Chlamydia trachomatis is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the United States. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chlamydia is the most commonly reported bacterial sexually transmitted infection in the country. Nearly three million cases of chlamydia were reported each year.
Chlamydia is more common among young people, specifically young women. The CDC estimates that the rate of chlamydia infection is much higher because there are usually no chlamydia symptoms in women. Therefore, many people do not know that they are infected. Learn more about chlamydia testing in this blog post.
Facts about chlamydia
These facts will help you determine if you are at risk for this STD.
Who is most at risk for chlamydia?
Chlamydia is an STD especially common among younger people. Nearly two-thirds of new chlamydia cases occur in youth aged 15 to 24. Sexually active women under the age of 25 are especially at risk for the disease. Other groups who should have a chlamydia test include:
- Men and women who have had multiple sex partners
- Pregnant women
- Anyone who currently has another sexually transmitted infection
- Anyone who does not use a condom during sexual intercourse
Causes of chlamydia
This STD is transmitted through sexual contact with the vagina, penis, anus or mouth of an infected partner.
Symptoms of chlamydia
Most people who have chlamydia have no symptoms at all. If symptoms are present, they include:
Here are the most common chlamydia symptoms in women:
- Vaginal discharge
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Pain when urinating
- Bleeding between periods
- Bleeding after sexual intercourse
Here are some of the chlamydia symptoms in men:
- Testicular pain
- Discharge from the penis
Chlamydia can infect the rectum, which can cause rectal pain and bleeding in both men and women. If you have any of the above symptoms, get a chlamydia test.
Complications of chlamydia
If you do not get treatment for chlamydia, this disease could cause serious complications, such as:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (in women): Pelvic inflammatory disease or PID is an infection of the uterus and Fallopian tubes. This infection causes fever, abdominal pain and severe pelvic pain. Severe PID infections can require hospitalization. PID can damage any part of the female reproductive system including Fallopian tubes, ovaries, and uterus, including the cervix. Chlamydia symptoms in women are very serious, which is why you should always address them.
- Infertility (in women): Chlamydia can cause obstruction and scarring of the Fallopian tubes, which can result in infertility in women.
- Problems during pregnancy: Chlamydia can be passed from the mother to the child during childbirth. This can cause pneumonia, blindness, and other serious problems in the newborn. The STD can also cause premature births.
- Nongonococcal urethritis (in men and women): Chlamydia can cause Nongonococcal urethritis, which is an infection of the urethra (the tube through which urine passes).
- Epididymitis (in men): This is an infection of the tube (epididymis) that carries sperm away from the testes.
- Proctitis: An inflammation of the rectum.
When to see a healthcare provider for testing
If you have any of the above symptoms, please see a doctor right away. Also, see a healthcare provider if your partner reveals that they have chlamydia.
Chlamydia screening is pretty simple. There are two ways that a doctor may perform a chlamydia test.
- A urine test: Your urine is sent to a laboratory where technicians analyze it for the presence of chlamydia.
- A swab: For women, a doctor will test the discharge from your cervix for chlamydia. This can be done during your routine pap smear. For men, the doctor will insert a tiny swab into the end of your penis to get a sample from your urethra. The doctor may also swab your anus. This procedure is relatively painless.
Healthcare providers treat chlamydia with oral antibiotics — usually Azithromycin or a similar antibiotic. To prevent reinfection, both you and your sexual partner should receive treatment.
The infection should clear up within a couple of weeks with treatment. You must finish all the antibiotics. If the infection is severe or does not go away with treatment, you may need to receive intravenous antibiotics in the hospital.
After taking antibiotics, your doctor will want to retest you again— in about three months — to make sure the infection is gone.
Worried about chlamydia?
If you’re worried about chlamydia or want to know more about it, Nao Medical is here for you. Our urgent care locations have the resources and expertise needed to provide accurate chlamydia tests and peace of mind. Additionally, our healthcare providers can offer advice on how to prevent chlamydia and other sexually transmitted infections in the future. So, schedule an appointment or visit a Nao Medical urgent care location near you today!