How Does Evidence Fit With Biological Understanding
Chlamydial and gonococcal infections are often asymptomatic in women. Untreated infections may progress to PID-related complications such as chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy, or infertility. Infections may also be transmitted to sex partners and newborn children. Accurate screening tests and effective antibiotic treatments are available for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
In men, gonococcal infections are more commonly symptomatic compared with women. Serious complications from infection are less common in men.
Studies on assessing risk and for whom screening may be most effective are a high priority.
The CDC recommends annual chlamydia and gonorrhea testing in all sexually active women younger than 25 years and in older women at increased risk of infection . It also recommends screening for both infections in pregnant women younger than 25 years and in older pregnant women at increased risk for infection during their first prenatal visit and again during their third trimester if risk remains high.16
The American Academy of Family Physicians follows the 2014 USPSTF chlamydia and gonorrhea screening recommendations.58 The American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations align with the CDC guidelines.59
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:
Can A Chlamydia Infection Come Back After Sex
If you did, its likely your new symptoms are due to chlamydia or other sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea and trichomonas infection. After chlamydia treatment, boosting your sexual health and minimizing the number of persons you have unprotected intercourse with, is vital to prevent reinfection. 3.
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Sex Partners Need Treatment Too
If you are diagnosed with chlamydia, you will need to tell all of your sexual partners, because they will need the same treatment you are receiving.
In most states, a doctor or other healthcare provider can give you the medicine that your partner or partners will need to take. Then you can deliver it to those partners. This practice is called expedited partner therapy or patient delivered partner therapy.
These options can help a lot if your partner doesnt have a healthcare provider or feels embarrassed about seeking care, says Dr. Dombrowski.
Its natural to feel nervous or upset about having to tell your partner or partners about having an STD. Your healthcare provider can help with this problem. They may even rehearse the conversation with you, says Dombrowksi.
Learning about chlamydia and seeking advice from a healthcare provider about how to discuss it with your partner can help you handle the conversation with less anxiety and more confidence.
Remember, chlamydia is not just common: It is the most common infection reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . You are being helpful, mature, and responsible by telling your partners.
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Infant Pneumonia Caused By C Trachomatis
Chlamydial pneumonia among infants typically occurs at age 13 months and is a subacute pneumonia. Characteristic signs of chlamydial pneumonia among infants include a repetitive staccato cough with tachypnea and hyperinflation and bilateral diffuse infiltrates on a chest radiograph. In addition, peripheral eosinophilia occurs frequently. Because clinical presentations differ, all infants aged 13 months suspected of having pneumonia, especially those whose mothers have a history of, are at risk for , or suspected of having a chlamydial infection should be tested for C. trachomatis and treated if infected.
Specimens for chlamydial testing should be collected from the nasopharynx. Tissue culture is the definitive standard diagnostic test for chlamydial pneumonia. Nonculture tests can be used. DFA is the only nonculture FDA-cleared test for detecting C. trachomatis from nasopharyngeal specimens however, DFA of nasopharyngeal specimens has a lower sensitivity and specificity than culture. NAATs are not cleared by FDA for detecting chlamydia from nasopharyngeal specimens, and clinical laboratories should verify the procedure according to CLIA regulations . Tracheal aspirates and lung biopsy specimens, if collected, should be tested for C. trachomatis.
Erythromycin base or ethylsuccinate 50 mg/kg body weight/day orally divided into 4 doses daily for 14 days
Azithromycin suspension 20 mg/kg body weight/day orally, 1 dose daily for 3 days
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Here Are The Most Typical Signs For Men:
- Pain when urinating
- White, cloudy, or clear discharge
- Itching and burning around or inside the opening on the tip of the penis
- Swollen and painful testicles
To get on-time treatment, its important to recognize the symptoms. Thats why we have decided to list both the signs for men and women. But, do have in mind that most of the signs dont actually mean you have chlamydia.
In fact, they can also be caused by other infections completely unrelated to chlamydia. Nevertheless, you must get tested if you do recognize the signs so you can avoid any unwanted health complications.
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 Prevent 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.
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.
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How Many Days Does It Take To Recover From Chlamydia
It can take up to two weeks to recover from a chlamydia infection. Most prescriptions last 7 to 14 days on average and chlamydia is typically cleared up at the end. However, you will likely have to be retested after 3 months to ensure you have recovered fully. If you have severe chlamydia it may take longer to recover and a hospital stay may be involved.
Drug Treatment Of Common Stds: Part I Herpes Syphilis Urethritis Chlamydia And Gonorrhea
CAROL WOODWARD, PHARM.D., West Virginia University Hospitals, Morgantown, West Virginia
MELANIE A. FISHER, M.D., M.SC., West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia
Am Fam Physician. 1999 Oct 1 60:1387-1394.
This is Part I of a two-part article on drug treatment of common sexually transmitted diseases. Part II, Vaginal Infections, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and Genital Warts, will appear in the next issue of AFP.
Several advances have been made in the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases . These advances have been incorporated into the 1998 Guidelines for the Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Diseases, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .1
Highly effective single-dose oral therapies are now available for most common curable STDs. Single-dose regimens may be used for the treatment of chancroid, nongonococcal urethritis, uncomplicated gonococcal infections, bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis, candidal vaginitis and chlamydial infections.
Improved therapies are now available for the treatment of genital herpes and human papillomavirus infections. New regimens have been approved for the use of acyclovir in the treatment of genital herpes. In addition, two new antiviral agents, valacyclovir and famciclovir , have been labeled for the treatment of genital herpes. Patient-applied therapies are now recommended for management of HPV.
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How Long Does It Take For Chlamydia To Go Away After Treatment
Chlamydia infection usually clears after one week of completing your antibiotic treatment. During treatment, you should avoid drinking alcohol as this can reduce how effective the antibiotic is.
You should also avoid having sex during treatment as you could still pass on the infection to your partner. It is common for partners to pass chlamydia between one another if they continue to have sex without completing their treatment, causing repeated infections.
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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What Are The Risks Of Chlamydia Infection
Untreated chlamydia can lead to many serious health conditions.
Women can develop pelvic inflammatory disease. This can lead to pelvic pain, complications with pregnancy, and fertility difficulties. Sometimes women become infertile from the effects of untreated chlamydia.
Men may develop inflammation of their testicles from untreated chlamydia and may also experience fertility issues.
Babies who acquire chlamydia during childbirth can develop pink eye and pneumonia. Its important for women to be treated for chlamydia during pregnancy to avoid spreading it to an infant.
Sexual behavior of any kind puts you at risk of contracting chlamydia. Some ways to reduce your chances of getting chlamydia include:
- refraining from sexual activity
How To Prevent Gonorrhea
Unfortunately, there are no drugs or vaccines that prevent gonorrhea. The best way to avoid gonorrhea is by employing safe sex practices, including the use of condoms. Getting a gonorrhea Infection does not protect you against future infections.
Gonorrhea is a common STI that is treatable. However, if you wait too long to get treatment, you run the risk of having serious complications, like scarring, PID, and possible future fertility issues. Know your STI status and encourage your sexual partner to do the same. Practicing safe sexual practices is the only way to prevent the transmission of gonorrhea.
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How Is Chlamydia Screening Done
A person can test for chlamydia at home or in the lab. They can take either a urine sample or a swab.
- Females can take a swab, place it in a container, and send it to a laboratory.
- Males will usually use a urine test.
A doctor can advise individuals on the best option. They may also recommend rectal or throat testing, especially for people who are living with HIV.
Home screening tests are available, but it is not always easy to do them correctly at home. A healthcare provider will usually recommend following up on any home tests by visiting a doctors office.
The person will likely need to provide a urine sample for a test to confirm a diagnosis. After treatment, they will need to retake the test to ensure that the treatment has worked.
If anyone wishes to try home testing, chlamydia screening test kits are available for purchase online.
How Do People Get Chlamydia
People get chlamydia by having sex with someone who has the infection. Chlamydia can still be transmitted even if a man does not ejaculate. People who have had chlamydia and have been treated can get infected again if they have sex with an infected person.
Chlamydia can be spread from an infected woman to her baby during childbirth.
How Easy Is It To Get Rid Of Chlamydia
It is relatively simple to get rid of chlamydia after receiving a diagnosis. The typical recovery time isnt much longer than two weeks for an average case. One of the largest hurdles for many patients comes with detecting chlamydia in the first place. This is why its important to regularly schedule STD screenings that include chlamydia and gonorrhea while sexually active with multiple partners.
Fever Blisters And Cold Sores Are Oral Herpes Too
Fever blisters and cold sores are just different names for oral herpes, and theyve been around for a very long time. Legend has it that in ancient Rome, the emperor Tiberius banned kissing at public events because of an outbreak of fever blisters. In other words, they even knew back then how contagious fever blisters are.
The best way to protect yourself is to avoid contact with a person who has a cold sore and refrain from sharing eating utensils, lip balm, and the like. Note that someone with oral herpes can give you genital herpes if they perform oral sex on you. Avoid kissing and oral sex when outbreaks are present.
There is no cure for fever blisters and no vaccine to prevent them, although research into preventing and treating them is ongoing. If you do get oral herpes, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain medication and topical anesthetics to relieve symptoms. Some people also choose to take antiviral medication to make cold sores go away faster.
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What Are The Treatments For Chlamydia
If you are diagnosed with chlamydia, your doctor will prescribe oral antibiotics. A single dose of azithromycin or taking doxycycline twice daily for 7 to 14 days are the most common treatments and are the same for those with or without HIV.
With treatment, the infection should clear up in about a week. Do not have sex for at least 7 days until you have taken all of your medication, and do not stop taking the antibiotics even if you feel better.
Your doctor will also recommend that your partner be treated as well to prevent reinfection and further spread of the disease.
Women with serious infections, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, may require a longer course of antibiotics or hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics. Some severe pelvic infections may require surgery in addition to antibiotic therapy.
Make sure you get retested after three months to be certain the infection is gone. Do this even if your partner has been treated and appears to be infection free.