Can You Get Pregnant If You Have Chlamydia
Sexual health plays an important role in fertility. Many STDs can cause scarring and inflammation, making it more difficult to conceive, even after the infection has been treated.
In the case of chlamydia, the infection can damage your reproductive health, if left untreated. The bacteria can cause PID which can do permanent damage to your reproductive system. PID can lead to inflammation, scarring, and blockage in your reproductive organs. In some cases, it can also cause ectopic pregnancy which can be deadly if the pregnancy isnt removed in time.
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Changes In The Vaginal Discharge
Women may face discharge when affected with Chlamydia and it happens due to the presence of infection at the uterine cervix. You will find this discharge either yellow or milky white in color. It also leads to burning sensation at the time of urination.
Some studies show that Chlamydia infection can also cause troubles to urethra while leading to urinary tract infection that causes pain at the time of urination. A person may also feel frequent urges for urination. When this chlamydia in women symptoms are ignored too long then the infection may get spread towards fallopian tubes via the cervix.
In this case, following additional symptoms are observed:
- Bleeding or pain while having sex.
- Spotting in between periods.
- Some kind of heaviness can be felt by the person around hips.
- It may also lead to lower back pain or abdominal pain.
What Are Sexually Transmitted Infections Or Diseases
Sexually transmitted infections are also commonly called sexually transmitted diseases . They are the infections you get from another person through sexual contact. According to the CDC, there are more than 20 known types of STDs/STIs. In addition, over 20 million people in the United States are infected each year. About half of these people are age 15-24. Luckily, most STDs can be treated and cured.
How do you know if you have one? What is the best treatment? The information here should help answer these questions.
How do the male reproductive organs work?
The male reproductive system is specialized for the following functions:
- To produce, maintain and transport sperm and protective fluid
- To discharge sperm within the female reproductive tract
- To produce and secrete male sex hormones
The male reproductive anatomy includes external structures which include the:
The male reproductive anatomy includes internal structures which include the:
- Vas Deferens
How do the female reproductive organs work?
During menopause the female reproductive system gradually stops making the female hormones necessary for the reproductive cycle to work. At this point, menstrual cycles can become irregular and eventually stop. One year after menstrual cycles stop, the woman is considered to be menopausal.
The female reproductive anatomy includes both external and internal structures.
- Labia Majora
The female reproductive anatomy includes internal structures which include the:
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How Common Is Chlamydia
In the United States, chlamydia infection rates are on the rise, making chlamydia the most commonly reported sexually transmitted infection in the country. In 2016, almost 1.6 million cases of chlamydia were reported to the Centers for Disease Control .
In the U.S., women are about twice as likely to be reported to have chlamydia as men. However, this is likely due to screening practices, since women are often screened during their annual pelvic exams. Men do not generally have similar annual screenings of their reproductive organs.
Since women are more likely to be asymptomatic, the number of people who actually have chlamydia could be even higher. Also, as testing becomes more sensitive and screening becomes more common and available, this trend is expected to continue to rise.
People aged 15 to 25 years old make up almost two thirds of all chlamydia cases reported in 2016 to the CDC . More specifically, up to 1 in 20 sexually active young women aged 14-24 could have chlamydia in the US .
Outside of the US, chlamydia is also very common. In 2012, the worldwide estimate of chlamydia infections was around 131 million new cases of chlamydia per year . This number is close to that of the entire population of Japan.
Who Should Get Tested For Chlamydia
Because chlamydia is very common and often has no symptoms, anyone who is sexually active should think about being tested. Because chlamydia is very common among young women, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend sexually active women age 25 or younger get tested once per year. Chlamydia testing is also recommended for women with new or multiple sexual partners and pregnant women.
Anyone who is sexually active should talk with a healthcare provider about whether they need testing for chlamydia or other STIs. Dont be afraid to speak openly about your sex life, as you can get the best care by having an honest discussion with your healthcare provider.
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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.
Causes Of Chlamydia In Women
The very first thing that you need to understand about this sexually transmitted disease is the causes that lead to its symptoms. This information is essential not only to avail right treatment rather it also assists in disease prevention. As already discussed, Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease that finds its way behind a bacteria Chlamydia Trachomatis. Now, as it is not caused by a virus so the disease can spread from one affected person to another healthy body only when a direct contact is established. This disease can affect both males as well as females.
Chlamydia trachomatis microscopy magnification 3D illustration
Chlamydia use to have a direct effect on the reproductive system of teens or adults and its major impact is noticed on people that are sexually active. As per medical professionals, Chlamydia targets mucous membranes inside the human body and it happens only when a person makes a direct contact with an infected partner via oral, anal or vaginal sex.
Reports reveal that this disease can also be transferred from infected mother to her new born child, where the major symptoms are recognized in form of pneumonia or eye infection in the infant. Some of you might be interested to know that why Chlamydia affects young adults in most of the cases the reason behind is that in their body, the uterus opening is in process of maturity so it is not capable enough to resists against bacterial transmission.
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Recognizing The Symptoms In The Genital Region
What Does Chlamydia Feel Like
In women, chlamydia usually infects the cervix first, causing cervicitis or inflammation of the cervix. Cervicitis can cause feelings of pain, irritation, or a vaginal discharge. Chlamydia bacteria can also irritate the urethrain both men and womenleading to urethritis, which is often signified by pain while urinating. In men, untreated chlamydia can also cause epididymitis, swelling in the tube in the back of the testicles, causing pain.
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Can Chlamydia Lie Dormant And Not Show Up On A Test
A significant number of men do not typically show symptoms for STDs such as chlamydia although they are very capable of spreading the disease. Even though they are generally asymptomatic or dormant, they will still test positive for the STD. Most STDs that are in a dormant stage can be detected with a test.
Why Is Azithromycin Not A Chlamydia Treatment Anymore
The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV recently released guidelines explaining that Azithromycin is no longer an effective treatment for chlamydia. This is because of increasing levels of bacterial resistance to azithromycin. Instead, the recommended first-line treatment is now only doxycycline.
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What Are The Potential Complications
If treated in time, chlamydia causes no lasting concerns. Untreated chlamydia can lead to complications as the infection spreads to other areas of the body.
Untreated chlamydia may cause sexually-acquired reactive arthritis, which includes skin, eye and joint problems. It is also associated with a higher chance of getting HIV.
In women, complications may include difficulty getting pregnant, ectopic or tubal pregnancy or pelvic inflammatory disease . See HealthLinkBC File #08c Pelvic Inflammatory Disease for more information.
In men, complications may include an infection in the testicles, which can lead to infertility.
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
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
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.
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What Chlamydia Can Feel Like
Only 10% of men and 530% of women who test positive will develop symptoms of chlamydia. When chlamydia does cause symptoms or health problems, it is known as a sexually transmitted disease .
In women, chlamydia usually infects the cervix first, causing cervicitis or inflammation of the cervix, which often leads to pain, irritation, or a vaginal discharge. Left untreated, chlamydia can spread to the cervix, uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes, causing abdominal pain or pelvic pain and pelvic inflammatory disease . .
In men and women, chlamydia bacteria can irritate the urethra and lead to urethritis which causes a burning sensation with urination and discharge. Untreated chlamydia can also cause epididymitis in men. Epididymitis is swelling in the tube in the back of the testicles, causing pain or soreness .
Chlamydia can infect the eyes in both men and women, causing chlamydial conjunctivitis with corresponding redness, infection, and discharge. Chlamydia can also infect the rectum, either through anal sex or the spread of bacteria from the cervix or vagina. This might produce pain, discharge, bleeding, or no symptoms at all .
Before 2003, LGV was mainly found in tropical and subtropical regions of the world and considered rare in developed nations. However, recent outbreaks illustrate that rates are rising in both the United States and Europe, especially in men who have sex with men .
Complications Of Chlamydia In Males
When left untreated chlamydia can lead to other conditions and symptoms. In men, chlamydia infection can lead to the inflammation of the testicles and the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles . If you develop this complication you may experience:
- Swelling or a lump in the testicle
- Discharge from the penis
- Difficulty urinating or needing to urinate more often
- Later on, problems with fertility
Untreated chlamydia can also cause sexually acquired reactive arthritis , which can lead to:
- Pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints
- Pain and redness in the eyes
- Pain when urinating
Inflammation of the testicles and epididymis can usually be treated with antibiotics. SARA cannot be cured, it normally clears up on its own within a few months, but it is prone to recurrences. SARA occurs 10 times more frequently in men than women.
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What Increases Your Risk
Risk factors for getting chlamydia include:
- Having unprotected sex .
- Having more than one sex partner.
- Having a high-risk partner or partners. This includes people who have more than one sex partner or sex partners who have chlamydia.
- Starting sexual activity before age 18.
Any child with chlamydia needs to be seen by a doctor to determine the cause and to assess for possible sexual abuse. For more information, see the topic Child Abuse and Neglect.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider
When it comes to chlamydia, its a good idea to be proactive. Speak with your healthcare provider about your risks of infection. Make a plan to get screened regularly for STIs based on your providers recommendations for how often you should be tested. Make an appointment with your healthcare provider if your partner tests positive for chlamydia or if you notice any signs or symptoms that you may be infected.
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Treating Chlamydia In Women
Doctors use antibiotics to treat bacterial infections like chlamydia. Antibiotics cure chlamydia infections in women but can’t heal existing damage from the bacteria. Damage to your reproductive organs is not reversible.
Finish your antibiotic prescription. Your doctor prescribes a dosage based on your individual needs. Do not share a prescription antibiotic with your partner if you both have chlamydia.
Chlamydia Causes Infertility In Women
Chlamydia in women is a common cause of infertility. When a woman gets infected, the infection affects the cervix first . If the condition is not treated, the chlamydia bacteria can spread to the fallopian tubes and ovaries. It’s believed, that chlamydia causes damage to the hairs lining the fallopian tubes, which help guide the egg from the ovaries to the womb. This damage leads to scarring, causing the tubes to become blocked. The blockage of the fallopian tubes can result in permanent infertility.
In some cases, women who have suffered scarring due to chlamydia are still able to conceive. However, they may be at risk of an ectopic pregnancy . Ectopic pregnancies can be very dangerous for the mother and need to be diagnosed as quickly as possible to prevent dangerous complications. Regular chlamydia testing and the use of condoms are important steps in preventing chlamydia and all possible complications in women.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Chlamydia In Women
The symptoms of Chlamydia in women are rarely noticeable. Professionals reveal that among a huge number of patients, only 30% females show symptoms related to this disease and rest all suffer from silent infection. In case if symptoms of the disease are present in the body then the person will notice them within 3 weeks right from their occurrence.
Some of the major symptoms associated with Chlamydia disease are: