Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection(STI/STD). It is caused by a bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis. This disease can cause significant health issues in those who contract it. However, it is easy to detect and is treatable with antibiotics.
How It Is Transmitted
Chlamydia can reside in the genitals, rectum, and oral cavities. As such, it can be transmitted through unprotected vaginal, anal, and oral sex. It can also be passed from mother to child during delivery.
Who It Affects
Both men and women can be infected with chlamydia. It is more common in younger people, those with multiple partners, and those who engage in unprotected sex.
Chlamydia STD is largely asymptomatic. However, it does sometimes present with symptoms, especially as the disease advances. These include:
- Painful urination, often with a burning sensation
- Burning or itching on and around the genitals
- Vaginal or penile discharge, possibly with a strong smell
- Rectal discharge
- Rectal bleeding
- Testicular swelling
- Pain during intercourse
- Abdominal pain
When left untreated, chlamydia can result in significant health problems. In women, it can spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes, cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which can permanently harm the reproductive system and cause infertility and result in chronic pain. Contracting it more than once increases the risk of ectopic pregnancies as well. In men, it can cause epididymitis, which is an infection of the tube that carries the sperm. This may cause pain, fever, and infertility.
Both men and women who contract chlamydia are at risk of developing arthritis and are more susceptible to HIV. Mothers who have the disease during the birth of their child may give the disease to their infant, resulting in eye infections and pneumonia. It also increases the risk of premature birth.
Because chlamydia is often asymptomatic, it is important that anyone who is sexually active is tested for it and other STDs at least once a year.