Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis.Chlamydia is the most common STI in the US, affecting both sexes, although young women are more at risk. The basic Chlamydia symptoms are often mild, or non-existent, making detection of the infection very difficult.
If left untreated, Chlamydia can have serious complications in the long-term. It is estimated that 40 percent of women who have untreated Chlamydia may develop pelvic inflammatory disease. This is a condition that results ingenital organs being permanently damaged. The results may be long-term pain and infertility.
In women, Chlamydia symptoms can be very non-specific. They can include:
- Vaginal discharge
- Pain or a burning sensation when passing urine
- Bleeding between periods
- Pain during sex
- Bleeding after sex
- Abdominal pain
While each of these indicates something is not right, the causes are many. That’s why educating people as to the main Chlamydia symptoms is so important.
Men aren’t immune to the infection, or the long-term ramifications of not having it treated.Chlamydia symptoms in men can often manifest as:
- Pus-like discharge from the penis
- Pain when passing urine
- Pain and swelling in the testicles.
Again, it is also possible for men with Chlamydia to be completely asymptomatic. Infection is often identified while being tested for other things.
Diagnosis and Testing
As Chlamydia symptoms aren’t always obvious, proper testing doesn’t always happen in time. If however, symptoms are evident, testing and diagnosis is quick and (mostly) painless.
Testing involves a swab or a urine sample that will be sent for analysis. If the infection is detected then a course of drugs will be prescribed to treat the infection. As Chlamydia is caused by bacteria, antibiotic drugs are eminently useful here.
A woman can provide a urine sample, which is sent to a laboratory for testing. Alternatively a swab can be taken from the vagina. Results for the chlamydia test are usually available within a week, though this can vary depending on location.
Men can provide either a urine sample or a swab from the opening of the urethra at the tip of the penis. The urine test is an easier and much less painful procedure, but is slightly less reliable than a swab.
Treatment of Chlamydia Symptoms
The treatment will be either a dose of high-strength antibiotics in a single tablet or a course of them over a period of two weeks. Anyone who is allergic or resistant to antibiotics have other drug treatment options.
Treatment is straightforward with these types of antibiotics, but the main problem with Chlamydia is that it can be a silent infection. As we have discussed, Chlamydia symptoms aren’t always apparent, and the damage can be done before the infected person is aware of the problem.
Left untreated, Chlamydia can cause long-term problems such as infertility and pelvic pain. It can also propagate very quickly through new partners if safe sex isn’t practiced vigorously.
Everyone has a responsibility to keep themselves healthy, and to have regular sexual health screens. This is especially true of younger people and those who have multiple partners.