Chlamydia is contracted in most cases through sexual intercourse with an infected person. Chlamydia can also be passed from an infected mother to baby during vaginal childbirth. Chlamydia can be transmitted during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. It is one if the many such infections known as STi’s. This infection is more common in young women, who are at a higher risk of contracting it. Chlamydia infection is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in people worldwide, it is the most common bacterial STi’s in humans.
The infection (Chlamydia) often fails to show any signs or symptoms. Up to three quarters of women who have chlamydia have no symptoms and do not know that they are infected. Symptoms when they do appear can occur in both sexes, women infected with chlamydia may experience cystitis, vaginal discharge or pain in the lower abdomen.
Men who are infected may have an unusual discharge or an irritation on the tip of the penis, a painful or burning sensation when urinating which may last for some days. In men this irritation may disappear but this does not mean that the disease has been cured. This is a sexually transmitted disease and therefore a condom is the most effective way to prevent further transmission.
There are effective treatments for Chlamydia with antibiotics if recognised in its early stages. It is important that both partners are treated to ensure further transmission is not permitted.
It is important that condoms are used to prevent the transmission of Chlamydia as in other sexually transmitted infections. The prevention of these conditions are so much better than contracting any of them as the results can be uncomfortable and dangerous. If sexual relationships are entered into without the use of condoms then both partners should be tested to ensure that there are no infections present.
Testing for Chlamydia in women is performed by taking swabs from the cervix and the vagina, or from a urine sample. The latter two procedures can be carried out by the woman herself to avoid the possible discomfort of formal testing. Men can also get a diagnosis from a urine sample, or a sample swab can be taken from the tip of the penis. This can be uncomfortable as the tip of the penis is very sensitive. If any of the symptoms are manifest then testing is very important so that no infection is passed on.
Consequences of Contracting Chlamydia
If untreated, Chlamydia can cause serious reproductive and other health problems. Up to fifty percent of women if untreated will develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can cause serious complications, including chronic pelvic pain, difficulty in becoming pregnant, and can affect the normal transfer of eggs from the ovaries to the womb. Chlamydia causes one of the most common forms of infertility causing problems in the fallopian tubes. If a woman does manage to become pregnant, the foetus may develop in the fallopian tube which will cause an ectopic pregnancy which is very painful and can be life threatening if not dealt with urgently. The pain will be experienced in the lower abdomen and may be mistaken for something else so testing is imperative if any of these symptoms occur.
Women infected with chlamydia are up to five times more likely to become infected with HIV, if exposed.
In men the complications of this infection can cause poor or abnormal functioning of the sperm causing infertility or much reduced fertility. The genitals can also affected with a painful, swelling and irritability of the scrotum. There is a more rare condition where the infection can cause inflammation in the joints, this condition is very difficult to treat.