Diseases & Conditions

 

Chlamydia

Diseases & Conditions

 

What is chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease caused by a very small parasitic bacterium. People who have chlamydia do not develop signs and symptoms. However, chlamydia can cause health problems in the later stages like permanent damage to a woman's reproductive system, making it difficult or impossible for her to get pregnant later on.1

Each year there are estimated 131 million new infections with chlamydia worldwide.2

 

What causes chlamydia?

Chlamydia is an infection with Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria. When a person is infected, the bacteria are present in the reproductive system and can be transmitted to another person through sexual intercourse.3

It is also possible that a mother spreads chlamydia to her child during delivery causing eye infection in the newborn.

 

What are the risk factors for chlamydia?

Factors that increase the risk of getting infected with chlamydia include:4

  • Age: People under 24 years of age are more susceptible to getting infected with chlamydia.
  • Having multiple sex partners within the past year
  • Not using contraception consistently
  • Having prior sexually transmitted infection

 

What are the symptoms of chlamydia?

Most people who have chlamydia do not notice any signs or symptoms. If they do get symptoms, the most common include:5

  • Painful urination
  • Unusual discharges
  • Abdominal pain
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Bleeding after sex
  • Women can bleed between periods
  • Women have heavier periods than normal

 

How is chlamydia diagnosed?

Tests required to diagnose chlamydia include:6

  • A swab: Using a small cotton bud to gently wipe over the area that might be infected and test the swab for chlamydia
  • Urinalysis: A sample of urine analyzed in the laboratory may indicate the presence of chlamydia

 

How is chlamydia treated?

Chlamydia is treated with medications such as antibiotics. The infection resolves within one to two weeks. During that time, a patient should abstain from sex. Otherwise, the infection will be transmitted to the partner.

 

How is chlamydia prevented?

In order to avoid chlamydia, a person can do the following:

  • Abstain from sexual relations
  • Use condoms
  • Get regular screening

 

References:

  1. Healthline http://www.healthline.com/health/std/chlamydia#Overview1 (March 1, 2016)
  2. World Health Organization http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs110/en/ (March 1, 2016)
  3. MedicineNet http://www.medicinenet.com/chlamydia_in_women_overview/article.htm#what_causes_chlamydia (March 1, 2016)
  4. Risk factors http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chlamydia/basics/risk-factors/con-20020807 (March 1, 2016)
  5. Chlamydia http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Chlamydia/Pages/Symptoms.aspx (March 1, 2016)
  6. Chlamydia http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Chlamydia/Pages/Diagnosis.aspx (March 1, 2016)
  7. Treatments and drugs http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chlamydia/basics/treatment/con-20020807 (March 1, 2016)
  8. Prevention http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chlamydia/basics/prevention/con-20020807 (March 1, 2016)