Chlamydia - What Is It? How Is It Diagnosed? How To Treat and Prevent It?

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Chlamydia, otherwise known as chlamydia infection is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. It is a common sexually transmitted infection that has usually no symptoms during the first few weeks during the occurrence of infection. However, some symptoms such as vaginal discharge or burning sensation during urination may be visible only after several weeks. It is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections around the world, averaging 4.2% of women population and 2.7% of men population being affected. Statistically, chlamydia is more common to occur in women rather than men. The bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis is found on infected semen and vaginal fluids which is then transmitted during sexual intercourse, thereby affecting the individual.

Mode of Transmission

Being a sexually transmitted infection, there are many ways of how chlamydia is transmitted. See a list of below modes of transmission:

  • Having sexual intercourse (vaginal, oral and anal) with someone who has chlamydia without the use of condoms or dental dams.
  • Sharing of sex toys that haven’t been properly washed or covered with a condom during usage.
  • Rubbing your genital against the genitals of a person who has a chlamydia infection
  • Get infected semen or vaginal fluid into your eyes
  • If a mother has chlamydia - it can be passed to her unborn child

Testing and Diagnosis

There are many ways on how to be tested for chlamydia - these ways are usually the same as other sexually transmitted diseases. The methods we’ve listed below are all cheap and accessible in most health centers and hospitals.

Urine Sample

The existence of Chlamydia trachomatis can be detected during the analysis of your urine sample. This is one of the simplest ways to test yourself if you have chlamydia or any other sexually transmitted disease.

Cervical swab

For women, a swab taken from the lower part of the womb is a more effective analysis of the existence of Chlamydia trachomatis.

Vaginal Swab

Another effective method for women is the analysis of swab samples from the vagina.

Urethral Swab

For men, a swab at the tip of the penis is enough to analyze if they have chlamydia.

Rectum Swab

For people who have engaged in anal sex, a swab from the rectum or throat is required for a more effective diagnosis.

Although some countries offer self-testing kits, although for a more effective diagnosis it is highly recommended to have your testing be conducted by a healthcare professional. If you’ve had no symptoms but suspect that you might have an infection - better consult with a doctor as he is the best person who can explain and advise what is the best way to be sexually healthy.

Tips for Prevention

There are various ways on how to prevent chlamydia and other sexually transmitted diseases. If you are sexually active, you might find below tips highly useful:

Consult your doctor

When you become sexually active, it is highly recommended to consult with a doctor to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Your doctor can offer you the best plan as to how to maintain a safe sexual life. If you have multiple partners, then it is a must to consult your doctor in a consistent manner to ensure the safety and safety of your partners.

Use condoms or dental dams

The use of these contraceptives avoids the transfer of vaginal fluid or semen from one person to another - most bacterias that carry infection are usually carried through these fluids, so the usage of such contraceptives will highly lessen the risk of getting chlamydia or any other sexually transmitted infection.

Be open and have your partners tested

If you want to feel safe and comfortable with your partners, let them know that you want to be tested before having sexual intercourse. In this manner, you are also avoiding the spreading of diseases to another person.

Conduct proper hygiene and sanitized area

Wherever you conduct sexual intercourse, make sure that the place is clean and sanitized. Bacterias can only grow in a specific type of environment - and a clean and hygienic isn’t one!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can other contraceptive methods such as contraceptive pill fight chlamydia?

No. Contraceptive pills do not offer protection against sexually transmitted infections.

What are the other symptoms that women might experience?

  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Heavier periods
  • Bleeding between periods or during or after sex
  • Lower abdomen pain during sexual intercourse
  • Inflammation of the eye (conjunctivitis) may occur if infected semen or vaginal fluid gets into your eyes

What are the other symptoms that men might experience?

  • White or cloudy discharge from the penis
  • Pain or burning sensation during urination
  • Bleeding or pain the anus
  • Inflammation of the eye (conjunctivitis) may occur if infected semen or vaginal fluid gets into your eyes
  • Pain or swelling in one of the testicles

How is chlamydia treated?

It can be treated with a round of antibiotics. During the course of your antibiotics medication, it is highly advised to not have any sexual intercourse and wait until your treatment is finished.

I’ve had chlamydia before. Is it possible to get it again or am I immune now?

It is possible to get chlamydia again. Even if you’ve had chlamydia before and you’ve been treated perfectly, it is still possible to get it again - you are not immune to it.

What are the complications if I don’t get treated?

  • For women, there are lots of possible effects that can happen if chlamydia is left untreated - pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, ectopic pregnancy and cervicitis.
  • For men, untreated chlamydia can escalate into epididymitis, urethritis or prostatitis - which can cause pain prostate glands.
  • Both men and women may experience reactive arthritis too.

What age bracket does chlamydia usually occur?

Chlamydia can occur to anybody but according to statistics, it is most common for women aged 25 years old and below.

What is the most effective way of preventing chlamydia?

  • Undoubtedly, avoiding sexual intercourse is the most effective way of avoiding chlamydia.
  • But for those who are having sexual intercourse, it is highly recommended to use condoms or dental dams.
  • It is also recommended to have you and your partners tested for any sexually transmitted infections.

Additional Resources

Centers for Disease Control and CDC provides diverse resources related to HIV and AIDS.
Avertwww.avert.orgAvert is a global provider of information and education about HIV and AIDS.
MedlinePluswww.medlineplus.govMedlinePlus provides valuable and high-quality information on HIV and AIDS.
NHSwww.nhs.ukNHS is the UK's biggest health website with topics related to HIV/AIDS.
National Center for Biotechnology Informationwww.ncbi.nlm.nih.govNCBI has resources on HIV/AIDS testing and procedures.


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