Chlamydia, a common STD caused by the Chlamydia trachomatis bacterium, can affect anyone regardless of age and gender. This infection is passed through unprotected sex or direct contact with genital fluids of infected person and even transmitted from mother to her baby.
Like many other STDs, chlamydia usually has no signs and symptoms, making it difficult to know if you are infected with it. People infected with chlamydia, as a result, may pass the infection to their sexual partners unknowingly. However, if symptoms are apparent, they can include:
● Abnormal discharge from vagina/penis
● Burning urination
● Pain during intercourse (women)
● Unusual bleeding during periods or after sex (women)
● Tummy or pelvic pain (women)
● Testicular pain (men)
Chlamydia can also occur in the rectum, throat or eyes if you have unprotected anal or oral sex or if you have direct contact with infected body fluids. Though most infections cause no symptoms at all, you may experience abnormal discharge from the rectum, rectal pain, conjuctivitis, etc.
Chlamydia can be treated with appropriate antibiotics. However, you can become reinfected with chlamydia after treatment if you have sex with the infected person or have direct contact with infected bodily fluids.
If left untreated, chlamydia can lead to serious complications, including:
● Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) in women: PID is a serious infection of the female reproductive organs, which can lead to long-term pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy and even infertility.
● Pregnancy problems: Mothers diagnosed with chlamydia have a higher risk of having miscarriages and preterm births.
● Infections in newborns: Babies born to mothers with chlamydia will have infections in the eye (conjunctivitis) or in the lung (pneumonia) or both.
● Reactive arthritis: A form of arthritis affecting your joints, eyes or urethra.
● Epididymitis in men: Epididymitis is an inflammation of the epididymis or the firm tube carrying sperm at the back of each testicle, which can lead to male infertility.
You can protect yourself from chlamydia and other STDs by:
● Practice safe sex. Use condoms or dental dams every time you have sex to help reduce your risk of getting or transmitting the infection.
● Avoid sharing sex toys as you can be infected with STDs through direct contact with infected bodily fluids.
● Get tested for chlamydia and other STDs. Have regular sexual health checkups.
● Limit the number of your sexual partners as the more sex partners you have, the higher risk you will contract an STD.
● Know your and your partner’s STD statuses well.
● Strictly and carefully follow your doctor’s treatment plan. Avoid having sex until you and your partner(s) are completely treated.