Despite being one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted diseases in men and women, Chlamydia often goes undiagnosed for long periods of time. It’s common for the disease to by symptomless, which can prevent people from seeking treatment. The consequences of untreated Chlamydia can be fairly severe, particularly for women. It can result in chronic pain in the pelvis, and in some cases can even lead to infertility.
The root cause of the bacterial infection is Chlamydia trachomatis, which is spread through the genital tract through sexual contact. It’s already a fairly common condition in relation to other STD’s, largely affecting teens and you adults.
Many people can be carrying Chalmydia without realising it, as it doesn’t present any symptoms in many patients. For those that do display symptoms, they are often visible within a few weeks of sexual contact with an infected partner.
Typical symptoms in women can include pain in the lower abdominals, a burning sensation during urination, vaginal discharge, bleeding between periods, pain during intercourse, nausea and fever.
In men, the more common symptoms are discharge from the penis, a burning sensation when urinating, an itching or burning in the opening of the penis and testicular pain. Another less common symptom is the swelling of the testicles.
There are numerous potential complications for men and women if the condition isn’t treated. Women are at risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause damage to the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes, eventually leading to infertility. Chronic pelvic pain is often a problem for those who go untreated.
Men with untreated Chlamydia can suffer from prostatitis, which is an inflamed prostate gland, or epididymitis, which is an inflammation of the coiled tube beside each testicle.
It’s also possible for newborns to pick up the infection if it’s passed from mother to baby during childbirth. Babies exposed to the infection often suffer from a severe eye infection or pneumonia shortly after birth.
Due to the lack of symptoms normally displayed by Chlamydia, it’s often hard to detect. Regular screening is recommended for sexually active women under 24, pregnant women and those with multiple sex partners who are at higher risk of contracting an STD. The screening is fairly straightforward, usually involving a swab of the end of the penis or the cervix, or even a simple urine test.
Fortunately for those diagnosed with the infection, Chlamydia is curable if the proper medication is prescribed and used as instructed. Azithromycin and doxycycline are commonly prescribed antibiotics, and they can be bought online from pharmacies like Dr Felix in the UK.
For people who have been diagnosed and are being treated, sex should be avoided for at least a week after the initial treatment has started. The disease can still be transmitted during the course of antibiotic treatment, so it’s important to avoid sexual contact during this time. Any sexual partners during the period of infection should also be treated for Chlamydia, regardless of the presence of symptoms, to prevent re-infection.
While abstinence is essentially the only guaranteed way of avoiding the condition, the risk of contracting Chlamydia can be substantially reduced by wearing condoms during every sexual encounter, reducing the amount of different partners and being screened regularly.