Chlamydia – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Chlamydia is caused by &25541;hlamydia trachomatis? a microscopic organism that has the characteristics of both a virus and a bacterium. It is spread by vaginal or anal sex, and if a person would touch their eyes with a contaminated hand, they could also develop conjunctivitis. Chlamydia is easily cured. Although about 80 percent of women that contract the disease don&25264; know they are infected until they develop serious complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease, which strikes 500,000 women annually and may result in sterility. Men that contract Chlamydia may also develop epididymitis, which is an inflammation of the scrotal tubes that can cause sterility. A sexually active woman who is not with a monogamous partner, need to be checked yearly for Chlamydia.

How common is Chlamydia

U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reports that more than 2 million people (age 14-39) are infected with Chlamydia in the United States. In 2006, over one million chlamydia cases were reported to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Under-reporting is substantial due to the fact that a large number of infected individuals are unaware of their infections and do not seek testing.

Chlamydia Causes

The bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis causes Chlamydia. The bacterium can enter the body and cause chlamydia infection when the mucous membrane (soft moist tissues of the body), such as the genitals or rectal area, come into contact with mucous membrane secretions, semen, or vaginal fluid of an infected person, primarily during vaginal or anal sex. Oral sex is not a common cause of infection with this bacterium.

Newborn babies can get infected if their mothers have chlamydia. Nearly two-thirds of infants born vaginally (i.e., not by caesarean) to infected mothers will contract chlamydia during delivery. In newborns, chlamydia infections appear as eye problems or respiratory problems rather than the typical genital infections seen in adults.

As it is common for someone with the chlamydia infection not to have symptoms, it is possible for him or her to infect a partner without knowing.

Trichomonas vaginalis: &25565;trawberry cervix?with punctate erythema, flagellated oval organisms on wet mount

Symptoms and Complications

Many women will have a consistent, slightly clear, non-odor-producing discharge, either midcycle or premenstrually, particularly if they are on oral contraceptives

Trichomonas vaginalis: &25565;trawberry cervix?with punctate erythema, flagellated oval organisms on wet mount

The majority of women with chlamydia do not have symptoms. Cervicitis (infection of the uterine cervix) is the most common manifestation of the infection. While about half of women with chlamydial cervicitis have no symptoms, others may experience vaginal discharge or abdominal pain. Infection of the urethra is often associated with chlamydial infection of the cervix. Women with infection of the urethra (urethritis) have the typical symptoms of a urinary tract infection, including pain upon urination and the frequent and urgent need to urinate.

Treatment for Chlamydia

A short course of an antibiotic usually clears chlamydial infection. Even if you have no symptoms, treatment is strongly advised to prevent possible complications. Tell your doctor if you are (or may be) pregnant. This may affect the choice of antibiotic. Do not have sex until you and your sexual partner have finished treatment (or for seven days after treatment with a ‘single dose’ antibiotic which is sometimes used).

Finding out that you have chlamydia may cause you to have negative thoughts or feelings about yourself or about sex. You may feel embarrassed, be angry at the person who infected you, or feel frustrated with treatment. You may want to seek counseling or join a support group for people with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). You may get counseling from a psychologist, a social worker, or another counselor. STD health clinics may offer counseling and support groups.