Chlamydia Overview

Chlamydiosis is a bacterial infection with the Chlamydia infectious agent that is transmitted through sexual contact.It is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases worldwide. Chlamydia infects the urethra in men and the urethra, the cervix canal and the higher reproductive organs in women. Chlamydia can also infect the rectum and the ocular surface and eyelids. An infected mother can pass the infection to her baby during childbirth. Between 50% and 70% of the children born from infected mothers are infected at birth. They acquire the infection in the eye, rectum, vagina and posterior wall of the throat. Between 30% and 40% of these infected infants develop complications such as conjunctivitis or pneumonia. Chlamydia infection also increases the risk of infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in exposure. Chlamydiosis is an infection caused by a bacterial agent called Chlamydia trachomatis. It is transmitted through vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected partner. A pregnant woman can transmit the infection to the newborn during childbirth. Infection may be present even in the apparent absence of symptoms. However, the infection can still be transmitted until it is treated and completely cured.

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Risk factors for chlamydial infection may include:

  • Unprotected sex (without a condom)
  • More than one sexual partner
  • One or more than one partners with a heightened risk of contracting the disease. They include those who have more than one sexual partner infected with Chlamydia.
  • Starting your sexual life before the age of 18
  • A weakened or scanty immune system.

Any child with chlamydiosis requires a consultation done by a senior medical specialist to determine the exact cause of the ailment, and also to investigate a possible sexual abuse.

Chlamydia Symptoms

Up to 90% of women and men with chlamydiosis do not manifest any symptoms.

The time between infection and the onset of the symptoms, called the incubation period, can range from a couple of days to several months in many cases. Symptoms usually begin to show after 1-3 weeks after the intercourse with the infected partner.

Any child with chlamydiosis requires a consultation done by a senior medical specialist to determine the exact cause of the ailment, and also to investigate a possible sexual abuse.

Symptoms in women include:

  • Dysuria (burning or pain when urinating)
  • Cloudy urine
  • Abnormal vaginal loss
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding between menstrual periods
  • Genital pruritus (itching)
  • Dysmenorrhea (irregular menstrual bleeding)
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Fever and fatigue
  • Bartolinien swollen glands (glands at the vaginal opening)
  • Conjunctivitis.

Symptoms in men include:

  • Painful or an unpleasant sensation during urination (this one is often the first symptom to occur in men)
  • Cloudy urine
  • Watery or sticky penile secretions
  • Scabs on the surface of the penis
  • Anal and scrotal sensitivity
  • Conjunctivitis (it is a swelling, an inflammation, or an infection of the membrane lining the eyelids, of the conjunctiva).

Emergency medical consultation is recommended in case of the following symptoms:

In women:

  • Sudden onset of severe pain in the lower abdomen
  • Lower abdominal pain associated with vaginal bleeding or vaginal discharge and a fever of 37.8 C or more
  • Dysuria (burning sensation during urination), frequent urination, or inability to urinate and a fever of 37.8 C or more.

In men:

  • Discharges from the penis and a fever of 37.8 C or more
  • Dysuria (burning on urination), frequent urination, or inability to urinate and a fever of 37.8 C or more
  • Pain, swelling or tenderness of the scrotum and a fever of 37.8 C or more.

A physician should be consulted immediately if one or several of the following symptoms occur:

In women:

  • Yellow vaginal discharge, sticky or smelly
  • Intermenstrual bleeding occurring more than once when the cycles are fairly regular
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Bleeding after sexual intercourse or after a shower
  • Swelling, lumps, itching, growths or blisters around the genitals or anus
  • Burns, pain or itching when urinating or increased frequency of urination that lasts more than 24 hours
  • Lower abdominal pain or in the pelvic region without an obvious cause, such as diarrhea or menstrual cramps.

In men:

  • Swelling, lumps, itching around the genitals or anus
  • Burns, pain or itching when urinating or increased frequency of urination that lasts more than 24 hours
  • Abnormal discharges from the penis.

Chlamydia Treatment

An infection with Chlamydia can be cured with antibiotics. This disease does not cause long-term damage if treated in time, before any complications arise. Left untreated, it can cause multiple complications. Treatment is recommended for:

  • Persons who test positive for chlamydia
  • Sexual partners in the last 60 days of those infected, even if asymptomatic
  • Newborns of infected mothers during birth.

It is very important to avoid sexual intercourse for 7 days after receiving the treatment for chlamydia. If the sexual partner is not treated in parallel, at the same time, reinfection occurs. Using condoms is recommended for lowering the chance of reinfection. Some people who are infected with chlamydia, can also contract gonorrhea. In these cases, treatment includes antibiotics to cure both chlamydia and gonorrhea. Chlamydiene repeated infections increase the risk of sexually inflammatory disease. Even one infection can lead to a sexual inflammatory disease if not treated properly. Follow the prescription of antibiotics recommended by your doctor. Treatment must be complete, even if the symptoms improve after a few days. The antibiotic treatment, administered according to medical prescription, will cure chlamydia. If antibiotics are not taken properly, the infection will not be eradicated. Prompt treatment is recommended to prevent transmission of the infection and reduce the risk of complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease. Unprotected sexual intercourse should be avoided at all costs until the sexual partner or the infected individual has completely finished the treatment.

  • Azithromycin
  • Amoxicillin
  • Doxycycline
  • Erythromycin
  • Ofloxacin
  • Levofloxacin

All these antibiotics may be prescribed to men, and to women who are not pregnant. Pregnant women can take only the following antibiotics:

  • Erythromycin
  • Amoxicillin
  • Azithromycin

Infants can be administered only erythromycin. Retesting is recommended at 3-4 months post treatment to reduce the risk of complications caused by reinfection. The most common side effects of these drugs are nausea and vomiting. Azithromycin administered after meals reduces nausea. Doxycycline determines in fewer cases nausea and vomiting, but can cause fungal infections.

Chlamydia Testing

Chlamydia infection is diagnosed through medical history, physical examination as well as other tests. While taking the medical history, the physician should ask the following questions:

  1. Do you think you have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease? How do you know? Did you tell your partner?
  2. What are your symptoms?
  3. Are you having abnormal secretions? If so, it is worth mentioning its color and smell.
  4. You found swelling around the genital area or any other area of the body?
  5. You show urinary symptoms, including frequent urination, burning or stinging when urinating, or urinating in small amounts?
  6. Have pelvic pain or cramping during intercourse?
  7. What method of contraception do you use? Do you use a condom to protect yourself from STDs?
  8. You or your sexual partner have sexual risk behaviors?
  9. Have you ever suffered from any sexually transmitted disease in the past? If so, was it treated?

After the medical history has been determined, the following the following steps are recommended:

  • A gynecological exam for women
  • Urological examination (for urethritis or epididymitis) for men
  • A urine test for chlamydia if there is no reason to gynecological or urological examinations be made.

There are several types of tests that can be done to diagnose Chlamydia infection. Test results are usually available in 2-3 days, except for crops that require 5 to 7 days. Note: Prevention of a sexually transmitted disease is much easier than treating it.

References

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