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chlamydia facts, chlamydia symptoms, chlamydia treatment

Chlamydia Facts, Symptoms & Treatment

Chlamydia, nicknamed the clam, is the most commonly reported sexually transmitted disease in the United States. It is known as the silent epidemic, because many people who are infected don’t even know about it. While the symptoms are usually mild and chlamydia is easy to cure, untreated cases can lead to infertility in women and serious pregnancy complications.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, over 1.4 million cases of chlamydia infection were reported in 2012, and they note that under-reporting is substantial because most people who are infected are not aware of it and don’t seek testing or treatment until the symptoms show.  It is estimated that there are as many as 4 million new chlamydia infections in the United States each year.

 

Risk Factors for Chlamydia
Any sexually active person can be infected with chlamydia, and it can be transmitted during vaginal, oral or anal sex.  Young women are at a higher risk of infection because the cervix is not yet fully developed and more susceptible to infection. Health professionals recommend that sexually active women 25 or younger be tested for chlamydia every year.

 

Chlamydia Symptoms
The symptoms of chlamydia can vary greatly from absent to severe among both men and women.  Symptoms most commonly begin to show between 1 and 3 weeks after exposure.  Women most commonly develop the bacterial infection in the cervix and urethra, but can also develop the infection in the rectum or throat after having anal or oral sex with a person infected with chlamydia, or from sharing sex toys with an infected person.

In women, symptoms may include a burning sensation when urinating.  If the infection spreads to the fallopian tubes, symptoms can include abdominal pain, lower back pain, nausea, fever or bleeding between periods.

In men, symptoms may include discharge from the penis, a burning sensation when urinating, or a burning and itching sensation around the opening of the penis.  It is uncommon to have pain in the testicles or for a swelling of the testicles to occur.

In both men and women, receiving anal intercourse from an infected person can cause a bacterial infection in the rectum.  The symptoms of a rectal infection of chlamydia may be rectal pain, discharge or rectal bleeding.  Chlamydia can also be found in the throats of both men and women who have oral sex with an infected partner, and the symptoms can include a burning sensation in the throat.

 

Diagnosing & Treating Chlamydia
If you notice any of these symptoms or think that you may have had sexual contact with someone who is infected by chlamydia, be sure to see your doctor.  Your doctor can test for chlamydia, usually by taking a urine sample, and can prescribe an antibiotic to treat the infection.  As part of the treatment, infected persons should not have sexual contact until the full cycle of antibiotics has been completed.  Like with any antibiotic treatment, be sure to take all of your doses, even if you start to feel better or if symptoms begin to lessen.  Your sexual partners should also be treated for chlamydia; otherwise you run the risk of re-infection.

 

Sources
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
Healthline
Planned Parenthood

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