Could You Have A Chlamydia Infection?
Chlamydia is one of the most prevalent of all sexually transmitted infections. This is mostly because this condition often causes no symptoms in its initial phases, but is highly contagious. However, if it is left without being seen to, then it can cause some serious and lasting health problems. So how can you protect yourself from getting a chlamydia infection and how do you tell if you already have it?
This sexual infection is caused by a kind of bacteria that can be passed on from one sexual partner to another during unprotected sex or even heavy petting. The bacteria’s scientific name is chlamydia trachomatis, but you may sometimes hear it referred to as the “clap” as well. Over time it can spread through your urinary tract as well as inhabit your reproductive system.
You could already have this infection and not even be aware of it. Often there are no immediate symptoms so if you have been sexually active you should have a sexual health test performed through your local sexual health clinic or family planning center.
Symptoms of this condition are generally quite mild to begin with, but they may include the following: in females – vaginal irritation, burning when urinating, out of the usual vaginal discharge, and pain or discomfort in the lower abdominal region and in males – discharge coming out of the tip of the penis and irritation or burning when urinating.
The first stages of the infection are mild or even completely unnoticed, but if you do not get the required treatment, it can lead to longer term issues with your health which may include infertility. As well as this you can have scarring on your fallopian tubes, pelvic inflammatory disease in females and epididymitis in males, which is a kind of painful inflammation of the testicles.
You can catch this infection in only one of two ways: through direct sexual contact with an infected partner or having the infection passed from mother to baby while in utero. If pregnant, you should have a test done in the early stages to ensure that your sexual health is in good condition. If you find that you are diagnosed with this infection, you can clear it up with a 7-10 day course of a prescribed antibiotic. Telling any recent sexual partners about the condition is also the right and responsible thing to do.
By always using a condom you can protect yourself against contracting this condition or other sexually transmitted diseases. It is important that you realize that other methods such as the contraceptive pill, diaphragms and IUDs will not protect you against IUDs. If you are active sexually, then you should have a test every year to ensure you are clear from any STIs.
After you have completed your treatment for a chlamydia infection, you should have a follow up test done three months later. This will ensure that the medication has worked and all of the bacteria were eliminated. This is an important step as around 20 per cent of people will experience a relapse.