Chlamydia

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection affecting both men and women. It can lead to permanent damage to a woman’s reproductive system making it difficult or impossible to get pregnant. Chlamydia can also lead to an ectopic pregnancy which can be deadly. An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy outside of the uterus.  

Transmission 

You can get chlamydia through vaginal, anal, and oral sex without a condom with someone who is already infected. If you are pregnant, chlamydia can infect your baby at delivery causing eye infections and even pneumonia. All women should be tested at their first obstetrical appointment.  

Symptoms 

Chlamydia may have no symptoms and still cause damage to your reproductive tract. Women may experience abnormal vaginal discharge or burning with urination. Men may experience a discharge from their penis, burning with urination, and less commonly pain and swelling in both testicles. With rectal sex symptoms include rectal pain, bleeding, and discharge.  

Diagnosis & Treatment 

Chlamydia is diagnosed by lab testing, usually a swab. Your healthcare provider can prescribe you medication. If you get a diagnosis of chlamydia, you will get an antibiotic. For a one-day treatment you must abstain from sexual contact for a minimum of 7 days. Should you be given a longer treatment you must abstain from sexual conduct until you have completed all your medication. Do not share your medication as there is not enough to treat others. All partners must be treated to prevent spread.  

Summary

Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. The CDC reported over 4 million infections in 2018. Practice safe sex using condoms or be in a monogamous relationship where partners are both tested negative prior to sex. Women should be tested annually if they are sexually active. Chlamydia is easy to treat, so if you are sexually active annual testing is recommended.  

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Sharon Zell NP