Chlamydia: The Silent Infection


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Chlamydia is the most common *** transmitted disease, and is especially common among teens. It is estimated that 3 million people are infected with Chlamydia annually in the US. Chlamydia is prevalent in both men and women.

Symptoms The biggest problem with Chlamydia is that there usually aren’t any symptoms. Most women don’t know they have the infection. When symptoms occur, they may be mild and may go away within a few days. Noticeable symptoms may not occur unless the infection is severe. The symptoms that you could have are:

  • Vaginal discharge

  • Spotting or irregular periods

  • Lower abdominal pain

  • Burning with urination

    Transmission Chlamydia can be transferred to partners during oral, anal or genital sex. The organism can be carried by hand to your eyes. It can also be passed to a newborn during birth if the mother is infected.

    Complications Complications occur fairly frequently because people do not know they have Chlamydia, so it goes untreated in the early stages. The complications of Chlamydia in women include:

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). Chlamydia usually infects the vagina and cervix, but the infection can ascend and involve the uterus and fallopian tubes. PID affects about a million US women a year and about 10% of those—100,000—become infertile as a result. Women who have had PID are at a higher risk of having an ectopic pregnancy or of developing chronic pelvic pain.

  • An increased risk of getting HIV.

  • Blindness. Trachoma is a severe eye infection caused by Chlamydia getting into the eye. In developing countries, Trachoma is the most frequent cause of blindness.

  • Lymphogranuloma venerum. This is a severe Chlamydia infection that causes open sores in the genital area and swollen lymph nodes. Until recently, it has rarely been seen in developed countries. As Chlamydia is becoming epidemic, however, the incidence is increasing.

  • Reiter’s syndrome. Rarely, people who have had Chlamydia develop Reiter’s syndrome, which is a form of arthritis.

    Infants who are delivered vaginally to mothers with active Chlamydia infections are at risk for getting an eye infection and/or pneumonia.

    Tests and Screening Chlamydia is diagnosed with a pelvic exam and vaginal swab to check for the organism. If you have any symptoms of a Chlamydia infection, your doctor will test for it. The CDC recommends annual Chlamydia screening test (with a pelvic exam and vaginal swab) for all *** active women under the age of 25 and for women over the age of 25 who have new or multiple *** partners. Most doctors screen for Chlamydia during pregnancy, too.

    Treatment Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics. If you have Chlamydia, it is important to take all antibiotics and to complete any follow-up tests your doctor recommends. It is also important that all of your *** partners be treated. If only one partner is treated, you can reinfect each other.

    Prevention Chlamydia is transmitted sexually, so obviously abstinence or having sex only within a mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner will prevent infection.

    If you have new or multiple *** partners, condoms provide some protection against Chlamydia. You can transmit Chlamydia without vaginal penetration, however, so the condom or some other barrier should be used with any genital-genital, genital-anal or genital-oral contact.

    Research is under way to develop a vaccine for Chlamydia and to develop a microbicidal cream or gel that can be applied before sex to prevent infection.

    Chlamydia is a serious health threat because it is becoming so widespread and it can cause serious complications. Most people don’t even know if they are infected, and the disease is reaching epidemic proportions, especially among teens. Safe sex practices are the key to prevention. Early detection and treatment through routine screening of people who are at risk can prevent complications.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Penny Watkins is a freelance writer working for She worked for over twenty years as a registered nurse, specializing in cardiovascular nursing

    Penny Watkins is a freelance writer at PillsPills Pharmacy who worked as a critical care nurse for over twenty years, specializing in cardiovascular nursing.

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