I’m aware that many of us have never heard of this sexually transmitted disease. We are all familiar with HIV/AIDS, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and others but not many know about Chlamydia.
What on earth is Chlamydia again?
Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can be easily cured. If left untreated, chlamydia can make it difficult for a woman to get pregnant.
Chlamydia is a common STD that can infect both men and women. It can cause serious, permanent damage to a woman's reproductive system, making it difficult or impossible for her to get pregnant later on.
Chlamydia can also cause a potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that occurs outside the womb). This infection is easily spread because it often causes no symptoms and may be unknowingly passed to sexual partners. In fact, about 75% of infections in women and 50% in men are without symptoms.
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 (cum).
If you’ve had chlamydia and were treated in the past, you can still get infected again if you have unprotected sex with someone who has chlamydia.
If you are pregnant, you can give chlamydia to your baby during childbirth.
How Do I Know if I Have Chlamydia?
It is not easy to tell if you are infected with chlamydia since symptoms are not always apparent. And this is always one of the most serious aspect because the disease would have done much damage before it is discovered. But when they do occur, they are usually noticeable within one to three weeks of contact and can include the following:
Chlamydia symptoms in women
- Abnormal vaginal discharge that may have an odor
- Bleeding between periods
- Painful periods
- Abdominal pain with fever
- Pain when having sex
- Itching or burning in or around the vagina
- Pain when urinating
Chlamydia symptoms in men
- Small amounts of clear or cloudy discharge from the tip of the penis
- Painful urination
- Burning and itching around the opening of the penis
- Pain and swelling around the testicles
How To Diagnose Chlamydia
At the hospital the doctor will ask you some questions about your sexual activities, such as if you have had multiple partners recently, and if you use condoms. You will also likely be asked about what you have been feeling. If you do not have any symptoms, your doctor may ask why you believe you might have this disease.
The only way you can surely know if what you have is chlamydia apart from the signs and symptoms is by running a test in the laboratory.The tests will reveal the exact organism causing whatever problems you have and in case of chlamydia, appropriate measures will be taken.
A urine test will be taken. You may also have your cervix swabbed if you are female, while your urethra, where urine flows from, may be swabbed if you are male. If there is a chance the chlamydia is in your rectum or throat, these areas may be swabbed, as well.
Swabbing means using a special stick padded with sterile cotton or gauze to take a sample of the suspected area to test the presence of an organism. Its not always a painful procedure.
A pregnant woman who has the disease can transmit it to her unborn child during delivery and this could cause pneumonia or eye infection. Due to the fragile nature of the newborn and their immunity level, serious exposure to harmful organisms can fatally affect them. Gonorrhea causes blindness in the newborn if mother was infected before or during pregnancy.
Chlamydia infection in the mother can also cause premature delivery hence if you have it, ensure that you discuss with your doctor early enough for measures to save you and the baby from serious health complications.
Chlamydia can be treated when detected. Ensure that all the drugs given for it is taken as ordered and also report any uncomfortable reactions to the doctor. The disease is caused by microorganism hence you are definitely going to be taking antibiotics, to be prescribed by your doctor.
Just like every other sexually transmitted infections, Chlamydia can be prevented by been faithful to a single uninfected spouse. If you suspect any infection, it’s usually better that both of you get treated to avoid reinfection and chronicity which will increase the chances of serious complications.
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