Chlamydia is a bacterial infection caused by sexual intercourse with multiple partners. It is considered to be one of the Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) and is common for men who are sexually active. It is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis which spreads from one partner to another. Men who have intercourse with prostitutes are at higher risk of getting this infection than others. The symptoms of this disease are yellowish discharge from penis, burning and itching sensation while urinating. The testicles would also become tender and painful if infected with bacteria. The symptom of Chlamydia is very much like that of gonorrhea in women.
In women, generally Chlamydia is asymptomatic. But for some women, there may be rectal pain or whitish discharge between periods. The genital organs may burn while urination. There may be mild to moderate pain in the vagina while having sex. The doctor would examine the fluid discharge to confirm the bacterial infection. In women your doctor will collect cervical secretion and test it for the presence of Chlamydia.
The disease can be treated easily with right dosage of antibiotics. Tetracycline, erythromycin and azithromycin are prescribed for treating Chlamydia infection. Sometimes infectious diseases like gonorrhea may cause Chlamydia in women. There is every chance for passing of infection through sexual intercourse to your partner. Hence it is necessary to check the partner once you are diagnosed to have this infection. You should take the prescribed drugs as per the recommended dosage to avoid further infection.
What Is Chlamydia?
Chlamydia trachomatis is the name of gram negative bacterium which causes most common sexually transmitted diseases. People infected with this species generally may not develop any signs and hence it is difficult to diagnose. Chlamydia can infect both men and women of any age and is more particularly infecting teenagers of the USA. Unprotected sex is the main cause for transmission of Chlamydia. Every year about 2-2.5 million people are diagnosed with Chlamydia, majority of which are below 25 years. Tests for diagnosing Chlamydia infection is regular screening tests and urine culture. In some cases the doctor may test the swab of cervix for identifying the bacteria. This infection can be treated easily with a course of antibiotics.
Chlamydia Symptoms :
Very often people affected with Chlamydia infection may not develop any signs and they are unaware of it. People with known symptoms may experience burning pain while urinating, pus like discharge from the vagina or penis, pain during and after intercourse. Painful discharge can occur from the anus or rectum also in both men and women. For some women this infection can cause spotting between periods and stomach cramps. In men it can cause swelling and pain in the testicles. If you are having any of the above signs, and you are not sure whether you are infected, it is better to check with your doctor.
Chlamydia Causes :
Chlamydia trachomatis is the organism that causes sexual infection. It belongs to the genus Chlamydia and is a gram negative one. Chlamydia infection spreads only through sex either through genital contacts or by oral sex.
Transmission Can Occur In 3 Ways :
- Exchange of fluids by sexual intercourse (from men to women and vice versa)
- Exchange of fluids by oral sex
- Fluid exchange through anal sex
- No Need For Penetration :
You can get Chlamydia infection from your partner (who is infected) just by touching his/her genitals with yours without penetration or having orgasm. Chlamydia infection can spread by sharing sex toys (not washed properly) of infected partner or partners.
- Eye Problems :
Sometimes you may accidentally touch your eyes with your fingers coated with infected vaginal fluid or semen which can seriously affect your vision. The worst part of Chlamydia infection is it affects pregnant women very seriously by spreading the infection to the newborn making him/her prone to develop pneumonia or eye infection.
Ways Chlamydia Cannot Spread :
If you are having casual contact with the infected person (s) like kissing, hugging, sharing bath towels, bath-tubs, clothing, toilet seats and other items. It can spread through exchange of saliva or vaginal fluids or semen of infected partner.
How Far It Is Serious?
Among many other sexually transmitted diseases, Chlamydia infection is moderately serious. The first thing is it may not cause any visible signs or symptoms in many people and there is every chance for not identifying or diagnosing it. It is necessary to start prompt treatment for Chlamydia, failing which it can spread to many parts of your body causing more complications like pelvic inflammatory disease, or swelling of testicles and even infertility in men. In some people it can lead to reactive arthritis in both men and women.
Pictures of Chlamydia :
Images, pictures and Photos of Chlamydia
Who Are At Risk?
Adolescents and teenagers who are below 24 years are at high risk of Chlamydia since they don’t bother about the consequences and often they are unaware.
- People who are sexually active and having many sex partners.
- People who are not having safe sex (without using condom)
- People who already had one or more sexual infection earlier
- As per the recommendation of CDC all boys and girls (who are sexually active) below 24 years should go for yearly screening or after having sex with new partner.
Chlamydia Complications :
Untreated Chlamydia can lead to many serious problems which are given below :
- Inviting More Trouble – If you are infected with Chlamydia you are more likely for many other sexually transmitted diseases than others.
- PID – Chlamydia infection, if left untreated, can infect the fallopian tubes and the uterus causing pelvic pain and serious problem like pelvic inflammatory disease requiring hospitalization.
- Epididymitis – Men may develop swelling of testicles causing intense pain on the scrotal bag with fever. It may even spread to prostate gland causing fever, chills, lower back pain and burning pain when urinating.
- Newborns – Infection can spread through the vaginal canal to the growing fetus causing pneumonia in the newborns.
- Infertility – In severe cases, Chlamydia can cause permanent block in the fallopian tubes leading to infertility.
In many cases Chlamydia may get unnoticed and identified during screening tests. Your doctor may request for urine test for identifying Chlamydia infection. She may take swab sample from the fluid discharge of your cervix by Pap smear test. For men also swab sample is taken from the urethra for testing in the lab. Most of the sexual clinics will do Chlamydia test for free and keep it confidential. National Chlamydia Screening Program is organized in many pharmacies, clinics and even in colleges for men/women who are below 25 years.
Chlamydia Treatment :
An antibiotic is the first line treatment for any kind of bacterial infection. You need to follow the instructions of the doctor in completing the course of medications. You will be given antibiotics for a week or more depending on the intensity of infection. Chlamydia infection will get resolved within a week in most of the cases. However you should not have any kind of sexual activity once you are diagnosed with Chlamydia. Your partner (s) should also be tested for Chlamydia infection even they don’t show any visible symptoms. There are cases that get infected again after taking treatment, by having unsafe sex with multiple partners. Getting Chlamydia once does not guarantee you any immunity for future.
Tips For Prevention :
- Sexually active person is at high risk of Chlamydia infection.
- Avoid having sex with several partners, particularly new person.
- Always use condoms while having sex with strangers.
- Do not share sex toys with others.
- Do not postpone getting treatment once you are diagnosed with Chlamydia and abstain yourself totally from sexual pleasure until you are completely cured.
- Go for regular screening tests if you are sexually active person.
- Avoid vaginal douching since it can destroy good bacteria present in the vagina making you prone to develop infection.