Chlamydia and how common it is
Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection. Sexually transmitted infections are also known as sexually-transmitted diseases. Chlamydia is classified as a sexually transmitted infection because of the bacteria in it called Chlamydia trachomatis. In the United States, Chlamydia is the most common such the transmitted infection that is reported. Young women, unfortunately, are the ones who get this infection the most. Woman can actually get Chlamydia multiple times. This just means that they can get “reinfected”. This usually happens if they have different partners that do not get treated or the same partner that doesn’t get treated. It’s important to get medical treatment if you suspect that you have Chlamydia because of the serious health problems that it could cause.
How does one get Chlamydia?
You could get infected from Chlamydia by vaginal, oral, and anal sex with someone who is infected by Chlamydia already. Some people don’t even know that they have Chlamydia because often times it will show no symptoms. Of course, you are at higher risk of contracting this sexually-transmitted infection if you have a higher amount of sex partners. If you were to get pregnant and have Chlamydia, you can pass this on to your child during birth. If you were to pass this on to your child, you are risking your child to catch pneumonia or get infection in their eyes.
Symptoms of Chlamydia
There are many different signs and symptoms of Chlamydia but this could also mean that you have a different sexually-transmitted infection. So, you should always get your doctor’s advice so you can get the right treatment. The common symptoms of Chlamydia are as follows:
- burning when you pass urine
- abnormal discharge; vaginal
- lower back pain
- abdominal pain; lower
- bleeding between periods
- pain during sexual intercourse
Symptoms for men are:
- burning when you pass urine
- pain and swelling within the testicles
- discharge from your penis
- burning and itching around opening of penis
Chlamydia can also infect your throat if you have had oral sex with someone who is infected with Chlamydia. As stated above, some people don’t even realize they have Chlamydia due to the lack of symptoms so it’s not often diagnosed or even treated until the problem show up. If you think that you might have Chlamydia, you should see your doctor right away. You should also do this even if you don’t have any symptoms at the moment.
A doctor can usually diagnose Chlamydia using a swab test or a urine test.
Health problems resulting from Chlamydia
if you leave Chlamydia untreated, there are numerous health conditions that can arise. They are the following:
Infertility – Chlamydia can scar the fallopian tubes and keep eggs from being able to get fertilized. This means you will not be able to get pregnant.
Pelvic inflammatory disease – this disease occurs because the bacteria from Chlamydia can infect the cells of the cervix. The bacteria will then spread to the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and uterus. Pelvic inflammatory disease is very common and occurs and 40% of woman that do not get Chlamydia treated.
Chronic pelvic pain – this is an ongoing pain nice from scar tissue
Tubal/ectopic pregnancy – this type of pregnancy happens when a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus. If you suspect that you have this type of pregnancy, you should see your doctor right away.
HIV – women who have had Chlamydia are more likely to get HIV.
Be faithful– If you only have one sex partner, you are less at risk for developing Chlamydia than someone who has multiple sexual partners.
Abstinence- Of course, the most effective way to not get Chlamydia or any STI’s is to avoid having sex.
Using condoms correctly- It’s beneficial you are using condoms the right way. This is because if you don’t, you are increasing your risk for Chlamydia.
Only condoms and abstinence will work- Birth control pills will not help at all to protect one from contracting Chlamydia or any other STI’s. The only beneficial way to avoid this STI is condoms.
Get Tested– If you or your partner have had previous sexual partners, you should both get tested. This will dramatically reduce your chances of becoming affected with Chlamydia or any other STI
Regular Exams– It’s beneficial for you to get a regular exam done by your doctor. Even if you think you are healthy, you should still get one done as often as your doctor recommends. It’s better to be safe than sorry as usually with Chlamydia, it’s common to not get any symptoms.
Compliments of Kshamica Nimalasuriya MD, MPH
Preventive Medicine & Public Health