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Chlamydia

Chlamydia: Introduction

Chlamydia infection is one of the most common types of sexually transmitted disease. Chlamydia infection is the result of a bacterial infection of the genital tract by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. Chlamydia infection is passed from one person another during sexual contact that involves vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Chlamydia infection can also be passed from an infected mother to her baby during vaginal delivery and result in eye infection, blindness, and pneumonia in the newborn.

Chlamydia infection that is caught early can be quickly and easily treated. However, if left untreated it can lead to serious complications, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, scarring of the fallopian tubes, infertility, prostatitis, epididymitis, and ectopic pregnancy. Having a chlamydia infection also puts a person at greater risk for contracting HIV.

Any person that engages in sexual activity can contract and pass on a chlamydia infection. This includes heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual men and women. The more sexual partners a person has, the greater the risk of catching a chlamydia infection. Young girls and young women have an especially high risk of developing a chlamydia infection because their reproductive organs are not fully mature and are more susceptible to infection.

Symptoms of chlamydia vary between individuals, and it is not uncommon for women to have no symptoms until complications, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, develop. Symptoms of chlamydia infection include lower abdominal pain and painful or burning with urination. Women may experience unusual vaginal discharge and painful sexual intercourse. Men may experience discharge from the penis and testicular pain. For more details on symptoms, refer to symptoms of chlamydia.

Making a diagnosis of chlamydia infection can easily be made by taking a medical and sexual history, performing simple chlamydia testing, and completing a physical and pelvic examination for women and an exam of the penis and testicles for men. During the examination, the health care practitioner will assess the reproductive organs and take a swab sample of the woman's cervix or the man's urethra and have it tested for the presence of chlamydia. For women with severe symptoms, a pelvic ultrasound may also be done.

Because there may be no symptoms, some infected people may be unaware of a problem, and a diagnosis of chlamydia infection can be missed or delayed. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of chlamydia.

The first step in the treatment of chlamydia infection is prevention. Prevention of chlamydia infection is best accomplished by abstaining from sexual activity or having sex only within a mutually monogamous relationship in which neither partner is infected with a sexually transmitted disease. Latex condoms also provide some protection when used properly.

Treatment of an uncomplicated chlamydia infection includes antibiotic therapy. Hospitalization may be necessary if the woman is acutely ill with such complications as pelvic inflammatory disease, abscess or high fever. Prompt diagnosis and treatment increases the chances of preserving fertility in both men and women. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of chlamydia. ...more »

Chlamydia: Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by Chlamydia trachomatis, a bacterium, which can damage a woman's reproductive ... more about Chlamydia.

Chlamydia: Common sexually transmitted disease often without symptoms. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Chlamydia is available below.

Chlamydia: Animations

Chlamydia: Broader Related Topics

 

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