Chlamydia is one of the most common and common sexually transmitted diseases, and although it can be easily treated, it can cause you a lot of problems if it is not caught in time.
Do you have any suspicions that you may have this infection? Do you have multiple sexual partners and don’t use protection? Has your partner confessed to you that he has it? Well, read on to find out everything you need to know about this infection.
What is it and how is it spread?
It is a common and treatable infection caused by the bacteria Chlamydia Trachomatis. This bacterium attacks the cells of the soft and moist tissues of the body that are not covered by skin, such as the vagina, cervix, anus, rectum or throat, in both men and women.
Being a sexually transmitted infection, chlamydia can be transmitted from one infected person to another mainly during unprotected anal or vaginal sex, that is, sex without a condom, and also, although less frequently, during oral sex.
To be infected, it is not necessary for the penis or tongue to necessarily reach the vagina or anus. If the genitals or mouth come into contact with secretions or fluids that are infected for example during sexual games or intimate rubbing without clothes, then transmission can occur. It is also possible to catch it by sharing or using sex toys that are not washed or covered with a new condom.
Another way to spread the infection is during childbirth. It can be passed from mother to newborn as the baby passes through the infected birth canal.
However, it is important to be clear that this infection is not transmitted through the toilet seat, by kissing or touching an infected person, or by sharing common areas such as the pool or bathtub.
What are the symptoms of this STD
Keep in mind that focusing on signs and symptoms is not reliable in determining whether a person has chlamydia. Why? First, because the symptoms are similar to those of gonorrhea, two infections that are often confused. Second, most women with chlamydia (and about half of men) do not have any symptoms. So you may not realize you have it.
And if they do, they show up within one to three weeks after infection. These symptoms can be different in men and women.
Most women do not experience any symptoms, and if they do, they are minor. These may include:
- Heavy vaginal discharge that may have a strong odor
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Pain in the lower abdomen and lower back.
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Bleeding between menstrual periods
- Inflammation of the rectum or urethra
- Nausea or fever
- Pain and redness in the throat or mouth
Men can be asymptomatic, or have minor symptoms like these:
- Pus (thick yellow-white fluid) or watery or milky discharge from the penis
- Pain or burning when urinating
- Burning or itching around the opening of the penis
- Pain or swelling of the testicle
- Pain and redness in the throat or mouth
- Inflammation of the rectum or urethra
The most common complications in newborns include conjunctivitis and pneumonia.
How to protect yourself from infection?
Like other sexually transmitted diseases, it’s up to you to prevent chlamydia. No, we are not going to tell you that abstinence is the best option (although of course it is a good way to avoid it). There are other ways to prevent it by being sexually active, and the most effective is the correct use of a condom, which will also act as a contraceptive and as a barrier to other sexually transmitted diseases.
Condoms are the best option to reduce the risk of transmission for both vaginal and anal sex. Because it can be transmitted even if the penis or tongue does not fully enter the vagina, mouth or rectum, the use of condoms at the beginning of sexual contact and throughout the act is essential to be more protected.
They can also be used as a barrier to prevent transmission during oral sex if you opt for the lubrication-free variety. Condoms, such as the Durex brand, are widely available at any pharmacy; even if the pharmacy is closed, there is often an outside dispenser so you can buy condoms at any time.
In addition to being affordable, its use is really simple, it is worth taking this minimum inconvenience, before dealing with a sexual disease and its possible consequences.
Another way to avoid infection is to practice mutual monogamy, that is, have sex with only one uninfected partner, and that she only has sex with you. Although of course, this is not an option for many people.
Any other method or technique will not work to prevent chlamydia. For example, water-based spermicides are not effective at preventing bacteria, or any other type of contraceptive, so play it safe and always have condoms handy.
Remember: having chlamydia in the past does not immunize you, you can get it again if you have unprotected sex with someone who has it.
What to do if you suspect you have an STD
Because symptoms may not appear, the only way to know if you have chlamydia is to get tested; so don’t hesitate to go to your GP if you notice any of the above symptoms, or if you have a partner who has a sexually transmitted disease.
Your doctor may request a urine sample, a quick and totally painless procedure. For women, it is generally recommended that they visit their gynecologist to obtain a sample from the vagina or cervix to test for chlamydia.
The test is important to also rule out that you have gonorrhea, a disease with very similar symptoms, but that needs a different treatment. And early detection is also important to receive treatment so that more serious health problems do not occur.
In any case, if you are sexually active, have more than one sexual partner, and do not use a condom, it is recommended that you get regular checkups to detect this infection or any other sexually transmitted disease.
Is there a treatment?
Yes, chlamydia is easy to treat and cure, but remember that just because you’ve had it once doesn’t mean you can’t get reinfected.
Being an infection, antibiotics (such as doxycycline or azithromycin) work very well to kill the bacteria. Go to your doctor to receive the most appropriate treatment, and follow his instructions to the letter to cure yourself.
In addition, you must inform your partner so that they can be tested and treated, and all sexual partners with whom you have had vaginal, anal or oral sex in the last 60 days. To prevent the spread of the disease, during the infection period you should not have sex until you are completely cured, and this will be determined by the doctor.
If symptoms have not gone away even after treatment is finished, another culture should be done to check that the infection has cleared. In some cases, such as pregnancy or a history of multiple infections, the doctor may decide to repeat a chlamydia test after treatment to make sure the infection is gone.
What happens if chlamydia is not treated?
If left untreated, it can cause complications that can lead to other illnesses.
Even if it starts in a specific area, it can spread to other areas, such as the fallopian tubes and / or the ovaries (in the case of women), causing pain in the lower abdomen, cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder), fertility problems and chronic pelvic pain.
In the case of men, failure to treat it can lead to an inflammation of the prostate gland, infertility or epididymitis (inflammation of the epididymis, which is the elongated cord-like structure that runs along the back of each testicle ).
Keep in mind that antibiotic treatment cannot repair any permanent damage that the disease has caused. Having a sexually transmitted disease, including chlamydia, increases your risk of getting HIV. This is because most STDs cause sores or lesions that make it easier for HIV to enter the body.
For all these reasons, protect yourself and see your doctor if you suspect you have any symptoms.
Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.