you can easily check for these STIs from the comfort and privacy of your home.
The kit comes with easy-to-follow instructions and everything you need to collect your sample at home, and your physician-reviewed results can be conveniently and securely viewed online on your device. Plus, if you receive a positive result after you get tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea with the Everlywell at-home test, youÃ¢ll have the opportunity to connect with our independent physician networkÃ¢and may be prescribed medication to treat the infection.
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What Should I Do If I Have Chlamydia
Chlamydia is easy to treat. But you need to be tested and treated as soon as possible.
If you have chlamydia:
- See a doctor or nurse as soon as possible. Antibiotics will treat chlamydia, but they will not fix any permanent damage to your reproductive organs.
- Take all of your medicine. Even if symptoms go away, you need to finish all of the antibiotics.
- Tell your sex partner so they can be tested and treated. If they are not tested and treated you could get chlamydia again.
- Avoid sexual contact until you and your partner have been treated and cured. Even after you finish your antibiotics, you can get chlamydia again if you have sex with someone who has chlamydia.
- See your doctor or nurse again if you have symptoms that dont go away within a few days after finishing the antibiotics.
Chlamydia Can Lead To Infertility
A lot of us don’t realize that some sexually transmitted diseases can cause no symptoms, meaning you could have an STD and not know it. And some STDs can silently lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy, or chronic pelvic pain.
Chlamydia is one of those diseases. CDC estimates that more than 2.8 million people are infected each year.
Chlamydia is most common in sexually active young adults. More than half of all infections involve people ages 18 to 24. You can get chlamydia during oral, vaginal, or anal sexual contact with an infected partner. The disease can cause penile discharge in men and infertility in women. It can also cause serious health problems in newborn babies of infected mothers.
Many women, and some men, are infected with chlamydia but don’t know it. Even without symptoms, the disease can cause complications, particularly infertility. The longer the infection is untreated, the more damage that can be done.
If symptoms do show up, they usually occur within weeks of exposure. Men and women may face painful urination, an abnormal discharge from the urethra, or both. Women also may have abdominal pain, bleeding, and an abnormal discharge from the vagina. Symptoms usually appear within one to three weeks after being infected and may be very mild.
In pregnant women, chlamydia can cause premature delivery, the CDC says. A child born to an infected woman can develop an infection in their eyes and respiratory tracts.
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What Other Problems Can Chlamydia Cause
In women, an untreated infection can spread to your uterus and fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease . PID can cause permanent damage to your reproductive system. This can lead to long-term pelvic pain, infertility, and ectopic pregnancy. Women who have had chlamydia infections more than once are at higher risk of serious reproductive health complications.
Men often dont have health problems from chlamydia. Sometimes it can infect the epididymis . This can cause pain, fever, and, rarely, infertility.
Both men and women can develop reactive arthritis because of a chlamydia infection. Reactive arthritis is a type of arthritis that happens as a reaction to an infection in the body.
Babies born to infected mothers can get eye infections and pneumonia from chlamydia. It may also make it more likely for your baby to be born too early.
Untreated chlamydia may also increase your chances of getting or giving HIV/AIDS.
Is It Possible To Prevent Chlamydia
Since most people who have the infection do not have symptoms and may not be aware they are infected, it is commonly spread, and it can be difficult to prevent the infection. Male condoms can reduce the risk of spreading or acquiring the infection. Having a mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested or treated also reduces the risk of contracting chlamydia infection.
Does Oral Chlamydia Go Away
Chlamydia, whether it is oral or genital does not go away on its own.
It is possible for the symptoms of chlamydia to go away for a short period of time, but that does not mean you no longer have chlamydia. The infection may persist in the body in the absence of treatment .
A short course of antibiotics are required to treat chlamydia, and a follow up test is required to ensure the risk of re-infection.
What Happens If You Dont Get Treated For Chlamydia
Even though chlamydia is common and doesnt usually cause any symptoms, it can become a big deal if its not caught and treated early.
Chlamydia can spread to your uterus and fallopian tubes if it goes untreated for a long time. This can cause you to have pelvic inflammatory disease . PID can cause permanent damage that leads to pain, infertility, or ectopic pregnancy. So getting tested regularly for chlamydia really lowers your chances of getting PID.
If you have a penis, a chlamydia infection can spread to your epididymis if its left untreated, and can cause chronic joint pain. Rarely, it can make you infertile.
Having chlamydia may increase your chances of getting or spreading HIV.
If you have chlamydia during your pregnancy and dont treat it, you can pass it to your baby when youre giving birth. Chlamydia can also cause eye infections and pneumonia in newborns, and it also increases the risk of delivering your baby too early.
Testing and treatment for chlamydia is quick, easy, and the best way to avoid all of these problems.
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How Do You Test For Male Chlamydia
Early testing and treatment of chlamydia is key. If youve recently had unprotected sex with a new partner, with someone you suspect may be infected or if you just havent been tested for STIs in a while, you should get tested. You can do this at your local GP or GUM clinic, .
Alternatively, you can order a chlamydia test kit from us and take your test at home and further chlamydia treatment if required. Because chlamydia is highly prevalent among 16 to 25 year-olds, chlamydia tests are now offered at most youth clubs and universities too.
Youll need to provide a urine sample you may need to refrain from passing urine for about two hours leading up to the test to get an accurate result. If youve been engaging in oral or anal sex, you should also get a swab test of your rectum or throat.
If you dont have much time or would prefer a home test, you can order a chlamydia test kit from us and have it delivered to your UK address within 48 hours. Your sample will be sent to a lab for analysis and youll be contacted with the result within a few days.