Facts About Chlamydia
Need to learn some facts about chlamydia? Every sexually active adult should be informed about it, because it is the single most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health. Fortunately, it is also highly treatable and highly preventable.
Chlamydia is caused by bacteria and is usually transmitted during vaginal, oral or anal sex. Pregnant women with chlamydia can even pass it to their babies if they give birth vaginally. Individuals who have sex with multiple partners are at the greatest risk of contracting the disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chlamydia is a “silent disease” because it does not always cause symptoms. Men with the disease sometimes experience painful urination, itching or burning in or around the penis, or some penile discharge. Women usually exhibit more symptoms in addition to genital discharge or painful urination, including stomach pain, back pain, nausea and fever.
To diagnose the disease, a doctor will take a sample of genital discharge or urine for testing. Doctors treat chlamydia with antibiotics, and it is easily cured. The disease is sometimes transmitted with gonorrhea or syphilis, so patients should be screened for additional diseases. Patients should also make sure that their partners are tested and treated, because chlamydia can be passed back and forth.
If left untreated, chlamydia complications can be severe for women. The infection can spread into a woman’s reproductive system and cause pelvic inflammatory disease. Pelvic inflammatory disease can cause serious damage, leading to chronic pain, scarring or infertility.
Because symptoms don’t always appear, doctors recommend that all sexually active adult women be screened for chlamydia annually. Latex condoms are effective in preventing transmission of the disease when used correctly. If an individual experiences genital symptoms, such as burning, itching or discharge, he should cease sexual activity and visit a physician.