The Unexpected Dangers and Risks of Chlamydia

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Introduction

There are many different types of infectious diseases. These include bacterial, viral, fungal, parasitic, and protozoal diseases. Amongst the bacterial diseases is Chlamydia. Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial sexually transmitted disease in the United States. Chlamydia affects an estimated 2.86 million people each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “Almost two thirds of the new chlamydia infections occur among youth aged 15-24 years (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2016).

Etiology/ Mode of Transmission

Chlamydia Trachomatis is a common sexually transmitted disease that is caused by Chlamydia Trachomatis Bacterium and is most frequently passed on through vaginal, oral, and anal sex. It is also possible for a pregnant woman to spread Chlamydia to her baby during delivery, which could cause pneumonia or a serious eye infection in her newborn (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 1998-2019 ). It is primarily transmitted through vaginal and anal sex and more so through unprotected sex. It can be passed on even if the tongue or penis does not entirely go inside the vagina or anus. If the vagina, cervix, anus, penis, or mouth come into contact with infected secretions transmission is possible ( American Sexual Health Organization, 2017).

Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms usually occur within 3 weeks of exposure. There are many people that do not experience any symptoms. Both Chlamydia and Gonorrhea have similar symptoms and are often mistaken for each other. In women some symptoms include vaginal discharge or a burning sensation during urination. In the event the infection spreads to the fallopian tubes, women may also experience lower abdominal pain, back pain, pain during intercourse, nausea/ fever, and bleeding between periods. Some symptoms that affect men include pus (thick yellow-white fluid or watery discharge from the penis), pain or swelling of the testicles, and painful urination. Although most people are asymptomatic. Both men and women may experience inflamed rectum, urethra or eyelids. The most common symptoms for newborns are pink eye and Pneumonia (American Sexual Health Organization, 2017 ).

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Diagnosis

Screening and diagnosis of Chlamydia is simple. In women the doctor would swab your cervix for culture or antigen testing for Chlamydia, which can be done during a routine PAP test. A sample of your urine is also analyzed in a lab that can indicate whether there is a presence of chlamydia. For men, your doctor or primary care physician would insert a slim swab into the end of the penis to receive a sample from the urethra. They may also swab the anus (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 1998-2019).

Treatment

Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics. There are several types of ways you can be treated, either a single dose, or one may need to take medication each day or multiple times a day for five to ten days. It is usually treated within one to two weeks, however, during this period one should abstain from any sexual activities. Partners should also be treated to ensure the infection isn’t passed back and forth (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 1998-2019 ).

Complications

According to Dr. Ananya Mandal, there are several complications caused by Chlamydia. One of these complications is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, also known as PID, which can lead to permanent damage and infertility. It could also lead to inflammation of the testes, increased risk of HIV, joint pain, and other conditions. Chlamydia in pregnant women could cause them to be at high risk of going into premature labor (Mandal MD, 2019 ). People with Chlamydia are also at a higher risk to develop reactive arthritis, prostate gland infections and infections near the testicles such as epididymitis (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 1998-2019).

Prevention

The best way to prevent getting Chlamydia or any sexually transmitted disease is to abstain from any and all sexual activities. Aside from that, one should use protection such as male or female condoms, avoid douching, get tested regularly, and limit the number of sexual partners as this lowers your risk of getting Chlamydia (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 1998-2019).

Conclusion

Chlamydia Trachomatis can become very dangerous for anyone who gets infected. It is extremely important to take precautions and preventative measures to prevent getting infected. It is also of importance to notify your partners if you are diagnosed so they may receive treatment as well. Chlamydia affects so many people worldwide therefore it is crucial that everyone get tested regularly to prevent the spread of this infectious disease

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