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Long Term Effects Of Chlamydia

What Are The Chlamydia Long Term Effects

Chlamydia / Alynn Alexander, MD

STDs or sexually transmitted diseases are considered to be one of the hardest types of infections to prevent. In addition to this, some STDs are also very hard to treat and some dont even have any cure despite todays great innovation in medical science and technology. Nowadays, there are already a number of diseases that are classified under the STD category. However, one of the most common of these diseases is none other than Chlamydia. So what are the different facts and details about Chlamydia and what are the Chlamydia long-term effects?

Can Chlamydia Be Prevented

The only sure way to prevent chlamydia is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

Correct usage of latex condoms greatly reduces, but does not eliminate, the risk of catching or spreading chlamydia. If your or your partner is allergic to latex, you can use polyurethane condoms.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

How To Help Partners Get Treatment

If you are not sure whether your sexual partner will seek treatment, ask your doctor for extra chlamydia medication . You can give it to them so they can be treated as soon as possible.

This is known as patient delivered partner therapy for chlamydia. Talk to your doctor to see if PDPT is right for you and your sexual partner.

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What To Think About

Some people who have chlamydia may also have gonorrhea. In that case, treatment includes antibiotics that kill both chlamydia and gonorrhea. For more information, see the topic Gonorrhea.

Reinfection can occur. Symptoms that continue after treatment are probably caused by another chlamydia infection rather than treatment failure. To prevent reinfection, sex partners need to be evaluated and treated.

Repeated chlamydia infections increase the risk for pelvic inflammatory disease . Even one infection can lead to PID without proper treatment. Make sure to take your antibiotics exactly as prescribed. Take the full course of medicine, even if you feel better in a couple of days.

Some doctors recommend retesting 3 to 12 months after treatment to reduce the risk of complications from reinfection.footnote 4

If you have chlamydia, your doctor will send a report to the state health department. Your personal information is kept confidential. The health department may contact you about telling your sex partner or partners that they may need treatment.

Preventing Sexually Transmitted Diseases

PPT

You can avoid contracting an STD by following some simple measures. First of all, avoid sex or any type of sexual relations with anyone who has genital sores, a rash, a discharge, or other symptoms. Here are some other tips:

  • Whenever you have sex, use latex condoms and, if you use a lubricant, be sure it is water-based.
  • Wash yourself before and after intercourse.
  • Avoid sharing towels and underclothing.
  • If you have a drinking or substance abuse problem, seek help, since you are more likely to have spontaneous, unprotected sex.
  • Get vaccinated for hepatitis B and tested for HIV.

Keep in mind that early and rapid diagnosis of an STD increases your chance of limiting the effects of the disease. Some STDs can actually be cured. Since most STDs do not produce immediate symptoms, it is a good idea to schedule regular examinations with your doctor.

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How To Prevent Chlamydia Infection

To avoid the serious long term effects of chlamydia, one must take proper precaution to avoid getting infection by it. The precautions include:

  • To maintain good hygiene
  • To stop with unprotected sexual practices
  • To reduce number of sexual partners
  • To get tested or get screened for presence of chlamydia by people engaged in unprotected sex every year
  • Pregnant women should get tested early to start with immediate treatment so that the baby does not get chlamydia infection. Babies born with chlamydia infection suffer from trachoma which causes blindness.
  • To avoid having sex with infected partner who has not completed the entire course of the treatment.
  • The infected person should confirm if the treatment is working by retesting after 5 weeks of taking the medicines.

Symptoms Of Chlamydia In Men

One of the most significant challenges that come with diagnosing chlamydia, and other STIs, is that they typically present no symptoms. The presenting symptoms can also be mild that people ignore them or mistake them for other common conditions such as urinary tract infections .

In men who become symptomatic, chlamydia typically presents in the following ways:

Pain during urination Penile discharge Itchy genitals

Eye pain

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What Complications Can Result From Chlamydial Infection

The initial damage that chlamydia causes often goes unnoticed. However, chlamydial infections can lead to serious health problems with both short- and long-term consequences.

In women, untreated chlamydia can spread into the uterus or fallopian tubes and cause pelvic inflammatory disease . Symptomatic PID occurs in about 10 to 15 percent of women with untreated chlamydia.30,31 However, chlamydia can also cause subclinical inflammation of the upper genital tract . Both acute and subclinical PID can cause permanent damage to the fallopian tubes, uterus, and surrounding tissues. The damage can lead to chronic pelvic pain, tubal factor infertility, and potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy.32,33

Some patients with chlamydial PID develop perihepatitis, or Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome, an inflammation of the liver capsule and surrounding peritoneum, which is associated with right upper quadrant pain.

In pregnant women, untreated chlamydia has been associated with pre-term delivery,34 as well as ophthalmia neonatorum and pneumonia in the newborn.

Reactive arthritis can occur in men and women following symptomatic or asymptomatic chlamydial infection, sometimes as part of a triad of symptoms formerly referred to as Reiters Syndrome.35

Long Term Effects Of Chlamydia In Women

Chlamydia and fertility

Women with untreated chlamydia face serious complications to the reproductive system such as

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease:

When chlamydia is not detected, it causes inflammation of the cervix which leads to foul smelling vaginal discharge, pain during sexual intercourse, and bleeding between periods. There is pain experienced in the lower abdomen. As chlamydia spreads to the upper reproductive tract it causes infection in the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. This results in swelling and scarring of the tissues. The scarred tissues blocks the fallopian tubes, due to which there is no movement of eggs and it prevents fertilization to occur. Thus, the long term effect of untreated chlamydia in women is infertility . Further, it can lead to ectopic pregnancy, recurrent miscarriages, still births, chronic pelvic pain and even death.

Complications during Pregnancy and Childbirth:

A pregnant woman with untreated chlamydia can pass her infection to her child. Such babies are born with eye disease and pneumonia. Infections in pregnant women can also lead to premature birth.

Long Term Effects of Chlamydia in Men: In men the long term consequences of untreated chlamydia infection include:

Inflammation of the Testicles:

Reactive Arthritis as a Long Term Effect of Chlamydia:

In untreated men, the joints, eyes and urethra becomes inflamed. It is called sexually reactive arthritis .

Inflammation of the Prostate Gland

Causes fever with chills and lower back pain.

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If You Have Further Questions Contact Your Ob

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FAQ071

Copyright 2021 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. All rights reserved. Read copyright and permissions information.

This information is designed as an educational aid for the public. It offers current information and opinions related to women’s health. It is not intended as a statement of the standard of care. It does not explain all of the proper treatments or methods of care. It is not a substitute for the advice of a physician. Read ACOGs complete disclaimer.

How You Get Chlamydia

Due to the fact that chlamydia does not disappear on its own if left unattended, and because it might at times be asymptomatic, it is essential to comprehend how you get chlamydia so you can be checked for the disease if you are at risk.

Chlamydia is gone through sex. Complete penetration does not need to occur for the chlamydia to be passed from the penis to the vagin or vice versa.

In addition, chlamydia can be passed from the vagina to the rectum or anus when a woman wipes with toilet paper or otherwise spreads the bacteria from the vagina to the anus.

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How Is Chlamydia Diagnosed

There are a number of diagnostic tests for chlamydia, including nucleic acid amplification tests , cell culture, and others. NAATs are the most sensitive tests, and can be performed on easily obtainable specimens such as vaginal swabs or urine.43

Vaginal swabs, either patient- or clinician-collected, are the optimal specimen to screen for genital chlamydia using NAATs in women urine is the specimen of choice for men, and is an effective alternative specimen type for women.43 Self-collected vaginal swab specimens perform at least as well as other approved specimens using NAATs.44 In addition, patients may prefer self-collected vaginal swabs or urine-based screening to the more invasive endocervical or urethral swab specimens.45 Adolescent girls may be particularly good candidates for self-collected vaginal swab- or urine-based screening because pelvic exams are not indicated if they are asymptomatic.

NAATs have demonstrated improved sensitivity and specificity compared with culture for the detection of C. trachomatis at rectal and oropharyngeal sites.40 Certain NAAT test platforms have been cleared by FDA for these non-genital sites and data indicate NAAT performance on self-collected rectal swabs is comparable to clinician-collected rectal swabs. 40

Other Complications Of Untreated Chlamydia In All People

Chlamydia Symptoms, Pictures, Treatment
  • Conjunctivitis, spread by touching the infected area and then touching the hand to the eye
  • Inflammation of the mucous membrane of the rectum , if the chlamydia is from anal sex
  • Varied symptoms, such as joint and eye inflammation, caused by bacterial infection
  • Lymphogranuloma venereum, or LGV. This is caused by a type of chlamydia that is usually rare in the United States, but it is becoming more common in men who have sex with men. It causes open sores in the genital area, headache, fever, fatigue, and swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin. It also causes proctitis in people who get chlamydia through anal sex.

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The Long Term Effects Of Chlamydia In Males Explained

STDs affect men and women differently. One STD that tends to impact the lives of women more than men is chlamydia. Its worth noting here that women under 25 are most at risk for contracting chlamydia statistically, but any sexually active person can get chlamydia. Part of the reason why chlamydia is so prevalent is that many individuals dont realize they have the infection, since its often asymptomatic. Furthermore, most of the complications associated with chlamydia are related to female fertility. Relatively fewer organizations address the long term effects of chlamydia in males. Today though, were going to set the record straight and explain what can happen to a man with untreated chlamydia.

How To Treatment Of Chlamydia

Antibiotics, consisting of azithromycin and doxycycline, are typically recommended to treat chlamydia. Patients need to wait up until the chlamydia has been totally cured before taking part in sexual behavior.

If you start to exhibit symptoms once again after a successful course of treatment, it is most likely that you have been reinfected since treatment usually does not cannot remove the bacteria. Women typically have a high rate of reinfection and need to be tested once again within 3 to 4 months following the conclusion of treatment.

We hope the above info was practical.

Good luck! Have a nice weekend!

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What Happens If Chlamydia Goes Untreated

If a person is not treated for chlamydia, complications may occur. Women frequently develop pelvic inflammatory disease . PID can cause infertility , chronic pelvic pain, tubal pregnancies, and the continued spread of the disease. In men, untreated chlamydia can cause urethral infection and complications such as swollen and tender testicles. Chlamydia infection during pregnancy may result in premature rupture of membranes, preterm delivery and possible tubal pregnancy in a small percent of women. In addition, chlamydia can cause conjunctival and pneumonic infection in the newborn. Persons with a chlamydia infection have an increased chance of getting other infections such as gonorrhea or HIV.

What Happens If I Dont Get Treated

Past STDs Linked to Pregnancy Complications

The initial damage that chlamydia causes often goes unnoticed. However, chlamydia can lead to serious health problems.

If you are a woman, untreated chlamydia can spread to your uterus and fallopian tubes . This can cause pelvic inflammatory disease . PID often has no symptoms, however some women may have abdominal and pelvic pain. Even if it doesnt cause symptoms initially, PID can cause permanent damage to your reproductive system. PID can lead to long-term pelvic pain, inability to get pregnant, and potentially deadly ectopic pregnancy .

Men rarely have health problems linked to chlamydia. Infection sometimes spreads to the tube that carries sperm from the testicles, causing pain and fever. Rarely, chlamydia can prevent a man from being able to have children.

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How Serious Is Chlamydia

In the short term, chlamydia is harmless and it is treated with one dose of antibiotics. If it is left untreated for a long time however it can cause long term complications. These include pelvic inflammatory infection, epididymo-orchitis and infertility. If you have symptoms or think you might be at risk of having chlamydia, then its important to have a check-up and get treatment early. This will prevent the infection from spreading and causing more serious problems.

Male Complications Of Untreated Chlamydia

Men can also experience complications when chlamydia is left untreated. The epididymis the tube that holds the testicles in place may become inflamed, causing pain. This is known as epididymitis.

The infection can also spread to the prostate gland, causing a fever, painful intercourse, and discomfort in the lower back. Another possible complication is male chlamydial urethritis.

These are just some of the most common complications of untreated chlamydia, which is why its important to get medical attention right away. Most people who get treatment quickly have no long-term medical problems.

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How Do You Prevent Chlamydia

Using a new male or female condom or dental dam every time you have sex is the best way to protect against chlamydia.

Chlamydia can be passed on by sharing sex toys. Always cover sex toys with a new condom and wash them after use to reduce your risk of getting chlamydia and other STIs.

Its important to regularly test for chlamydia, even if you dont have any symptoms, especially if youve had multiple sexual partners.

The contraceptive pill and other types of contraception wont prevent you getting chlamydia, and neither will PrEP.

How Do You Get Chlamydia

STDs and HIV

Chlamydia is usually passed on through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex.

Chlamydia can be passed on through genital contact. This means you can get chlamydia from someone who has the infection if your genitals touch, even if you dont have sex or ejaculate .

You can also get chlamydia if you come into contact with infected semen or vaginal fluid, or get them in your eye.

Chlamydia cant be passed on through kissing, hugging, sharing towels or using the same toilet as someone with the infection.

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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.

How Is Epididymitis Treated If You Have Chlamydia

There are several reasons why epididymitis might develop STIs such as chlamydia are just one. Patients are usually treated with a course of antibiotics, and in some cases NSAIDs or other painkillers may be used to ease discomfort. This condition can affect the joints, eyes or the urethra.

However, if you have oral chlamydia symptoms, you may need to see your doctor for throat swab culture. The culture of chlamydia takes about 3 7 days. If diagnosed with chlamydia, you can easily be treated and cured with azithromycin or doxycycline tablets. During pregnancy, chlamydia infection can be treated safely with azithromycin.

If chlamydia is properly treated, within 3 5 weeks, you will test negative for chlamydia. However, if youve had intercourse while on treatment, you may still have chlamydia and may test positive. Can chlamydia go away and come back? If youve had unprotected intercourse, its likely you may not have chlamydia if your partner is not infected.

There are several reasons why epididymitis might develop STIs such as chlamydia are just one. Patients are usually treated with a course of antibiotics, and in some cases NSAIDs or other painkillers may be used to ease discomfort. This condition can affect the joints, eyes or the urethra.

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What About Partners

If a person has been diagnosed and treated for chlamydia, he or she should tell all recent anal, vaginal, or oral sex partners so they can see a health care provider and be treated. This will reduce the risk that the sex partners will develop serious complications from chlamydia and will also reduce the persons risk of becoming re-infected. A person with chlamydia and all of his or her sex partners must avoid having sex until they have completed their treatment for chlamydia and until they no longer have symptoms. For tips on talking to partners about sex and STD testing, visit www.gytnow.org/talking-to-your-partner/external icon

To help get partners treated quickly, healthcare providers in some states may give infected individuals extra medicine or prescriptions to give to their sex partners. This is called expedited partner therapy or EPT. In published clinical trials comparing EPT to traditional patient referral , EPT was associated with fewer persistent or recurrent chlamydial infections in the index patient, and a larger reported number of partners treated.52 For providers, EPT represents an additional strategy for partner management of persons with chlamydial infection partners should still be encouraged to seek medical evaluation, regardless of whether they receive EPT. To obtain further information regarding EPT, including the legal status of EPT in a specific area, see the Legal Status of Expedited Partner Therapy.

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