Learning More About Chlamydia
Over one million people have the disease chlamydia in just the United States. Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease that is easily treated when caught early on. However, early treatment is necessary to avoid more serious complications of this disease. Once called a venereal disease, a term taken from the Latin word ‘venereus’ meaning actions related to sexual desires and intercourse, chlamydia has become the most commonly occurring modern day sexually transmitted disease.
A bacterium known as chlamydia trachomatis is the cause for chlaymdia infections in humans. This bacterium is in the family Chlamydiaceae, a bacterial family responsible for several kinds of infections in humans in addition to chlamydia. Only found in humans, chlamydia trachomatis has been found to be a number one cause and risk factor for eye and genital diseases.
Spread by sexual contact, chlamydia should be treated as soon as you know you have it. However, the trouble with early treatment is many people are often unaware of having the disease. Chlamydia commonly cloaks itself and does not present outward, noticeable symptoms. In fact, the term chlamydia is derived from the Greek word meaning ‘cloak’. In the event you suspect being exposed to this disease, making sure you seek medical advice and testing is advised.
Any form of sexual contact can promote the transmission of chlamydia. An infected mother can pass chlamydia on to her unborn child. Cervicitis, a chlamydia infection of the female cervix, does not present symptoms; so many women do not know they have it. However, chlamydia can present in men with symptoms of a white discharge from the penis, indicating the presence of urethritis. The white discharge is normally noticed during urination and may not cause any pain.
When chlamydia infection is left untreated, men and women could experience reproductive issues. Many women have experienced infertility that has been proven to be directly caused by untreated chlamydia infections. While chlamydia in females does usually start at the cervix, left unbound, it can find its way up to the ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes, causing serious issues with healthy fertility. Chlamydia can also cause pelvic inflammatory disease as well, a condition that causes abdominal pain and inflamed pelvic organs. Infertility can be caused due to the scarring that can take place in the fallopian tubes during a severe chlamydia infection. When scar tissue becomes too large, it can block the passageway for eggs. Inflammation of the cervix can be caused by chlamydia as well.
In many cases, a scarred fallopian tube can create conditions perfect for the occurrence of an ectopic pregnancy. In the event a healthy egg is fertilized out of the uterus, it can attach to the external surfaces like the fallopian tubes. An ectopic pregnancy can be life threatening. If chlamydia is passed on to a newborn baby, usually occurring in vaginal deliveries, the baby can experience frequent conjunctivitis, eye infection and pneumonia. Many women suffer with late postpartum endometritis after a delivery a baby while having chlamydia. Many gynecologists and obstetricians advise being routinely checked for chlamydia during pregnancy.
In most cases, men do not suffer many long term issues from chlamydia infections. However, while rare, the risk does exist for chlamydia to travel to the upper regions of the genital tract in men, causing infection in the epididymis. The epididymis is where sperm collect, thus an infection creating temporary infertility. Infertility in men caused by this infection can be reversed by treating the chlamydia.
Looking At Chlamydia Risk Factors
Disease of the Genitals
Young adults, both male and female, below age twenty five, are susceptible to catching chlamydia more so than any other age group. Refraining from having too many sexual partners and always using protection like condoms is essential and extremely important to avoid contracting sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia.
Symptoms To Look For:
Women can experience cervical discharge, inflammation and erythema when suffering with cervicitis caused by a chlamydia infection.
Men may notice a whitish colored discharge coming from the tip of the penis, a symptom caused by nongonococcal urethritis, an infectious condition of chlamydia. However, men can be infected for several years before the onset of any discharge or abdominal pain related to chlamydia.
In women, asymptomatic cases of chlamydia infections left untreated, the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease is greater. In fact, up to fifty percent of women experiencing untreated chlamydia infection do also develop pelvic inflammatory disease. The ovaries, fallopian tubes an uterus are directly affected by pelvic inflammatory disease, causing internal organ scarring that can set the stage for permanent infertility. Scarring from this chlamydia infection and pelvic inflammatory disease also increases the risk of ectopic and tubal pregnancies, both dangerous conditions.
The disease chlamydia has been referred to as a ‘Silent Epidemic’ due to the non-existent symptoms at the onset. For this reason, many women carry the infection for years without being aware of it. Some initial symptoms are commonly ignored and thought to be caused by other reasons. These symptoms include heavy, irregular vaginal bleeding, vaginal discharge, dyspareunia, abdominal pain, fever and pain during urination .Frequent urination could also be a symptom of chlamydia infection.
Chlamydia infection in men can cause painful urination, a discharge from the penis, abdominal pain, fever and swollen, inflamed testicles. These are symptoms associated with the condition urethritis, directly caused by chlamydia. Fifty percent of men dealing with chlamydia also end up dealing with the painful symptoms of urethritis as well. Some medical communities feel chlamydia could also be to blame for the development of prostatitis.
How Chlamydia Can Affect Vision
For many years, the conjunctivitis and trachoma associated with chlamydia was the leading cause of blindness around the globe. However, due to more people becoming informed and learning how to engage in safer sex, this phenomenal rate is now down by fifteen percent. Eye to eye contraction can take place through sharing towels, sneezing, coughing and on unclean fingers making contact with eyes. Through cleaner personal hygiene and safer sexual habits around the world, lower cases are being reported in concurrence with blindness.
The occurrence of three conditions at one time, referred to as a triad, is a side effect of the chlamydia infection. The co-occurrence of urethritis, arthritis and conjunctivitis is common in people experiencing chlamydia infections. A triad occurrence occurs more so in young men. Both genders can be affected by this triple onset of conditions, but it is more common to happen in men. Some men experience permanent arthritic issues due to chlamydia.
Pregnancy And Chlamydia
Mot babies born to mothers suffering with a chlamydia infection are born with the disease. In fact, studies have shown that half of affected mothers give birth to infected infants. Babies born with chlamydia may begin to exhibit signs of the eye infection called conjunctivitis. Most babies with chlamydia present signs of conjunctivitis within seven days of their birth. This conjunctivitis can lead to blindness if not properly treated with antibiotics. Newborns can also suffer with pneumonia due to chlamydia as well. Premature births are reported to be higher in mothers suffering with chlamydia.
Lymphogranuloma venereum describes an infection that settles in the lymph nodes and other areas associated with the lymphatic system. Symptoms can include swollen, ulcerated lymph nodes found in the groin. Some sufferers develop inflammation of the rectum as well, a condition called proctitis. Swollen lymph nodes can be widespread in the body and sufferers might also have fever.
Time Period Before The Onset Of Systems
Most people experience initial symptoms within three weeks of exposure to chlamydia bacteria. Complications can also occur in asymptomatic patients as well. Discuss with your health care provider about regularly scheduled screenings for chlamydia.
Healthy cells are necessary for chlamydiae bacterium to thrive. In the event it infects a healthy cell, that cell supports the nutritional demands of the bacteria, allowing it sit unnoticed for long periods of time. The human cell that loses nutritional support while being a host will cause a direct, negative impact on chlamydiae bacterium. Chlamydia can survive in a state of growth that would allow reinfection later when cells regain greater health. Researchers debate over some aspects of chlamydia persistence issues. Sufferers should know that some antibiotics can induce chlamydia growth states that are persistent and resistant, promoting chronic occurrences of infection.
Several options are available to your physician for chlamydia testing. Generally, male specimens are taken with a swab from the urethra while female specimens are taken by a cervix swab. Specimens are sent the lab for verification and analyzing. Urine tests are also a way your doctor can diagnose the presence of chlamydia.
Thanks to the development of nucleic acid amplification tests, NAAT, more people are aware they have the chlamydia infection. The diagnosis of this disease advanced greatly between the late nineties and 2006. A transcription mediated amplification, polymerase chain reaction, and DNA strand displacement amplification are some of today’s preferred diagnostic methods. NAAT methods have been found to provide over ninety percent accurate diagnostics. Research is being done to find ways for reliable, accurate rectal specimen tests.
Options For Chlamydia Treatment
Antibiotics like erythromycin, azithromycin, ofloxacin and doxycycline are used to treat chlamydia infection and have a high cure rate as well. Women that are pregnant should speak to their doctors about amoxicillin and erythromycin for the treatment of chlamydia. Patients correctly taking a course of antibiotics for chlamydia can experience a complete cure while patients not strictly adhering to care instructions will remain infected.
The time period you must take an antibiotic for a chlamydia infection is determined by the kind of chlamydia infection you and the kind of medication used to treat it. Some antibiotics are specifically formulated to target certain strains of bacterium. While doxycycline and azithromycin are popular choices for treating chlamydia, many people are unable to take these antibiotics. However, your health care provider can replace these antibiotics with one that agrees with your system. Your partner may also receive medication for the treatment of chlamydia as well. You should know that many doctors prescribe this medication for the partner of their patients without first examining the partner in question. Many chlamydia sufferers will take home additional medication for their partners, another aspect of treatment vital to the patient.
Treatment Without Any Symptoms?
If you have been diagnosed with a chlamydia infection, making sure you follow the instructions from your physician for treatment is essential for experiencing an effective cure. If you do not follow your doctor’s advice, you could end up with a number of more serious issues. Knowing you have this disease also means refraining from sexual intercourse until you are cured. Telling your partners about the infection is a good idea. Learning more about regularly scheduled testing for a chlamydia infection is smart and maintaining one can promote the benefit of remaining disease free and healthy.
In the case of pelvic inflammatory disease in women and epididymitis in men, hospitalization may be necessary for the administration of intravenous fluids and antibiotics. Hospitalization is generally advised for patients suffering with severe forms of chlamydia and advanced conditions caused by chlamydia.
Treatment Side Effects
Most every medication available carries some side effects. Physicians must consider whether a medication outweighs its side effects in providing effective cures or relief before prescribing them to patients. Always make sure to read the side effects of any medication you are prescribed for the first time. Doing so will help you to better identify them in the event you experience them. In the event commonly reported side effects do not go away on their own, you might consider asking your physician for a replacement. Be sure to alert your doctor before stopping any medication prescribed to you, with the exception of allergic reactions.
An allergic reaction to a medication can be serious ad cause asphyxiation. If you break out into hives that itch, experience swelling around the face and throat or if you experience rapid, irregular heartbeat, you could be having an allergic reaction. Seeking medical attention right away is important for treatment. Discussing with your doctor about the steps you should take during an allergic reaction is a good idea. Abdominal cramps, troubled breathing, fatigue and fever are also symptoms associated with a severe allergic reaction.
The most common side effects of antibiotics used for chlamydia include diarrhea, vomiting and nausea, vaginal discharge, vaginitis (itching) and abdominal cramps.
Facts About Antibiotics And Pregnancy
Talk to your doctor about your plans to become pregnant or if you are pregnant when you are prescribed medication. You should also know that while taking some antibiotics while pregnant, you run the risk of birth defects in your unborn child. Making sure you discuss all your treatment options with your physician is important to avoid complications with your unborn child. Many birth control pills may not be as effective while you take some prescribed medications like antibiotics as well. In pregnant women, chlamydia can take as long as two weeks to cure with amoxicillin. Your physician can explain your best treatment options while being pregnant. Some of the antibiotics prescribed for chlamydia and other types of infections are:
- Azithromycin- Generally given as one time treatment -1 gram, single dose
- Doxycycline- Given 100 mg twice a day for 7 days.
How Long Does It Take For Effective Chlamydia Treatment?
Patients should be advised that one time dose treatments also take seven to ten days to perfect a cure. In most cases, chlamydia can be fully cured in seven to ten days of effective antibiotic treatment. Some antibiotics are given as a single dose, one time, while others are prescribed for seven to ten days, twice daily. Avoiding sexual intercourse during this time is recommended. You should make sure your partner has also completed an effective treatment for chlamydia before engaging in sexual activities to prevent reinfection. Discuss with your doctor about testing every three months after your initial treatment for chlamydia. Test results for most of the diagnostics available for chlamydia will pick up the infection during the first three weeks post treatment. If you would like to have a test done to make sure you are cured after following treatment, you should talk with your doctor about the best time for doing so due to false positive readings during the three weeks. You should know that you are no longer contagious if you complete antibiotic treatment.
Facts About Preventing Chlamydia
Women up to the age of twenty five that are sexually active should discuss with their doctors about regular screenings for chlamydia. If you have more than one sexual partner, you should also have regular screenings done as well. Men of the same age group should also seek regular chlamydia screenings for ensuring the lowered risk of future health problems.
Remaining in a relationship with only one un-infected person is the best way to avoid getting chlamydia.
Using a condom during sexual intercourse can also help to prevent the transmission of chlamydia.
Avoid spreading chlamydia when are infected by not engaging in sexual activity. Be sure to tell your partners about your infection so they can seek treatment also. Always avoid sexual intercourse during a treatment course for this disease.
Inform And Educate
Parents with sexually active teens should be sure to discuss disease and how to prevent with their children. Learning more about how to avoid getting a disease through all forms of sexual contact is an essential aspect of staying healthy and avoiding serious complications later on in the future. Your doctor can help you to learn more about chlamydia and other sexually transmitted disease for helping you correctly inform your teens. Be sure to alert your teen about how some diseases carry no visible symptoms, so a partner could have one without knowing it. Taking your teen aged children for regularly scheduled physical exams is important, especially if you suspect your teen is sexually active. Catching a disease in its earliest stages is best for experiencing a faster cure. Preventing the onset of sexually transmitted diseases is a lot easier and healthier than going through the treatment.
Before you engage in sexual activity with a new partner, learning more about that person’s risk for disease is important. Consider how you could be infected without knowing it, so the same could be true for a new partner. Many people ask new partners to have a health exam before having any type of sexual contact. Remember you are at higher risk if you have more than one partner.
Women should always choose to have condoms on hand for sexual intercourse, even if you use another form of birth control. Condoms are more effective at helping to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Condoms are available for women that are good to use when men refuse to wear one.
Kissing does not cause the transmission of chlamydia. The risk of someone contracting chlamydia by kissing someone is extremely low. However, if you have been cured of chlamydia, avoiding it is best. Refrain from having unprotected sex and always make sure your partners use protection as well. People that are sexually active should keep in the risks associated with unprotected sexual intercourse.