Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are common in today’s society, with millions of new cases diagnosed each year. One of the most common STIs is Chlamydia, which is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. This STI can be asymptomatic, leading to undiagnosed and untreated cases and severe health complications.
Chlamydia is primarily spread through unprotected sexual contact with an infected person. It can be transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sex and passed from an infected mother to her newborn during childbirth. The bacterium that causes Chlamydia can also infect the eyes, leading to conjunctivitis.
Another cause of Chlamydia is having multiple sexual partners, as well as having sex with someone who has had many partners. People who do not use condoms or other barrier methods during sexual activity are also at a higher risk of contracting Chlamydia.
Chlamydia is often called a “silent” infection because many infected people do not show any symptoms. As a result, many people who have Chlamydia can spread it without even knowing they have it. When symptoms do occur, they can include:
- Painful urination
- Abnormal discharge from the penis or vagina
- Pain or bleeding during sex
- Abdominal pain
- Bleeding between periods
- Painful, swollen testicles
- Rectal pain or discharge
- Sore throat
If left untreated, Chlamydia can lead to serious health complications. It can cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women, leading to infertility, chronic pelvic pain, and ectopic pregnancy. For men, untreated Chlamydia can cause epididymitis, which causes inflammation of the tubes that carry sperm, resulting in infertility.
Chlamydia can be diagnosed through a simple test involving a urine sample or a swab of the affected area, such as the cervix or urethra. The sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis. However, keep in mind that Chlamydia can also be asymptomatic, meaning there may be no visible symptoms, so get tested regularly if you are sexually active.
Fortunately, Chlamydia can be easily treated with antibiotics, such as azithromycin or doxycycline. Take the full course of antibiotics your healthcare provider prescribes, even if your symptoms disappear before you finish the medication. These antibiotics are usually taken for 1-2 weeks, depending on the severity of the infection.
Take note that even after treatment, you can get Chlamydia again. You should also abstain from sexual activity during treatment to avoid spreading the infection to others.
As mentioned earlier, the best way to prevent Chlamydia is to practice safe sex. This means always using a barrier method of contraception, such as a condom, during sexual activity.
Be sure to get tested regularly, especially if you have multiple sexual partners or engage in unprotected sex. It is recommended that sexually active individuals get tested for Chlamydia and other STIs at least once a year.
Chlamydia is a common STI with serious health consequences if left untreated. While it may not always cause symptoms, it is vital to get tested regularly if you are sexually active. If you have Chlamydia, it is easily treated with antibiotics, but always practice safe sex to avoid getting infected again. And always remember: prevention is key!
Schedule a phone or video consultation with a doctor through Eirdoc Ltd. As one of Ireland’s trusted online doctor platforms, we are committed to providing confidential and convenient consultations for STI testing and treatment. Start taking control of your sexual health and book an appointment today!