Chlamydia: Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention
In the United States, Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. This infection can spread very easily, as more often than not, it does not have symptoms. That is why those infected with Chlamydia spread it to their sexual partners unknowingly. The infection can occur in men and women.
Symptoms of Chlamydia
If you are infected with Chlamydia, it is quite tough to know, since the symptoms are not always obvious. However, if you get the symptoms, you will notice within one or three weeks of catching the infection.
Symptoms in Women:
Chlamydia symptoms in women are as follows:
- Unusual discharge from the vagina which could be malodorous
- Bleeding between menstrual periods
- Pain in the abdomen along with fever
- Painful menstrual periods
- Pain while having sex
- Pain while urinating
- Burning and/or itching in the vagina or around the vaginal region
Symptoms in Men:
Some of the Chlamydia symptoms present in men include:
- Appearance of cloudy or clear discharge at the tip of the penis
- Pain while urinating
- Pain and inflammation of the testicles
- Burning and/or itching at the opening of the penis
How is Chlamydia Diagnosed?
Diagnosis in Women: Usually the doctor will take a swab from the cervix and get the sample analysed in the laboratory.
Diagnosis in Men: A sample from the urethra is taken and analysed to check presence of infection.
Urine Testing: Alternatively, both men and women are asked to give a urine sample, so that it can be checked in the laboratory for the Chlamydia-causing bacteria.
If you are a woman, you should seek immediate treatment for Chlamydia, as it could lead to several complications. You can get inflammatory pelvic disease, which could lead to infertility or also have an ectopic pregnancy. Chlamydia infection can lead to premature births and transfer the infection from the mother to child. Untreated Chlamydia infection in men can result in infection of the urethra or epididymis or inflammation of the rectum.
Oral Antibiotics: Oral antibiotics are prescribed to treat men and women diagnosed with Chlamydia. It takes about a week or two for the infection to clear up. However, it is necessary to finish the entire course of medication.
Intravenous Antibiotics: If the infection is severe, it would require hospitalization, where the patient is given intravenous antibiotics and medication for the pain, which can be excruciating.
After finishing your course of treatment, it is necessary to get re-tested to ensure you are completely cured. Also, ensure your partner is tested and treated for the infection. Otherwise, you risk getting back the infection. You should refrain from sexual intercourse until you and your partner are given the green signal from the doctor.
Tips to Prevent Chlamydia Infection
While sexually transmitted diseases are rampant in the society, you can protect yourself from them. If you do not want to be infected with Chlamydia, here are some prevention methods.
- Condoms: Always make sure you use a condom when having sex
- Sexual Partners: Do not have too many sexual partners and try not to go back and forth between these sexual partners
- Abstinence: One of the best ways to prevent Chlamydia infection is to practice abstinence
If you think you have Chlamydia, immediately stop being sexually active and consult a qualified physician.
Since Chlamydia usually does not show any symptoms, you can infect your sexual partner without knowing it. Many doctors advocate getting yourself tested for Chlamydia on a regular basis if you have more than one sexual partner. You should follow this advice even if you do not notice the symptoms of this sexually transmitted disease.