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In the United States and other developed countries, the prevention of sexually transmitted genital infections and complications mainly focuses on screening and treating nonpregnant sexually active women aged 25 years or younger on an annual basis. Screening for pregnant women is recommended, and screening and treatment of women over 25 years of age are recommendations if there are identifiable risk factors, such as new or multiple sexual partners. Screening of young men in high-risk settings should be a consideration if resources allow. Urine or endocervical NAAT are the recommended screening tests. The partner should be screened and treated at the same time.
Healthcare workers and nurse practitioners should educate patients on the importance of using a condom during sex, practicing safe sex or abstaining from sexual activity to prevent chlamydia.
Pharmacists should verify dosing and agent selection for antimicrobial therapy, check for drug interactions, and report any concerns to the prescriber.
The prognosis is excellent with prompt initiation of treatment early, and with the completion of the entire course of antibiotics, antibiotic treatment is 95% effective for first-time therapy.
No vaccine is currently available for either trachoma or chlamydial genital infections.
Symptoms Can Differ For Men And Women
By and large, most cases of chlamydia are asymptomatic they are picked up by screening, which is why it’s so important to have good screening programs in place, notes Dr. Stoner. Men or women who have chlamydia symptoms may experience painful urination.
Women may also have these symptoms:
- Smelly discharge from the cervix
- Pain during sex
And men may have these symptoms:
What Are The Complications Of Chlamydia Infection
Because chlamydia does not show symptoms in everyone that is infected, it can easily cause long term problems in both men and women. If treatment does not occur early some of this complications are possible.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease . This is an ascending infection that affects the fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus and abdomen. It can cause severe pain and infertility in women.
- Peri-hepatitis. This is due to inflammation of the covering of the liver.
- In children, chlamydia can cause red eyes and pneumonia.
- If the fallopian tubes are affected, the baby may grow outside the uterus. This will cause severe pain or fainting attack if it ruptures
- Infertility or inability to conceive
- Increased chance of contacting other sexually transmitted infections like HIV, Gonorrhea, Trichomoniasis.
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Chlamydia Infection May Have Long
For women, the long-term effects of an untreated chlamydia infection may include:
- Severe infection with pain and fever requiring a hospital stay
- Pelvic inflammatory disease, an infection of the upper reproductive tract
- Scarring in the reproductive tract that causes infertility
- Higher risk of ectopic pregnancy
Men are less likely than women to have major health problems linked to chlamydia, although they can develop epididymitis, an inflammation of a structure within the testicles called the epididymis that can result in infertility.
A chlamydia infection can sometimes result in reactive arthritis in both men and women.
How Does Chlamydia Spread
As chlamydial infection often has no symptoms, a person may have the infection and pass it on to a sexual partner without knowing.
It is not possible to pass on chlamydia through:
- contact with a toilet seat
- sharing a sauna
- touching a surface that a person with chlamydia has touched
- standing close to a person who has the infection
- coughs or sneezes
- conjunctivitis or pneumonia in the newborn
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Chlamydia Discharge In Women
Though it is normal to have light vaginal discharge in healthy women as a part of the natural cleansing process of the vaginal cavity, the discharge becomes changed in color, odor, quantity and consistency when you have Chlamydia infection. The excessive vaginal discharge in women is caused due to the infection of the uterine cervix. It is one of the most common manifestations that are connected with Chlamydia in women. When you have Chlamydia infection, your vaginal discharge becomes thick, discolored and smelly.
How Can I Protect Myself From Chlamydia
Its not always possible to know if a current or potential partner has chlamydia, though, especially since many people with chlamydia never notice symptoms. With prevention in mind, its a good idea to make safer sex practices a regular part of your sex life:
- Dont share sex toys, but if you do, wash them after each use and cover toys used for penetration with a condom.
- Have sex with only one partner, who only has sex with you.
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What Happens If Symptoms Are Left Untreated In Females
If chlamydia isn’t treated, it can spread to other areas and cause serious health conditions. In women, it can spread to the womb, ovaries, or fallopian tubes, and cause pelvic inflammatory disease . PID can cause difficulty in getting pregnant, long-term pelvic pain, and ectopic pregnancy, which is where a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb.
Pregnant women with untreated chlamydia are at risk of passing the infection on to their baby. The baby may develop an eye or lung infection as a result.
Whilst all of our content is written and reviewed by healthcare professionals, it is not intended to be substituted for or used as medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please speak to your doctor.
Can Women Who Have Sex With Women Get Chlamydia
Yes. It is possible to get chlamydia, or any other STI, if you are a woman who has sex only with women. Chlamydia lives in the reproductive tract of an infected woman and can pass to a sex partner, whether male or female.
Talk to your partner about her sexual history before having sex, and ask your doctor or nurse for an STI test if you are at risk.
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Who Should Be Tested For Chlamydia
You should go to your health provider for a test if you have symptoms of chlamydia, or if you have a partner who has a sexually transmitted disease. Pregnant women should get a test when they go to their first prenatal visit.
People at higher risk should get checked for chlamydia every year:
- Sexually active women 25 and younger
- Older women who have new or multiple sex partners, or a sex partner who has a sexually transmitted disease
- Men who have sex with men
Can I Test Myself For Chlamydia At Home
Home testing kits for chlamydia are widely available and can be purchased at many pharmacies or online.
These kits typically require a urine sample or tissue swab, which you can collect at home and securely ship back to the lab to receive your results.
Some companies also include a free medical consultation with a doctor if your test results are positive to review your treatment options.
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How Is Chlamydia Treated
Chlamydia can be cleared up with antibiotics in about a week or two. But dont stop taking your medication just because your symptoms improve. Ask your provider about what follow-up is needed to be sure your infection is gone after youve finished taking your medicine.
Part of your treatment should also include avoiding sexual activities that could cause you to get re-infected and ensuring that any sexual partners who may be infected also get treatment. You should:
- Abstain from sex until your infection has cleared up. Starting treatment doesnt mean that youre in the clear. Take all your medication as your provider directs, and avoid all sexual contact in the meantime.
- Contact all sexual partners. Tell any sexual partners from the last 3 months that youre infected so that they can get tested, too.
- Get tested for other STIs . Its common to have multiple STIs, and its important to receive treatment thats tailored to each infection.
Antibiotics can get rid of your infection, but they cant reverse any harm the bacteria may have caused to your body before treatment. This is why its so important to get screened regularly for chlamydia, to see your provider at the first sign of symptoms, and get treatment immediately if youre infected.
Female Chlamydia Symptoms To Watch For
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection that can affect both males and females.
Up to 95 percent of females with chlamydia dont experience any symptoms, according to the This is problematic because chlamydia can cause damage to your reproductive system if left untreated.
But chlamydia can occasionally cause symptoms. Heres a look at the common ones you might notice.
Just remember, you could still have chlamydia without these symptoms. If theres a chance you may have been exposed to the bacteria, your safest bet is to get tested as soon as possible.
Chlamydia can cause unusual vaginal discharge. It might be:
Chlamydia can also affect your rectum. This can result from having unprotected or a vaginal chlamydia infection spreading to your rectum.
You might also notice mucus-like discharge coming from your rectum.
Chlamydia sometimes causes inflammation that leads to bleeding between your periods. This bleeding may range from light to moderately heavy.
Chlamydia can also lead to bleeding after any type of sexual activity involving penetration.
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Who Is Most Likely To Be Infected By Chlamydia
Studies have shown chlamydia infections to be the highest among women aged 15 to 24 years. Infection rates are highest in men at a slightly higher age range from 20 to 24 years old.
Population studies have tried to estimate what percent of the overall population is infected by Chlamydia. One extensive study of individuals between the age of 18 and 26 years found 4.2% to have Chlamydia infections.
Another national survey found 1.7% of people between 14 and 39 years had the infection. Out of all states, Alaska had the highest rates of Chlamydia.
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How Do Men Get Tested For Chlamydia
A doctor will perform a number of tests to make sure if a man carries the infection. The first test starts with a urine sample. When the patient provides the urine sample, the sample will then be taken to the lab to examine if the bacteria is present in the urine.
For more results, the doctor can take a urethral discharge swab to rule out any infections like syphilis or gonorrhea. Since these STIs have similar symptoms with chlamydia, its easy to misjudge them. With a swab test, the doctor will determine which infection has manifested in the system. See our Chlamydia Test in the webshop.
Theway a swab is taken in males is by inserting a very thin and sterile cottonswab into the urethra . Allthe fluids and discharge collected will be taken for further analysis.
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How Does Chlamydia Affect Pregnancy
For pregnant women, chlamydia may lead to premature birth, or babies born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Premature birth is the most common cause of infant death and can lead to long-term health and development problems in children.
Babies born to mothers who have chlamydia can get:
- Infections in their eyes, called conjunctivitis or pinkeye. Signs include discharge from the eyes and swollen eyelids. The signs most often show up within two weeks after birth.
- Pneumonia. Signs include congestion, cough, and rapid or labored breathing, although these are not always present. Signs most often show up one to three months after birth.
Chlamydia cant be passed on through kissing, hugging, sharing towels or using the same toilet as someone with the infection.
Treatment And Medication Options For Chlamydia
A course of antibiotics is the treatment for chlamydia. Your doctor will decide which drug to prescribe, and at what dose, according to your individual medical needs and other aspects of your situation.
Its important to abstain from having sex until seven days after the start of your antibiotic treatment, to prevent the transmission of chlamydia to a sexual partner. If you have a partner who is being treated for chlamydia, the same recommendation applies to them.
If you have symptoms that persist for more than a few days after you start your treatment, see your doctor again to be reevaluated.
Because the symptoms of chlamydia are similar to those of gonorrhea, you should be treated for both infections if you test positive for chlamydia. Thats because its often faster and cheaper to just treat both infections than to order another test for gonorrhea after a positive test result for chlamydia.
After completing your antibiotic treatment for chlamydia, youll need to get tested again after three to four months or earlier, if recommended to check for reinfection.
While antibiotics can cure chlamydia, they cant reverse any permanent damage caused by the infection.
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What Are The Signs Of Chlamydia In Men
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease that is caused by chlamydia trachomatis, which is a microscopic bacterium. Many people who are infected with the disease have little to no symptoms, which is why it is sometimes known as the silent disease. It is estimated that up to half of men with chlamydia have no idea that they are carrying it.
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Antibiotics Are A Highly Effective Cure For Chlamydia Infection
Antibiotics prescribed for chlamydia include:
A single oral dose of Zithromax is the most common treatment. Other drugs may be given in varying doses for a period of up to a week. Most cases of chlamydia clear up within a week after you start on antibiotics.
If you think you have been exposed to chlamydia, Stoner says, see your healthcare provider to receive antibiotic medication to prevent the onset of infection.
The partners of individuals diagnosed with chlamydia will need treatment, too, and in some states they can get it without a doctor visit through a practice called expedited partner therapy, in which the first person treated delivers the treatment to their partner or partners.
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Chlamydia Is Common But Many People Dont Realize They Have It
About 1.7 million chlamydia infections were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2017, but the real number is likely higher because chlamydia is considered an underreported infection.
“The number of reported cases is substantially lower than the true estimated incidence,” says Bradley Stoner, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and former president of the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association.
The National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System relies on state and local public health departments to collect and report data on chlamydia to the CDC. Those public health departments depend on individual physicians, hospitals, and laboratories to report cases of chlamydia to them. Accurate statistics require all parties to routinely comply with disease-reporting mandates.
What Is The Treatment For Chlamydia
Antibiotics can easily cure chlamydia. Treatment options are the same, whether a person also has HIV or not.
Patients treated with single-dose antibiotics should not have sex for seven days. Patients treated with a seven-day course of antibiotics should not have sex until they complete treatment, and their symptoms are gone. This helps prevent spreading the infection to sex partners. It is important to take all medicine prescribed to cure chlamydia. Medicine should not be shared with anyone. Although treatment will cure the infection, it will not repair any long-term damage done by the disease. If a persons symptoms continue for more than a few days after receiving treatment, a healthcare provider should reevaluate them.
Repeat infection with chlamydia is common.49 Women whose sex partners do not receive appropriate treatment are at high risk for re-infection. Having multiple chlamydial infections increases a womans risk of serious reproductive health problems .50,51A healthcare provider should retest those with chlamydia about three months after treatment of an initial infection. Retesting is necessary even if their partners receive successful treatment.40
Infants with chlamydia may develop conjunctivitis and/or pneumonia.10 Healthcare providers can treat infection in infants with antibiotics.
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How Often Should I Get Checked For Chlamydia
Sexual health check-ups are recommended for anyone who is sexually active. Frequency of testing also depends on your STI risk:
- An annual sexual health check-up is highly recommended if you are sexually active especially if you are under 25.
- Get checked more often during the year if you frequently change sexual partners.
- Remember, you are at greater risk if you have sex without a condom with 1 or multiple sexual partners.
How Does Chlamydia Affect A Pregnant Person And Their Baby
In newborns, untreated chlamydia can cause:
- ophthalmia neonatorum ,
Prospective studies show that chlamydial conjunctivitis and pneumonia occur in 18-44% and 3-16%, respectively, of infants born to those with chlamydia. 9-12 Neonatal prophylaxis against gonococcal conjunctivitis routinely performed at birth does not effectively prevent chlamydial conjunctivitis.37-39
- All pregnant people under age 25 and
- All pregnant people 25 years and older at increased risk for chlamydia .
Retest those with infection four weeks and three months after they complete treatment.40
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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.