Having a good knowledge of sexually transmitted infections is essential to ensure that we understand how to handle them when they happen. The bad thing is that anything sexual is usually very awkward to talk about. Hopefully, you learn that there is nothing wrong with knowing about different sexually transmitted diseases. This will be essential for awareness and possible treatment you would need if you encounter them.
Let us explore one of the more common STIs going around: chlamydia. Here’s what you absolutely need to know about this condition.
Fast facts on chlamydia
Chlamydia is a general term referring to a kind of bacteria. Specifically, this STI is caused by an infection of Chlamydia trachomatis. These bacteria induce their harmful effect on your body by living in your cells to replicate. When they reproduce, they will now invade your body and make you ill with a chlamydia infection.
Different kinds of chlamydia can infect us humans. They can manifest as pneumonia, respiratory disease, fetal death, and sexually transmitted infection.
Chlamydia infects as much as 1.7 million in the United States. This number is very alarming since this number is thrice the highest gonorrhea infections. Another problem with the prevalence of chlamydia is its asymptomatic manifestation in many people. Because of this, many people infected end up spreading the infection unknowingly.
Risk factors for chlamydia
You need to know what can increase your risk of having a chlamydia infection. Like any other STIs, you need to be cautious of your sexual activities and always practice safe sex. Sexual activities transmit the infection to their partners. Having occasional sex, multiple partners, and not using condoms or barrier protections significantly increase your risk of being infected.
Note that you can transmit the infection thru anal, oral, or vaginal sex with an infected person. However, kissing or eating on the same utensils with an infected person will not pass their infection to you.
Chlamydia infections are very common in people between the age of 18 to 26. Probably, people are more engaged and curious about sexual intercourse at this age. Hence, more people engage in sex while overlooking safe sex practices. If you are within this age group, be very careful in sexual activities. Moreover, please talk with your partner and educate them on STIs to ensure that you are both safe.
When it comes to gender, women are more likely to be infected by chlamydia. In 14 to 24-year-old women who are sexually active, 5% have chlamydia infections. Women should be aware that if they have cervical ectopy, their risk of chlamydia infection would be higher.
Surprisingly, even your race can tell if you have an increased risk for chlamydia infections. African-American women have a high chance of being infected. Their risk is a lot more than whites or American-Indians.
Chlamydia signs and symptomss
As mentioned earlier, chlamydia is a widespread disease because it is sometimes asymptomatic. People go around having sex with their partners without knowing that they are carrying around an infection. Moreover, since they do not see that they have a condition, they do not get treated.
By the time the infection causes complications, it will now be diagnosed as a sexually transmitted disease or STD.
Symptoms will be quite different for men and women due to the difference in the genitals between them.
Infections in men can manifest as urethritis. They can feel pain or a burning sensation when they are urinating. Moreover, the penis might have a watery discharge and an itchy feeling. This can only be noticeable ten days after being exposed to the bacteria. Unfortunately, men can transmit the infection when they are not aware that they have already been exposed to it. The testes and prostate can also be infected and feel pain or some swelling.
Women rarely present some symptoms of chlamydia infections. But if they do, they might show some vaginal discharge after menstruation or after sex. Compared to men, women take a longer time before showing symptoms. It can take between seven to 14 days before they manifest signs of being infected.
How is chlamydia treated?
A common way to treat chlamydia would be with the administration of oral antibiotics. Azithromycin can be taken once to address the infection. Also, a seven-day prescription of doxycycline can be an alternative way to treat this. Depending on the complications that you have, the course of the antibiotic treatment can get longer.
Other than oral medications, some medications can be injected into the infected person. Ceftriaxone can be administered once as an injection if you have gonorrhea due to your chlamydia infection.
Of course, taking antibiotics without a medical doctor’s help will do you more harm than good. When getting treated, make sure to consult first to modify your treatment depending on the severity of your current infection. Moreover, a medical physician will help you know if you have other STIs to treat.
When getting treated, note that you need to refrain from sexual activities for a while. If you do not refrain, you will continue to spread the infection to your sexual partner and possibly re-infect you again.
Why should you get treatment for chlamydia?
As you have seen in the previous section, chlamydia can be treated with modern medical means. When you do get chlamydia, make sure to seek medical help and get treated. If you do not get any treatment for it, other than spreading it to your sexual partners, you risk having many health problems.
Complications from an untreated chlamydia infection include arthritis, conjunctivitis, reproductive problems, gonorrhea. One of the big problems you need to avoid would be infertility and acquiring HIV or the human immunodeficiency virus. HIV is a lot more complicated to treat.
In conclusion, make sure to practice safe sex and end the stigma about STDs. If you happen to have an STD, consult with your physician and your sexual partner. With this, you both get to be treated for your STDs, even if asymptomatic.