Sexually transmitted infections or STI’s for short, are on the rise and not just in the younger generation, as first thought, though it is most prominent. One of the most commonly diagnosed is chlamydia, although this does not mean it is one of the most common because many other sexually transmitted infections go undetected or treated. In UK, the cases of chlamydia have steadily increased, though it is thought to be because of better awareness and testing for it. The reason why more awareness has been created for chlamydia is because it is often known as the silent disease, because of the apparent lack and delay of symptoms.
Have Safe Sex and Prevent Chlamydia
Men are more likely to have symptoms because, 50% of men have no symptoms and 75% of women have no symptoms. This makes it one of the trickier STI’s to detect, and it is only usually after a urine test or when seeking treatment for a seemingly unrelated problem is chlamydia detected. However, many cases of chlamydia go unnoticed for years.
The Government introduced free chlamydia testing, because they understand that when chlamydia is detected early it can be easily treated with antibiotic medication and usually not have any long-term effects on health. It is when people go undiagnosed for months or years that health problems can result and it can be that a person becomes infertile due to the chlamydia infection. The Government has done a good thing here because they are sending out the message that get noticed and get treated or don’t get treated and have long-term health problems. Because chlamydia goes undetected, they urge people to get tested just in case because many people do not have any symptoms.
Chlamydia can be contracted by having sexual contact with another person in a variety of ways including: unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex, by sharing sex toys when a condom hasn’t been used or washed thoroughly afterwards, or even genital contact. One of the more concerning issues about chlamydia is that because of the lack of symptoms, persons infected can easily pass it on to subsequent sexual partners and thus it carries on the infectious cycle. In UK, it is estimated that 1 in 20 women who are sexually active are infected with chlamydia at any one time.
The symptoms of chlamydia in women are usually less noticeable than of that in men. Chlamydia in women may not even produce any symptoms ( this happens in about 7 out of 10 women), which of course makes it very difficult for a woman to realize something is wrong, let alone see a doctor and get it sorted. Another thing that can be unsettling is that if there are any symptoms, they can take as long as 3 weeks to appear, which the woman may then not associate as having an STI.
The symptoms of chlamydia in women can include any of the following:
- Bleeding after sex.
- Bleeding between periods or heavier periods than usual.
- Pain during sex, and sometimes bleeding as well.
- Cystitis, a painful condition that causes pain or a burning sensation when urinating.
- Vaginal discharge which is due to the cervix becoming inflamed, and is different from the woman’s normal discharge.
- Pain in the abdomen, particularly during sex.
Women who have anal sex can actually see the inflammation and symptoms of chlamydia manifest in rectum. The official medical term for this is Proctitis. Symptoms can then include the following:
Chlamydia can cause long-term fertility problems in women, because left untreated the infection spreads to the womb (cervix). This is known as Pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, and this is a major cause of women fertility problems including, ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages, and ultimately infertility.
An infected woman can pass on chlamydia to her unborn baby and when the baby is born can exhibit some symptoms, usually in the form of conjunctivitis in the baby’s eyes or more severely, pneumonia.
It is important to remember two things. The first being that prevention is always better than treatment, and so protection should always be used during sexual intercourse because this reduces the risk. Secondly it is vital to be checked for chlamydia because if found it can be treated with antibiotics, if it is left it can cause serious fertility issues and other health problems.