WHAT IS CHLAMYDIA? 


Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by an infection from a bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis. This infection is easily transmitted due to its lack of symptoms and it is very common among young people.


SYMPTOMS OF CHLAMYDIA:


Most people with Chlamydia do not notice any symptoms and do not know they have it unless tested. When symptoms do develop this can take a few weeks following infection to occur.

If you do develop symptoms, you may experience:

Women


  • Pain when having sex
  • Itching or burning sensation around the vagina
  • Pain when urinating
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge that may have an odour
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Painful periods
  • Abdominal pain with fever



 Men


  • Small amounts of clear or cloudy discharge from the tip of the penis 

  • Painful urination 

  • Burning and itching around the opening of the penis
  • Pain and swelling around the testicles 


 
If you think you're at risk of having an STI or have any symptoms of Chlamydia, visit your doctor, community contraceptive service or local genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic to get tested.



TRANSMISSION?


  • Sexual contact: Contact with the penis, vagina, mouth, or anus of an infected partner. 
  • Ejaculation is not required: for Chlamydia to be transmitted or acquired. 
  • Oral Sex: Chlamydia can also be found in the throats of women and men having oral sex with an infected partner
  • During childbirth: From an untreated mother to her baby during childbirth, resulting in pneumonia in some exposed infants. 
  • Can relapse: People who have had Chlamydia and have been treated may get infected again if they have sexual contact with a person infected with Chlamydia. 


 
COMPLICATIONS OF CHLAMYDIA:

If Chlamydia is left untreated, it can sometimes spread and cause potentially serious problems.

In women:

Chlamydia can spread to the womb, ovaries or fallopian tubes. This can cause a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

PID can cause  serious problems, such as:

  • difficulty getting pregnant or infertility
  • persistent (chronic) pelvic pain
  • an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy (where a fertilised egg implants itself outside the womb)


The symptoms of PID are generally similar to the symptoms of Chlamydia, including discomfort or pain during sex, pain during urination, and bleeding between periods and after sex.

Also, pregnancy complications, Chlamydia during pregnancy can pass unto the baby and cause an infection. If this happens, the baby may develop an eye infection (conjunctivitis) and lung infection (pneumonia).

 
In men:


  • Inflammation of the testicles- In men, Chlamydia can spread to the testicles and epididymis (tubes that carry sperm from the testicles), causing them to become painful and swollen. This is known as epididymitis or epididymo-orchitis.

  • The inflammation is usually treated with a course of antibiotics. If it's not treated, there's a possibility it could lead to infertility.

 

  • Reactive arthritis- Chlamydia is the most common cause of sexually acquired reactive arthritis (SARA). This is where the joints, eyes or urethra (the tube urine passes out of the body through) become inflamed, usually within the first few weeks after having Chlamydia.



Untreated Chlamydia may increase a person’s chances of acquiring or transmitting HIV.


TREATMENT:

Chlamydia can usually be effectively treated with antibiotics. More than 95% of people will be cured if they take their antibiotics correctly.

You may be started on antibiotics once test results have confirmed you have Chlamydia. But if it's very likely you have the infection, you might be started on treatment before you get your results depending on your healthcare provider.

The two most commonly prescribed antibiotics for Chlamydia are: 

Azithromycin – given as two or four tablets at once
Doxycycline – given as two capsules a day for a week

Your doctor may give you different antibiotics, such as amoxicillin or erythromycin, if you have an allergy or are pregnant or breastfeeding. A longer course of antibiotics may be used if your doctor is concerned about complications of Chlamydia.

Some people experience side effects during treatment, but these are usually mild. The most common side effects include tummy pain, diarrhoea, feeling sick and vaginal thrush in women.



WHEN SHOULD YOU GET TESTED FOR CHLAMYDIA? 

To avoid an inaccurate test do it during the window where the infection can be detected.


Possible Detection – Within the first week
Most Likely Detection – 2 Weeks
Highest Accuracy – 4 Weeks
 

HOW IS CHLAMYDIA DIAGNOSED?
There are a few different tests your doctor can use to diagnose Chlamydia. Urethra (men), cervix (women) swab test, or urine samples are the most common. 

WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR CHLAMYDIA? 

If you have Chlamydia, your doctor will prescribe oral antibiotics. Your doctor will also recommend your partner(s) be treated to prevent re infection and further spread of the disease. With treatment, the infection should clear up in about a week or two. You must finish all your antibiotics even if you feel better.

 

If you test positive for chlamydia, it's important that your current sexual partner and any other sexual partners you've had during the past six months are also tested and treated.

Re – Testing: After treatment, people should be re-tested after 3 months to be sure the infection is eliminated.