Chlamydiasis, usually referred to simply as Chlamydia, is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis. It can be transmitted during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Hence, men who perform sex with men are also at a risk of developing the disease. Chlamydia can be more easily transmitted in a teenage girl or younger woman as her cervix (opening of the uterus) is less matured as compared to an older woman. Many people with Chlamydia may be asymptomatic in the early stages. Therefore, Chlamydia is also referred to as a silent disease.
In the early stages of the disease, patients may exhibit few or no symptoms at all. Symptoms usually start appearing only after one to three weeks of exposure. Symptoms differ in men and women. Men with Chlamydia may have a discharge from their urethra or a burning sensation while urinating. They may also complain of itching over the head of the penis. Rarely, they could have a testicular swelling with pain.
Women with Chlamydia may complain of abnormal vaginal discharge or a burning sensation while urinating, lower abdominal discomfort, lower back pain, feverishness with or without nausea, pain during sexual intercourse, and bleeding in between menstrual periods. Chlamydia is essentially caused by a type of bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis. Although commonly spread through sexual intercourse, Chlamydia can also be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her unborn child.
Chlamydia can be easily treated using antibiotics. Chlamydia patients that are HIV positive are also treated in the same way. It is advisable to avoid sexual intercourse till the disease is completely treated. Women are at a greater risk of contracting the infection. Having multiple sex partners increases the risk manifolds and also increases the possibility of suffering from some other sexually transmitted disease (STD). Women who have been treated for Chlamydia should get tested again after three to four months of treatment.
The infection can be prevented by avoiding multiple sex partners. Males should use latex condoms and females must use polyurethane condoms during sexual intercourse to reduce the chances of getting infected. The best way to prevent Chlamydia is by restricting yourself to a single sexual partner. This will help to prevent almost all the sexually transmitted diseases. Women are advised not to use douches as these are known to decrease the number of good bacteria present in the vagina.
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