What is chlamydia?Chlamydia trachomatis is the most common bacterialsexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States.
Chlamydia affects approximately three million womennationally and 300,000 women in California. California alsohas the highest number of estimated cases of chlamydia inthe nation among women 15-34 years of age.In addition, teenagers and young adults under 25 yearsof age have the highest rates of infection and complicationsattributed to the disease.
Among adolescents 15-19 years ofage, it is estimated that one in ten is infected. It should benoted, however, that chlamydia crosses all ethnicities,economic and social classes, and geographic lines. Earlydetection and treatment of chlamydia is crucial since up to70 percent of women and 50 percent of men with chlamydiahave no detectable symptoms.
How does someone get chlamydia?Chlamydia is transmitted through sexual contact(primarily vaginal or anal) with an infected person. What are the risk factors for chlamydia?The primary risk factors for chlamydia include: Engaging in Having sex with more than one partner Being in a sexual relationship with someone whohas multiple sex partners How can you protect yourself fromgetting chlamydia?The chance of becoming infected with chlamydiacan be reduced by avoiding risky sexual behaviors. Youcan get and spread chlamydia through unprotectedvaginal and anal sex. Preventing chlamydia meansapproaching sexual relationships responsibly: limit thenumber of your sex partners, use condoms, and if youthink you are infected, avoid any sexual contact and visita local STD clinic, hospital, or your doctor. Be sure yourpartner is treated to avoid becoming reinfected. You canalso prevent getting Chlamydia by:Use latex or polyurethane condoms during sex Limit your number of sex partners If you have recently been treated or are being treatedfor chlamydia infection, you must make sure your sexpartner(s) also receives treatment in order to preventgetting infected again. Sex partners should receivetreatment even if they do not have any symptoms.
What are some symptoms of chlamydia?About 75% of women and 50% of men with chlamydiahave no symptoms of infection. In women, symptoms of chlamydia may include: An unusual vaginal discharge Bleeding after intercourse Bleeding between menstrual periods Abdominal or pelvic pain In men, symptoms of chlamydia may include: Discharge from the penis Burning with urination Swollen and/or painful testicles Can infection with chlamydia lead toother health problems?When left untreated, chlamydia can increase the riskof acquiring or transmitting , the virus that causes . In women, untreated chlamydia can spread into thepelvic area and infect the uterus, fallopian tubes, andovariesleading to . The symptoms of PID include: Abdominal pain Lower back pain Pain with intercourse Bleeding between periods Fever PID can be a very serious condition and requiresimmediate medical care. It may cause permanentdamage to the woman’s reproductive organs and canlead to infertility, chronic pelvic pain, and an increasedrisk of ectopic pregnancy. In men, untreated chlamydia can affect the testicles,leading to swelling and pain. Related complications canlead to infertility. What is the impact of chlamydia onpregnancy?Chlamydia can be passed from mother to baby duringbirth.
Chlamydia infection in newborns can causeneonatal conjunctivitis (an infection of the baby’s eyes)and pneumonia. Without prompt medical treatment, theinfant’s eyes can be seriously and permanentlydamaged. How is chlamydia diagnosed?There are a variety of laboratory tests that can beused to diagnose chlamydia infection.
Tests are donewith either a urine sample or a sample obtained from awoman’s cervix or a man’s urethra, using a cottonswab. Is there a treatment or cure forchlamydia?Chlamydia can be treated with the antibioticsdoxycycline or azithromycin. Urine tests for both malesand females are available to detect chlamydia.
There hasbeen major progress in the treatment of chlamydia withantibiotics over the past few years. A single dose ofazithromycin or a week of doxycycline (twice daily) arethe most commonly used treatments. (For the U.S. only)Common side effects associated with these treatmentsinclude diarrhea (7%), nausea (5%), abdominal pain (5%),and vomiting (2%).Chlamydia can be easily treated and cured withantibiotics. Because men and women infected withchlamydia often also have , treatment for gonorrhea isoften provided as well. It is important to make sure yoursex partner(s) also receives treatment in order toprevent getting infected again.
Avoid having sex whilebeing treated to reduce the chances of getting theinfection again or transmitting it to someone else. Chlamydia trachomatis is the most common bacterialsexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States.Chlamydia affects approximately three million womennationally and 300,000 women in California. California alsohas the highest number of estimated cases of chlamydia inthe nation among women 15-34 years of age.In addition, teenagers and young adults under 25 yearsof age have the highest rates of infection and complicationsattributed to the disease. Among adolescents 15-19 years ofage, it is estimated that one in ten is infected. It should benoted, however, that chlamydia crosses all ethnicities,economic and social classes, and geographic lines. Earlydetection and treatment of chlamydia is crucial since up to70 percent of women and 50 percent of men with chlamydiahave no detectable symptoms.
Effects of Chlamydia Chlamydia is the leading cause of preventable infertilityin women.Chlamydia causes Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. Asignificant number of women with PID will eventuallydevelop potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy, chronicpelvic pain, and infertility.
Pregnant women may transmit chlamydia to theirnewborn during delivery. Up to five percent of infantsborn in the United States are infected with chlamydia.Complications of untreated infections in newbornsinclude conjunctivitis and pneumonia.Questions for you to ask your healthcareprovider about chlamydia: What does the treatment involve? Can you prescribe a single-dose medication to treatchlamydia? How soon will the symptoms subside? When is it okay for me to be (safely) sexually activeagain? How can I make sure that my partner gets tested and/orreceives treatment? The Urine TestThe urine test, called LCR for ligase chain reaction,was developed by Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, Ill.The test is awaiting approval from the Food and DrugAdministration before it will be put on the market. The LCR test, which requires a urine sample, willbe relatively easy to administer. “The conventionaltests for chlamydia require a pelvic exam and a swabfrom inside the cervix, much like a Pap smear,” saidAult.
“LCR screening means that testing for chlamydiacan become more widely available,” he said. Once onthe market, “Every physician’s office can have it. It canbe put in places that previously have been hard toscreen like high school clinics.
” According to preliminary data published in theLancet, a British medical journal, the sensitivity of theLCR test is 94 percent. In the field tests, Ault willcompare the results of the LCR test against aconventional test. The study is funded by the Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Officeof Population Affairs (OPA). Ault is the medical advisorfor Region VII of the Chlamydia Control Project, acollaborative effort of the CDC and OPA. Region VIIincludes Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska.
About 4 million cases of chlamydia infection occurannually in the United States. The cost of the illnessexceeds $5 billion, according to Ault. Chlamydia infection is responsible for 30 percentof cases of infertility worldwide and is a major causeof ectopic or tubal pregnancies. Tubal pregnancy, inwhich the fertilized egg develops in one of the twofallopian tubes instead of the uterus, is the leadingcause of death in pregnancy. Chlamydia rarely hassymptoms, so often a patient finds out about aninfection after the damage has been done. Infected pregnant women may deliver early orsuffer pelvic infections after delivery.
Babies born toinfected mothers can develop pneumonia or eyeinflammation. For men, chlamydia is the leading cause of urethralinfections. A urine test for chlamydia in men is alreadyon the market.
Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics. There is noimmunity to chlamydia infection. A person can becomere-infected when re-exposed to it.Basic InformationChlamydia is a genus of microscopic organismsthat cannot be categorized as virus, bacteria, or fungibut that behave like bacteria. There are three speciesof chlamydia: Chlamydia trachomatis, Chlamydiapneumoniae, and Chlamydia psittaci.Perhaps the most common chlamydia illnessesare diseases caused by many strains of thetrachomatis species. One strain of Chlamydiatrachomatis causes conjunctivitis, an eye infectionmarked by redness and swelling, sensitivity to light,and pus discharge. A strain of fly-borne Chlamydiatrachomatis causes a severe form of conjunctivitiscalled trachoma.
More common in developingcountries, untreated trachoma may result in blindness.Each year in the United States, Chlamydiatrachomatis causes 4 million cases of sexuallytransmitted diseases (STDs) in both men and women,including nongonococcal urethritis (NGU), an infectionof the urinary tract. Lymphogranuloma venereum, alymphatic tissue disease that is rare in the UnitedStates, occurs more commonly in tropical regions.In both men and women symptoms of sexuallytransmitted Chlamydia trachomatis may include awatery discharge and pain when urinating; in womenChlamydia trachomatis also causes inflammation ofthe vagina, cervix, uterus, Fallopian tubes, andovaries.
Women may also experience vaginaldischarge, fever, abdominal pain, and pain in thegenital area. In as many as 50 to 70 percent ofChlamydia trachomatis infections, however, womenexperience no symptoms. As a result, the infectionremains untreated and may develop into more seriousconditions, including pelvic inflammatory disease,ectopic pregnancy, and infertility. Pregnant womenwith chlamydia infections can also pass it to theirbabies during birth.
The pneumoniae species of chlamydia commonlycauses upper respiratory tract infections includingbronchitis, pneumonitis, and pharyngitis. It is thesecond leading cause of pneumonia in the UnitedStates in individuals from 5 to 35 years old. Spread byperson-to-person contact, symptoms of Chlamydiapneumoniae infection may be mild, often consistingonly of a cough, fever, and increased production ofsputum, a mixture of saliva and other mucus from therespiratory passages.In rare cases, Chlamydia psittica causes a flulikeillness known as psittacosis or parrotfevercommonly named because the organism is carried mostly by parrots, parakeets, and lovebirds. Itmay also be found in other birds, as well as in cats,and occasionally in humans. Pet shop workers, birdowners, poultry processing plant employees, andother individuals who work around birds are mostlikely to develop psittacosis.All three types of chlamydia infections arediagnosed with tests consisting of cell cultures usedto exclude other illnesses with similar symptoms, suchas gonorrhea, herpes, trichomoniasis, andcandidiasis.
More recently, immunoassays aretypically used for diagnosis. These blood tests identifythe presence of a specific antibody formed by the bodys immune system to fight off chlamydia infection.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)recommends that all sexually active women under theage of 20 and women over 20 years with risk factorsthat include having multiplesex partners shouldreceive annual screening for chlamyida.Chlamydia infections are easily treated withantibiotics.
In infections involving sexually transmitteddiseases, all sexual partners of the affected individualmust be treated to prevent reinfection; latex condomsshould also be used during intercourse to preventtransmitting or receiving chlamydial infection.