In North America, Chlamydia represents the most common sexual transmitted disease and it is reported three times more in women than in men. The infectious agent of the disease is Chlamydia Trachomatis. The disease is among adults transmitted during sexual intercourse (vaginal, oral or anal sex) and it is very infectious. As for infants, there is possibility of a baby to get infected during vaginal childbirth in case that the mother is infected. The disease is then presented with eyes or respiratory infection.
Symptoms of Chlamydia
Symptoms of Chlamydia infection may not have to be obvious. They are present at 75% of women and only 25% in men. In case there are symptoms they will occur within 2 to 3 weeks after the exposure.
Women usually develop cervicitis. If present symptoms may include yellow vaginal discharge with unpleasant smell, pain during urination, the need of frequent urination, sometimes bleeding and pain during sex or even bleeding between menstrual periods.
As for men they are usually without any symptoms. If there are any present they are often connected with the feeling of burning or pain during urination. And since the disease in men develops in urethra the redness or swelling of the part where urethra opens on the penis can occur. Similar to women yellowish or white discharge can be noticed, usually with the first morning urination.
Babies infected with Chlamydia develop conjuctivitis. Their eyes are red and swollen, there is a discharge and they itch.
Complications of Chlamydia
There are numerous complications of the disease.
Women who do not know they are sick might develop pelvic inflammatory disease, are likely to have abnormal pregnancies or become infertile. The infection can lead to a form of arthritis or a gallbladder infection.
Men can end infertile in case the infection affects testicles. The prostatitis is also common as well as Reiter\'s Syndrome (conditon which affects eyes and joints).
Both genders can experience rectal bleeding, rectal itching and pain during defecation.
Newlyborns are at risk if the disease is not treated properly or on time. Most common complications are forming of scars on the cornea. The vision can be lost for good.
Setting the diagnosis
In order to confirm the infection cervical, rectal or urethral smears are taken. The first urine of the day is also collected. After that lab tests are carried out. It is important to emphasize that the partner needs to be tested as well as there is high chance of mutual infection.
The infection is easily cured. Different antibiotics are used and nowadays there is a chance of getting better with only single pill. But since the disease mostly is not noticed on time the complications are much harder to be cured. This is because most symptoms are not present so the patient does not know he/she is ill. Regular examinations might help in setting an early diagnosis. Sexual abstinence or safe sex can reduce the possibility of getting infected. Condoms are the best way of protection. Regular check up after the treatment is recommended because the disease can persist even though the symptoms disappear.