Did you know that several millions of people contract Chlamydia every year? And, in the United States alone, an estimated three million cases are reported annually, with a significant portion of them comprised of 14- to 24-year-olds?
Chlamydia is an infection caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. It can be transmitted from one person to another primarily through sexual contact. Because of how easily it can be spread, there is no surprise why it is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases today.
How do you contract Chlamydia?
Engaging in sexual activities with a person who is infected with Chlamydia is a surefire way of contracting the disease. Whether you partake in vaginal sex, anal sex, or oral sex, the bacterium can travel from your infected sex partner to you through the sex fluids exchanged during intercourse.
Chlamydia, however, cannot be passed on from one person to another through casual contact. So, do not worry about getting the infection just by kissing, holding hands, or hugging. You should also not believe that you can contract it by sharing foods or drinks with someone who is infected with it, or by being in close proximity to an infected person who coughs or sneezes. In addition, there is no truth that you can get infected if you use public restrooms or sit on the toilet. These are all common myths and misconceptions about Chlamydia transmission that are not supported by any scientific evidence at all.
What warning signs and symptoms should you expect to manifest if you have been infected with Chlamydia?
If you contract Chlamydia, you may not show any noticeable signs early on. The infection, oftentimes, takes some time to trigger symptoms that are observable and visible. For this reason, so many people who have Chlamydia are not aware that they have it, and they continue to have sex, unknowingly spreading the disease.
But, once Chlamydia starts causing symptoms, the following are what you should look for:
- There is a painful or burning sensation when you urinate.
- You feel pain during sex.
- There are pain sensations around your lower abdominal region.
- If you are a woman, there is a pungent, yellowish discharge from your vagina, and you bleed between your menstrual periods.
- If you are a man, there is a cloudy, milky, or watery discharge coming out of your penis, and there is tenderness or swelling in one or both of your testicles.
- You experience bleeding or abnormal discharge, accompanied by pain, around your anus.
- You get diarrhea.
- There is swelling in or around your anus.
- If the Chlamydia infection gets to your eyes, there is itchiness, redness, or an odd discharge.
- If the Chlamydia infection gets to your throat, experiencing soreness is typical.
When is the right time to get tested?
If you are sexually active, getting tested for Chlamydia and other sexually transmitted diseases has to be done regularly. Every time you start a new sexual relationship, you and your sex partner should undergo testing to ensure that the two of you are free from any of these dangerous infections.
The moment you experience the common Chlamydia signs and symptoms listed above, you should go get a Chlamydia test right away. You can go to your nearest STD clinic, and avail of low-cost (or sometimes even free), painless, and quick Chlamydia test for the proper and accurate diagnosis of the disease.
Usually, Chlamydia testing is done by examining a patient’s urine sample. So, you only have to pee in a cup, and submit the specimen to the laboratory for a closer look. In some cases, the screening method requires your doctor to procure a swab sample taken from your urethra, anus, or cervix or vagina (if you are a woman), and use that to find traces of the Chlamydia bacteria in your body.
And, because some of the symptoms of Chlamydia are similar to the symptoms of other sexually transmitted diseases, your doctor may require you to go through other STD tests to be 100% certain and precise.
What should you do after undergoing a Chlamydia test?
How to proceed after a Chlamydia test depends on your test result.
If you get a positive, this means that you have Chlamydia. So, you should talk to your doctor about what treatment methods you can avail of to cure your infection. You should also refrain from having sex to not further spread the disease. Inform your sex partner(s) about your diagnosis, so they can get tested too, and receive the necessary treatment.
If you get a negative, this means that you do not have Chlamydia. Moving forward, you should be a lot more careful when having sex. Use condoms properly, and do not forget to get tested regularly.
What are the common Chlamydia treatment options available today?
The Chlamydia infection can usually be effectively treated with antibiotic medications. If taken correctly, these antibiotics can cure more than 95% of Chlamydia infected individuals.
Usually, doctors prescribe these two antibiotics for Chlamydia treatment:
- Azithromycin – your doctor may require you to take 2 or 4 tablets of azithromycin all at once
- Doxycycline – your doctor may require to take 2 capsules of doxycycline a day for seven consecutive days
For infected people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have allergies, health professionals may prescribe different antiobitic medications for Chlamydia treatment. They may give erythromycin or amoxicillin, which is usually a 7-day or 14-day treatment regimen, or even longer, depending on how bad your condition is.
While undergoing treatment, your doctor will give you a lot of important advice on what you should and should not do during treatment. One of these is that you are prohibited from having vaginal, anal, or oral sex to prevent transmission. Even if you use a condom, sexual acts during Chlamydia treatment are strongly discouraged. You must wait at least one week after you have completed your treatment to minimize the risks of transmission and re-infection.