Medical information – Chlamydia

What is Chlamydia?

Sex is one of the most pleasing activities known to mankind. Unfortunately, pleasure does not come without risks and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are one of these risks. Worldwide, the most common sexually transmitted infection is Chlamydia. Definite assurance of whether one is infected can best be tackled with a Chlamydia test. These tests will help to reliably clarify if one has Chlamydia or not. Chlamydia is mainly caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis, but also other subgroups of Chlamydia, like Chlamydia pneunomiae and Chlamydia psittaci, have to be considered as possible causes.

Depending on the considered age group, up to ten per cent of the world population is infected with Chlamydia. Men and women can equally be infected with Chlamydia and can therefore both be transmitters of the bacteria. However, young girls and women are anatomically especially vulnerable to an infection through unsafe sex, because their cervix is very easily infected. According to estimations, around 300.000 women are newly infected with Chlamydia each year.

Causative pathogen of a Chlamydia infection

The causative pathogen of Chlamydia infections is the so called Chlamydia. This bacterium multiplies with the human cells and can cause – according to its type – different diseases. Of these types, the most common one is the bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis. This bacterium mainly causes diseases in the genital area and inflammations around the eye, which can even lead to blindness.

Process and significance of an infection

Especially people with frequently changing sexual partners and unsafe sexual encounters belong to the high risk group of Chlamydia infections. In addition, it is possible that an infected, pregnant woman passes the Chlamydia on to her new born child during birth. If not detected at an early stage, Chlamydia can lead to serious health damages. Consequently, it is of utmost importance to perform a Chlamydia test at the very first moment of faint suspicion.

Once being infected with Chlamydia, you cannot bluntly hope that the disease is going to disappear on its own. The earlier a Chlamydia test is performed, the better the chances of recovery. In most cases mucosae, urethra, intestinal or vagina are infected and even if the symptoms vanish after a while, this is no clear-cut promise that the Chlamydia infection is cured. In fact, only antibiotics are a safe treatment.

The earlier the medication is used, the better the recovery chances. In case you are unsure and fear a doctor’s appointment, our Chlamydia test is the best option for you! The consequences of Chlamydia for women can be infertility through uterus or uterine tubes infections. Men are likely to suffer from prostate infections, or problems with the spermatic cord. If you do not want to risk your health, it is best to buy a Chlamydia test to make sure that you are not suffering from a Chlamydia infection.

Symptoms and consequences of Chlamydia infections

The first symptoms normally begin to show around one to three weeks after the infection and should be taken very seriously. They could be itching, pain and a burning feeling when urinating or discharge in the genial area. However, it is all too common that no noticeable symptoms appear at first. Besides the risks named below, Chlamydia infections bear further serious health damages. According to latest studies, people that have been infected with Chlamydia have a greater tendency to be infected with HIV as well. Given this fact alone, the importance of a Chlamydia test becomes crystal clear. An accurate diagnosis and early treatment are crucial to avoid infections with other sexually transmitted diseases.

Typical symptoms of Chlamydia in men

Among the most common symptoms of Chlamydia in men are itching, pain and a burning feeling when urinating and purulent discharge in the genital area. Often, a Chlamydia infection in men stays undiscovered and untreated for a long time, because no clear, noticeable symptoms occur. In this case, the infected man can on the one hand unknowingly infect other people, and on the other hand suffer from long-term consequences, like infertility, due to the lack of treatment.

Typical symptoms of Chlamydia in women

Typical symptoms of Chlamydia in women are itching, pain and a burning feeling when urinating and thin, yellowish or purulent discharge in the genital area. However, in many cases where women were unknowingly infected with Chlamydia, they could not notice any symptoms which left the disease undiscovered and untreated for a long time. In these cases, the infected women can on the one hand unknowingly infect their partners, and on the other hand suffer from severe inflammations and even infertility, caused by the untreated Chlamydia infection.

Consequences of an untreated Chlamydia infection in men

An untreated Chlamydia infection in men can lead to severe inflammations and in some cases even to infertility. Men who were infected with Chlamydia often suffer from an inflammation of the urethra which causes a strong desire to void as well as dragging pain in the urethra. Additionally, Chlamydia in men can cause inflammations of prostate and epididymis.

Consequences of an untreated Chlamydia infection in women

In women, Chlamydia can especially cause endometritis, oophoritis and purulent tubal inflammation. These go hand in hand with fever, diarrhoea and severe stomach aches. If the infection remains untreated, the inflammations can cause scarring and adherence of the uterine tube, which can lead to infertility and a high risk of tubal pregnancy. It is estimated that in Germany, around 100.000 women are infertile due to Chlamydia infection.

Consequences of an untreated Chlamydia infection during pregnancy

Pregnant women who are infected with Chlamydia are more likely to suffer from premature rupture of membranes (PROM), preterm birth or even miscarriage. Also, they can infect their newborns with Chlamydia during birth.

Diagnosis of Chlamydia

In order to diagnose Chlamydia, a smear test as well as a urine sample is taken, which are afterwards analysed in a laboratory.

Laboratory analysis of urine samples and smear tests

If Chlamydia can be detected in the urine sample or smear test, an infection can be diagnosed with high probability. Using further special laboratory and molecular diagnostics, like biochemical technology, the diagnosis can then be ensured.

Regular preventative tests

As each year around 300.000 women are newly infected with Chlamydia in Germany and approximately 100.000 women are infertile due to Chlamydia, women are recommended to do an annual test on Chlamydia.

Therapy of Chlamydia infection using antibiotics

Chlamydia is mainly treated by using the antibiotics macrolide, tetracycline, doxycyclin or azithromycin. Pregnant women with an infection are usually treated with the antibiotics erythromycin, amoxicillin or josamycin. Depending on the type, the antibiotics have to be used once or over a time span of up to two weeks.

Because of the danger of infection, the partner of the infected person should also be tested and, if necessary, treated. Until the antibiotics start to be effective, sex should be abstained from for at least one week.

Prognosis and chances of recovery

As long as Chlamydia is detected early enough and treated with antibiotics, the prognosis is generally very good. The infection normally heals without causing permanent damage. Only if infections remain untreated or are not treated early enough, they can cause consequential problems like infertility.

You are tested positive. And now?

If you are tested positive for Chlamydia, you will have to contact your doctor immediately to get your STD treated right away. Chlamydia can be cured through a treatment of antibiotics.

Question

Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to have a look in our FAQ or contact us! You can reach us by mail or by phone. Your questions will be answered by one of our microbiologists or a scientist who is an expert on the specific STD.

Contact: Email address: info@microbiome.nl Tel. Nr.: +31 (0)20-4448307

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