Chlamydia is a non-bacterial sexually transmitted disease caused by Chlamydia trachomatis. The bacteria that causes it are often transmitted through sexual contact and can be contracted through oral, vaginal, and anal sex. Chlamydia is not transmitted through casual contact.
Chlamydia can be contracted through:
- Unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sex
- Sharing sex toys
- Sharing sex razors
- Sharing sex toys with an infected partner
- Receiving oral sex from an infected partner without a condom
- Receiving oral sex from an infected partner with a condom less effective than the condom
The bacteria are transmitted to your partner during sexual activity. This can also happen if your partner has an open sore or sore throat.
What are the symptoms of Chlamydia?
The symptoms of chlamydia can occur when you are infected if you have not been treated. Symptoms can also occur if you have been treated.
In the early stages of the infection, you may not experience any symptoms. During this period, you may not even know you are infected. This is why it is important to have chlamydia diagnosed as soon as possible.
When symptoms occur, they may include:
- Painful urination
- Painful sex
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Swelling in the rectum
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal pain that doesn’t get better with over-the-counter pain medication
- Abdominal pain that gets worse after sexual activity
- Joint pain
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Bumps or sores on the genitals
- Bumps or sores on the anus
- Bleeding between periods
- Discharge from the penis
- Discharge from the vagina
- Chlamydia can also cause symptoms like conjunctivitis, eye irritation, and headache.
How is Chlamydia Diagnosed?
Your doctor may ask you about your sexual history as well as your sexual partner’s sexual history to determine whether you have chlamydia. It is important to tell your doctor if you have ever:
- Had unprotected sex
- Had a sexually transmitted infection
Your doctor may also perform a physical exam. This is to check for signs of the infection, such as swollen lymph nodes.
If your doctor suspects that you have chlamydia, you may be tested for chlamydia. This is typically done by a urine or swab sample. Your doctor may also order a test for specific antibodies to chlamydia.
If you are found to have chlamydia, you will need to be treated with antibiotics.
How is Chlamydia Treated?
The treatment for chlamydia is a combination of different antibiotics. Your doctor will prescribe the most appropriate antibiotic based on your symptoms and test results.
You should take the full course of antibiotics. Some people may need to take a break from the medication for a short time to allow them to have a baby.
If you are diagnosed with chlamydia, your partner will need to be treated as well because he or she can also transmit chlamydia.
Can Chlamydia Be Prevented?
Chlamydia can be prevented. You can prevent chlamydia through:
- Using condoms during sex
- Using a condom when having oral sex
- Using a condom when receiving oral sex from a partner with chlamydia
- Getting tested for chlamydia at least once
If you are sexually active, you should be tested for chlamydia at least once.
If you are diagnosed with chlamydia, you should also be tested for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) at least once. This helps your doctor to identify any other STIs that you may have.
What Is the Long-Term Outlook for Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection. However, it is treatable. Early diagnosis and treatment is important to help prevent complications.
Chlamydia can be treated with antibiotics. You should take the full course of antibiotics if you have been diagnosed.
Chlamydia is a curable infection. But it is important to remember that there is no cure for chlamydia. The infection can be passed back and forth between partners.
Some people with chlamydia also develop chronic pelvic pain, which is pain in the lower abdomen, back, and pelvic area for many months or years.
You can also develop chronic fatigue syndrome, which can affect your mental and physical well-being.
Chlamydia can also cause complications like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is a serious infection of the reproductive system.
If left untreated, PID can cause infertility. It can also cause other complications, such as ectopic pregnancy.
If you have chlamydia, you should also be tested for HIV if you have sex with an HIV-positive partner.
Chlamydia is not preventable. But you can take steps to prevent it.
If you have been diagnosed with chlamydia, you should take steps to:
- Use a condom during sex to prevent the spread of the disease
- If you have oral sex, use a condom every time you have oral sex
- Use a condom or dental dam every time you have anal sex
- Use a condom or dental dam when receiving oral sex from a partner with chlamydia
When to See a Doctor?
If you suspect that you have chlamydia, contact your doctor.
Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease that can be transmitted through unprotected sex. It can be treated with antibiotics.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be a serious problem for people who have sex without a condom. If you suspect that you have an STI, contact your doctor.
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