In recent times, Chlamydia is one of the very common STI or sexually transmitted infections. The bacteria named Chlamydia trachomatis causes it. This bacterium is responsible for most number of genital and eye infections in humans. As per the national survey, the number of people having this disease only in United States is estimated to be more than 1 million. This infection targets the cells of mucous membranes that are moist and are not covered by skin. Many parts of human body can be infected, such as:
- surfaces of the endometrium ,urethra, vagina, and cervix
- the lining of the eyelid
- the anus and rectum
- the fallopian tubes
- the throat
Just like any other sexual diseases, people with this infection, do prefer to keep it hidden, because of fear of being socially stigmatized. Many even hesitate to consult a doctor, and that only worsens the infection. They often fall prey to depression and inferiority complex, which can very well snowball into psychological disorder! Chlamydia is treatable, but how do you know if you have Chlamydia? Read further to know the answer.
How To Know If You Have Chlamydia?
At first we need to understand, how does this disease spread? Chlamydia trachomatis can be spread through sexual encounter, during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Even if one does not engage in sexual intercourse but is exposed to body fluid of an infected person, they can be infected by these bacteria. Even though it is very rare, but the possibility cannot be ruled out. A newborn can also get infected from his/her mother during childbirth.
This disease could spread easily by contact such as sharing the same towel, and by other means – sneezing, coughing and through insects (eye-seeking flies). The symptoms of Chlamydia are common for both men and women. They are as follows:
- One of the most common symptoms is experiencing inflammation in rectum, which is known as proctitis.
- Inflammation in Urethra or urethritis.
- Inflamed and swollen eyelids, which is called conjunctivitis. It used to be the most common cause of blindness in the past.
- Redness in throat or having a sore throat can also be caused by this infection.
- In case of newborns it can turn into pneumonia.
Chlamydiae are also a causative factor for arthritis. This is known as reactive arthritis and more than fifteen hundred Americans develop this form of arthritis every year. It can affect men and women both, however men do have more chance of contracting reactive arthritis. This infection can also cause lymphogranuloma venereum, which is a medical condition of the lymph nodes. It may result in having ulcers in genitals or in the groin, swollen lymph nodes.
Symptoms indicative of Chlamydia in Women
In most of the cases, women infected, do not experience any symptoms. Even if they do, it may be minor. Symptoms may include:
- Bleeding in vagina
- Discharge from vagina
- Experiencing Inflammation in vagina
- Having a burning sensation during urination.
- Experiencing pain , while having sex
- Regular pain and uneasiness in the pelvic region or PID (Pelvic Inflammatory diseases)
- One might experience Profuse bleeding between menstrual periods If the bacterial infection spreads to the fallopian tubes, lower abdominal and lower back pain
- Fever, recurring cold, vomiting or nausea
Symptoms Indicative Of Chlamydia in Men
For men the symptoms might differ as such:
- Experiencing pain or burning sensation during urination
- Unusual discharge of purulent liquid from penis
- Formation of pus, or watery discharge from the penis
- Pain or swelling of the testicles, which may lead to epididymitis
If you happen to experience any of these symptoms, get yourself tested to see, whether you have contracted this infection. Over the period of last two decades, the diagnostic procedure has gone through a sea of change and there are very effective means available to trace this disease. NAAT (Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests), TMA (Transcription Mediated Amplification), SDA (Strand Displacement Amplification) and PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) are some of the tests that may be required. For NAAT, the swab specimens sampled from the cervix in case of women or from urethra in case of men are required.
Ever since NAAT has been introduced into medical science, the traditional practice of urine testing has been largely replaced. NAAT is reported to provide better test accuracy. In fact, specimen collection and management has become a lot easier as well. However, this test is relatively insensitive and can successfully detect 60% – 80% of infections in asymptomatic women. However, culture continues to remain useful in certain circumstances. In some case, culture is the only way out.
If you have been diagnosed with this infection, it should be treated immediately. Chlamydia can snowball into many complicated medical conditions such as Pelvic Inflammatory disease, which may lead to infertility in women. Cystitis of inflammation of the urinary bladder is another serious medical condition one might find himself in, if Chlamydia is not treated properly.
The best way to steer clear of this infection is definitely abstinence and monogamy. Maintaining personal hygiene and using a latex condom every time during sex can highly reduce the risk of infection.
These days medical science has come up with very effective treatment to cure Chlamydia. Most of the times people with infection also have gonorrhea and so the treatment has to be modified. Mere Chlamydia can easily be cured with antibiotics in its early stage. The medications most widely used to treat this disease are ofloxacin, doxycycline, azithromycin or erythromycin. However, in case of pregnant women the commonly used drugs can have ill effects for the fetus. In such scenarios, medicines like amoxicillin and erythromycin are administered.
There is another option of treatment available known as patient-delivered partner therapy, where the sexual partners of patient are also treated.
As we can see, treatment for Chlamydia is available. If you suffer from infection, it does not mean that you are promiscuous by nature. Anyone could get this infection. See a doctor and get treatment, before it is too late.
It is better to go for treatment at the first stages of observation. The infection can get cured easily and you will have minimum expenses. Prolonging the treatment may have disastrous consequences and the expense might scale according to severity of problem.
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