Ask Your Doctor: CHLAMYDIA

By anguillian July 31, 2017 12:29




Sexually transmitted infections are very common in many countries, including Anguilla. Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Anguilla, affecting both females and males. If chlamydia is not diagnosed and treated correctly it can lead to very serious complications including infertility.
What is chlamydia?
Chlamydia, also called chlamydia trachomatis, is caused by bacteria. You may not know you have chlamydia because many people never develop the signs or symptoms, such as genital pain and discharge from the vagina or penis. This sexually transmitted infection can affect individuals of all ages but is very common in sexually active young persons. Fortunately, it is very easy to treat once it is diagnosed in its early stages.

How is chlamydia spread?
Chlamydia is passed on from one person to another through unprotected sex (sex without a condom) and is particularly common in sexually active teenagers and young adults. You can get chlamydia by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has chlamydia.
If you are pregnant, you can give chlamydia to your baby during childbirth.
Early-stage chlamydia trachomatis infections often cause few or no signs and symptoms. When signs or symptoms occur, they usually start one to two weeks after exposure to chlamydia. Even when signs and symptoms occur, they’re often mild and passing, making them easy to overlook.

What are some signs and symptoms of chlamydia infection?
Many individuals with chlamydia infection do not have any or very few signs and symptoms. When there are signs and symptoms, they might be very vague and non-specific but might include the following:
• Painful urination
• Lower abdominal pain
• Vaginal discharge in women
• Discharge from the penis in men
• Painful sexual intercourse in women
• Bleeding between periods and after sex in women
• Testicular pain in men
Chlamydia can also infect the rectum. While these infections often cause no signs or symptoms, you may experience rectal pain, discharge or bleeding.

Following a clinical history and examination, the diagnosis of chlamydia can be confirmed by various tests.

Once the diagnosis is confirmed, treatment should be started. Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics. In most cases, the infection resolves within one to two weeks. During that time, you should abstain from sex. Your sexual partner or partners also need treatment even if they have no signs or symptoms. It is important that any other sexual partners you have had, during the last six months, are also tested and treated to help stop the spread of the infection.
Having chlamydia, or having been treated for it in the past, provides no immunity against reinfection in the future.

Some complications can occur if chlamydia is not treated. A leading complication of chlamydia infection is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can damage the fallopian tubes, ovaries and uterus, including the cervix.
A chlamydia infection can inflame the coiled tube located beside each testicle (epididymis). The infection may result in fever, scrotal pain and swelling. The chlamydia organism can spread to a man’s prostate gland. Chlamydia infection can pass from the vaginal canal to your child during delivery, causing pneumonia or a serious eye infection.
Chlamydia infections can cause scarring and obstruction in the fallopian tubes, which may make women infertile.

How can you reduce the risk of getting chlamydia infection?
The only way to avoid sexually transmitted infections is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting chlamydia:
• Be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative sexually transmitted test results;
• Use latex condoms correctly every time you have sex.

Chlamydia is a common infection spread through sexual contact. This infection infects both men and women, but is very common in sexually active young adults. If diagnosed and treated early chlamydia does not cause problems but if left untreated, it can lead to serious problems including severe damage to the reproductive system resulting in infertility. If you think you might have this infection have a talk with your healthcare provider today.

Ask Your Doctor is a health education column and is not a substitute for medical advice from your physician. The reader should consult his or her physician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field are ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.

Dr Brett Hodge MB BS DGO MRCOG, is an Obstetrician/Gynaecologist and Family Doctor who has over thirty-two years in clinical practice. Dr Hodge has a medical practice in The Johnson Building in The Valley (Tel: 264 4975828).

By anguillian July 31, 2017 12:29


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