How Chlamydia Can Ruin Your Sexual Health

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chlamydia on cardboard sign

Did you know that Chlamydia is one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted infections in the world? In the United States alone, there are more than one million reported cases every year, and health experts believe that the actual number of infections is two to three times that, as many incidents go undetected and undiagnosed.

Caused by bacteria, Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection that can strike anyone — men, women, young, or old. It does not always trigger noticeable signs and symptoms in the beginning, but it can inflict serious harm and damage if it progresses to its advanced stage.

Who can get Chlamydia?

Chlamydia does not care about your age, job, goals in life, social status, and others. It can get you anytime. However, its chances of infecting you are dependent on certain factors that increase your risk, such as:

    • Having multiple sex partners

If you have multiple sex partners at one time, it can be hard to keep track if everyone is free of any sexually transmitted infections that can stealthily creep up on you. Your risk of getting infected rises even higher if they too have other sexual partners aside from you.

    • unprotected sex, piercing condomEngaging in unprotected sex

Condoms do not offer a 100% guarantee of keeping you safe from sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, and others, but they can significantly lower your risk of contracting bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that can be detrimental to your sexual and reproductive health.

    • Having an active sex life at an early age

According to data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, a large number of reported cases of Chlamydia and other sexually transmitted infections is made up of young people below the age of 25. This is probably due to a variety of reasons, including hormones and lack of proper sex education.

    • Having had Chlamydia or some other sexually transmitted infection before

If you have a history of Chlamydia infection or other sexually transmitted infections, your odds of contracting Chlamydia or others are significantly higher compared to those that have not encountered any before.

How is Chlamydia spread?

Chlamydia is usually passed on from one individual to another through sexual intercourse — whether vaginal, oral, or anal.

If you engage in unprotected sex with a partner that has Chlamydia, you are highly likely to contract it. Moreover, even though no ejaculate or semen is released during sex, the infection can still spread through skin-to-skin sexual contact.

Also, Chlamydia can be passed on from an infected pregnant woman to her baby at the time of delivery. For this reason, expectant mothers are advised to undergo various tests and screenings for sexually transmitted infections throughout their pregnancy, ensuring that the proper care and treatment is given to protect the baby.

Another important thing to remember is that being infected by Chlamydia in the past does not give you immunity to it. People who have been infected by Chlamydia and received treatment for it can still be infected again if they have sex with a person who carries the Chlamydia bacteria.

What are the common signs and symptoms of Chlamydia?

Most of the time, Chlamydia does not cause visible signs and symptoms upon infecting an individual. It takes some time before anything that can be seen or observed pops up, and that usually happens a few weeks after initial exposure to the bacteria. Below are the common warning signs of Chlamydia to watch out for:

  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Strange-colored and foul-smelling discharge from the penis in men or the vagina in women
  • Pain when urinating
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Pain in the testicles in men
  • Bleeding after sexual intercourse or between menstrual periods in women
  • Pain, discharge, or bleeding in the rectum
  • Conjunctivitis, which is an eye infection that occurs when the eye comes into contact with infected bodily secretions

How is Chlamydia diagnosed and treated?

To detect Chlamydia, you have to undergo a Chlamydia test. There are different types of testing methods available, and you should go see your doctor to find the best method for you. Below are the commonly used Chlamydia screening tests:

    • positive chlamydia blood testUrine test

This is conducted by taking a sample of your urine to be examined for traces of the infection in the laboratory.

    • Swab test

This is conducted by taking a swab sample of discharge from the end of the penis in men or the cervix in women, and in some cases, from the anus too.

If you receive a negative test result, this means that you are Chlamydia-free. The next time you have sex, be a lot more careful to not put your health in danger of not only Chlamydia but other sexually transmitted infections as well.

On the other hand, if you receive a positive result, this means that you have Chlamydia. You must sit down with your doctor and discuss how to proceed. Usually, Chlamydia is treated using antibiotics, which are taken either as a one-time dose or a daily treatment for a period of one to two weeks.

What will happen if Chlamydia is left undiagnosed or untreated?

There are plenty of risks associated with undiagnosed or untreated Chlamydia. It can be extremely dangerous not only to your sexual health but also to your overall health and wellbeing.

If you do not seek the proper treatment for your Chlamydia as soon as possible, you can be in danger of:

    • Other sexually transmitted infections

Having Chlamydia increases your risk of syphilis, gonorrhea, HIV, and other sexually transmitted infections.

    • Pelvic inflammatory disease or PID

In women, Chlamydia that is not treated right away can spread to the fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, and cervix, impairing their reproductive system and causing pelvic inflammatory disease or PID.

    • Prostate gland infection

In men, Chlamydia that is not treated right away can spread to the prostate gland, causing harm and damage to their prostate and complications like prostatitis.