Any disease that passes from one individual to another through sexual contact or genital fluid is termed as Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) or Venereal disease (VD). Such infections cause pain, inflammation, discomfort, and swelling in genital areas of individuals causing difficulty while having sex or urinating. Chlamydia is one such disease. Let’s develop a better understanding of Chlamydia.
About Chlamydia Infection
Chlamydia trachomatis, bacteria is responsible for causing STI chlamydia. The bacteria can be transmitted during vaginal, oral, or anal sexual contact with the infected person. It can also transfer from an infected mother to the developing child during vaginal childbirth.
Symptoms Of Chlamydia
Another name for Chlamydia is ‘silent Infection’ as the infection shows no symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control And Prevention, chlamydia causes no symptoms in 50 percent of men and 70 percent of women. However, the following symptoms appear after one to three weeks of transmission.
Oral sex with an infected person can lead to throat problems, the development of sores, cough, and fever in both men and women. Chlamydia conjunctivitis is a condition that arises when chlamydia bacteria invade the eyes leading to redness, itching, irritation, and swelling in the eyes. A person with chlamydia conjunctivitis experiences mucus discharge from the eyes and sensitivity to light.
Symptoms Of Chlamydia In Men
- Cloudy or clear fluid discharge from the penile tip
- Yellowish green discharge from the penis
- Pain while urinating
- Burning sensation around the opening of the penis
- Pain and inflammation around testicles
- Pain in the lower abdomen
If the infection amplifies, the bacteria invade the anus region causing pain, inflammation and bleeding from it.
Symptoms Of Chlamydia In Women
- Vaginal discharge with a characteristic odor
- Vaginal bleeding between period cycles
- Pain while urinating
- Dyspareunia- pain during coitus
- Pain in lower abdomen and fever
- Burning sensation around the opening of the vagina
- Cervicitis- Inflammation of the cervix
Pelvic inflammatory disease causes if Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria spreads to the fallopian tubes. It can lead to nausea, severe pelvic pain, high fever, and abnormal vaginal bleeding. Females experience rectal pain, discharge, and bleeding in the rectum if the bacteria invade the rectum.
How Does Bacteria Chlamydia Spread?
Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria spread through oral, vaginal, or anal coitus or genital contact with the infected person. It can spread to babies from infected mothers during childbirth. The National Institutes of Health suggests females ensure they don’t have any infection. However, Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria cannot spread by sharing a sauna, toilet seat, or swimming pool with an infected person. Coughs sneezes, or using surfaces or objects used by an infected person cannot cause chlamydia.
As chlamydia Infection is asymptomatic, USPSTF recommends chlamydia screening for the following categories.
- High-risk group males
- Sexually active females (under the age of 25 years)
- Pregnant women (under the age of 25 years)
- Individuals infected with HIV
- Men having intercourse with men
Testing Of Chlamydia
To identify the presence of the Chlamydia Trachomatis bacteria, vaginal fluid and urine samples are collected from females and males respectively. Swab tests to collect fluid samples from the urethra in men and cervix in women are also used. The samples are tested under an electron microscope to detect the presence of bacteria. Doctors may also recommend rectal or throat tests to patients. Furthermore, home test kits are also available for chlamydia.
Prevention Of Chlamydia
Condoms help to prevent the transfer of genital fluid by covering either the cervix (female condoms) or the penis (male condoms). Therefore, using latex condoms consistently can help in the prevention of chlamydia. Furthermore, limiting the number of sexual partners can help in the prevention. Gynecologists recommend regular screening tests for sexually active individuals.
Complications That Occur Due To Chlamydia
Pelvic inflammatory disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease is a condition wherein ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus are affected leading to infertility.
Chlamydia can cause conjunctivitis in newborns, preterm delivery, and rupture of genital membranes.
The epididymis is a small structure present inside the scrotum in males. Chlamydia can cause inflammation, swelling, and pain in the epididymis.
Chlamydia can cause salpingitis, inflammation of fallopian tubes leading to an increased risk of ectopic pregnancies in females.
Chlamydia can cause cervicitis, inflammation of the cervix making it difficult for females to give natural birth.
To sum up, Chlamydia trachomatis, bacteria is responsible for causing STI chlamydia. It is a ‘silent Infection’ as no symptoms are diagnosed in this disease. Chlamydia can cause severe problems if left untreated. Antibiotics such as Ofloxacin and Azithromycin are recommended to treat chlamydia. To detect the presence of Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria, swab tests to collect fluid from the urethra in men and cervix in women undergo examination. Hence, the infection spreads through oral, vaginal, or anal coitus or genital contact with the infected person. Additionally, one should consult a healthcare provider for diagnosis, prevention, and treatment.