Chlamydia and all you need to know about it
Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease caused by bacteria and can cause infection in women and men. It does not display signs and symptoms at an early age. If not treated, Chlamydia can lead to serious health complications. Regular screening and consultations with health practitioners on Chlamydia are highly recommended to help detect the disease early.
How is chlamydia spread?
First, it is important to note that Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). It can spread when a person with no chlamydia has vaginal, oral, or anal sex with someone who has Chlamydia. Chlamydia can spread to another person during sexual intercourse, whether the partner ejaculates or not.
Also, pregnant women with Chlamydia can infect their newly-born babies during childbirth. The infection of the newly-born baby can cause pneumonia or eye infection in the baby. Chlamydia can also make pregnant women deliver the baby early.
What are the preventive measures for Chlamydia?
The surest way of not contracting Chlamydia is to avoid having vaginal, oral, or anal sex because it is a sexually transmitted disease.
However, sexually active people can take the following preventive measures to lower their chances of contracting the disease:
- Be faithful to your partner who has tested and does not have Chlamydia.
- Do safe sex using condoms every time you are having sex.
- Limiting the number of sexual partners.
- Undertaking regular screening.
- Avoiding sex until treatment is complete.
- For pregnant women with Chlamydia get the right treatment from the doctor.
- For pregnant women who do not know their chlamydia status, ensure you test for Chlamydia during the first prenatal visit. When it is found that you have the disease, the doctor will prescribe the correct treatment for you before delivering the baby.
- Avoid sharing sex toys, and if you have to share, ensure you wash them thoroughly between each use and cover them with condoms.
It is also reported that sexually active young persons are at high risk of contracting Chlamydia because there are many biological and behavioral factors among young people. And the fact that Chlamydia can spread through anal and oral sex, gay and bisexual men are at high risk of contracting the disease.
However, it is not possible to spread Chlamydia through the following means:
- Sneezes or coughs
- Sharing a swimming pool
- Sharing sauna
- Being in contact with a person who has Chlamydia
- Getting into contact with an object touched by a person with Chlamydia.
- Living or staying with a person infected by Chlamydia.
Signs and symptoms of Chlamydia
Chlamydia usually does not show any symptoms, particularly during its early stage. Still, it can lead to serious health complications even without symptoms, which is why it is referred to as the “silent infection.”
Chlamydia can cause the following symptoms in some people:
- A burning sensation while urinating or when peeing.
- Abnormal discharge from the vagina or penis
However, some symptoms of Chlamydia vary slightly for women and men, as shown below.
Women who have chlamydia symptoms may experience the following:
- A burning sensation when peeing or urinating
- Bleeding between periods
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Inflammation of the cervicitis
- An abnormal vaginal discharge
Men who have chlamydia symptoms may experience the following:
- A discharge from their penis
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- A burning sensation when urinating or peeing
- Green or yellow discharge from the penis
- Pain and swelling in one or both testicles
Another common aspect of Chlamydia in men and women is that both sexes can get it in their rectum contracted through receptive anal sex or spread through infected sexual parts such as the vagina.
The infections in the rectum usually have no symptoms but can lead to:
- Rectal pain
With Chlamydia being a “silent infection,” everyone needs to be on high alert and should visit a healthcare expert anytime they experience the following symptoms for proper chlamydia testing and examination.
- A smelly discharge
- Bleeding between periods
- Burning when urinating
- Excessive sore.
A person who suspects they have Chlamydia needs to visit doctors for testing, examination, and treatment to avoid long-term health complications such as ectopic pregnancy and infertility.
Doctors prescribe antibiotics for chlamydia treatment such as Doxycycline, Ofloxacin, and Azithromycin. For pregnant women with Chlamydia, a doctor would prescribe either amoxicillin or erythromycin.
Some of the adverse impacts of these antibiotics include abdominal pain, vaginal thrush, diarrhea, and nausea, while doxycycline can accelerate skin rashes. Generally, the side effects of antibiotics are mild.
Besides the antibiotic treatments, home remedies for Chlamydia may also be explored. Some of the effective home remedies are: goldenseal, a medicinal plant that reduces inflammation, hence limiting chlamydia symptoms, and Echinacea, a medicinal plant that may help reduce the symptoms by boosting the immune system.
As not known to many, Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease. Without treatment, it leads to several health consequences. Therefore, it is advisable to seek regular testing and examination for any possible treatment when present.