Chlamydia is one of the most frequently reported sexually transmitted diseases or STDs. In the US, it is said that millions of cases are reported each year. However, so many others infected with chlamydia do not report it — they are unaware that they have it because of the absence of signs and symptoms.
Fortunately, this particular kind of STD can be easily cured with antibiotics. This does not mean, however, that it should not be taken seriously. If not treated early on, chlamydia may cause some complications. Some of them include pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and even infertility!
Just like many other STDs, chlamydia may be transmitted from person to person via unprotected sexual activities. A person may easily get it from having unprotected vaginal or anal intercourse with someone infected. According to medical experts, it’s less likely for chlamydia to be transmitted by means of oral sex.
Let us take a look at some very important matters about this common STD:
The Cause of Chlamydia
Chlamydia is caused by a type of bacteria called chlamydia trachomatis. What this bacteria loves to target are the mucous membranes — bodily tissues that are soft and moist, and are not covered by skin.
Examples of mucous membranes include the surfaces of the vagina, cervix and urethra. The lining of the fallopian tubes also consist of such. The same is true with the anus, rectum, eyelids and throat. Needless to say, all of the examples mentioned can be targeted by the bacteria behind chlamydia.
Mode of Transmissions
Anyone who engages in unprotected anal or vaginal sex with an infected person may get chlamydia. Any time that the mucous membrane comes into contact with the secretions of the mucous membrane of a person with the STD, infection may happen. The eyes and mouth may be infected too, other than the genitals.
The eyes may get infected when they come into contact with the said secretions. It is also possible for the infection to spread to the eyes by means of hand-to-eye contact.
Just like what’s mentioned earlier, it is less likely for chlamydia to spread via oral sex. That’s because the bacteria causing the STD prefers to target the mucous membranes of the genitals than those found in the throat.
Chlamydia Signs and Symptoms
Some people with chlamydia do not experience signs and symptoms. In case they are present, they tend to be similar to those of another STD called gonorrhea. Due to this, these types of infections are commonly mistaken for each other.
Men with chlamydia may have inflamed rectum and urethra, which causes a burning sensation during urination. They may also notice thick yellow-white or watery milk-like secretion coming from the penis. It is possible for the testicles of infected male to be swollen and painful.
Women with chlamydia tend to experience fewer signs and symptoms. They may notice pain during urination and discharge coming from the vagina. However, other symptoms may be encountered when the infection gets to the fallopian tubes. Some of them include pain in the lower back or abdominal region, discomfort during intercourse, bleeding between periods, as well as fever and nausea.
There are a couple of tests available for determining whether or not a person is infected with chlamydia. One is a urine test and the other is a swab test. There are also testing kits for chlamydia available at pharmacies these days. However, the accuracy of their results may vary. The best solution is to consult a doctor.
Antibiotics are prescribed to someone who is infected with chlamydia. It is very important for the person to take all of the medications given by the doctor in order to prevent the development of stronger strains of the bacteria behind the STD. Also, the individual should refrain from having sex before he or she is completely cured.