As long as you’re sexually active, you are advised to go for a medical check-up to make sure you haven’t acquired chlamydia, among other sexually transmitted diseases.
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease that is most popular among young adults, both male and female; however, research has it that the illness is three times more common in women than men.
Experts say that in women, the bacteria largely affects the cervix and ultimately, makes it way to the fallopian tubes, thus leading to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which can cause chronic pelvic pain, ectopic or tubal pregnancies.
Dr Iba Mayele, an obstetrician gynaecologist at Gynaecology Clinic Galien Kimironko, says that chlamydia is a bacterial sexually transmitted disease and most people who are infected might not notice symptoms.
According to WebMD, chlamydia is caused by a certain kind of bacteria and it can spread from one partner to another through virginal, anal or oral sex.
Signs and symptoms
Mayele says that symptoms of the disease in women may include burning when urinating, abdominal pain, foul smelling vaginal discharge (possibly yellow in colour), bleeding between periods, low-grade fever, painful intercourse, bleeding after intercourse, swelling in the vagina or around the anus, the need to urinate more often or soreness while urinating.
Dr Ruzindana Kenneth, a gynaecologist from Kibagabaga Hospital, says that the largely asymptotic reservoir of infections provides an ongoing source for efficient disease transmission and allows for silent ‘chlamydia trachomatis’ infection which can result in scarring of the ovaries, endometrial lining, and occasionally, the adjacent perineum, increasing the risk of a future extra uterine pregnancy.
He adds that in most counties, chlamydia trachomatis infection (that mostly affects the cervix), among adults and adolescents is virtually only sexually transmitted.
Mayele further says that symptoms in men may include pus-like
(watery or milky) penile discharge, testicle swelling, and burning while urinating.
“The infection can spread to the upper genital tract in women causing pelvic inflammatory diseases which may result in future infertility or ectopic pregnancy, repeated infection of the eyes without treatment can also result in trachoma, a common cause of blindness,” he explains.
Mayele, however, stresses that it can be passed on from an infected mother to her baby during child birth, though the eye infection can also be spread through personal contact.
Mayele adds that screening, which is recommended annually in sexually active women, can be done with urine or a swab of the cervix, vagina or urethra.
“Prevention of chlamydia is by abstaining from sex, using condoms, or having sex with only one partner who is not infected,” he states.
According to Mayele, chlamydia can affect the foetus causing spontaneous miscarriage, premature birth, or conjunctivitis which may lead to blindness.
Mayele notes that the suitable treatment of chlamydia is use of antibiotics doxycline and azitromycine.
After the medical history is taken, a woman may have a pelvic exam, a man may have a genital exam for urethritis and epididymitis, but you could also do a urine test for chlamydia, however, other infections can occur along with a chlamydia infection, you should test for syphilis, gonorrhoea, HIV and bacterial vaginosis as well, webMD states.
According to Centres for Disease control and Prevention-CDC, although medication will stop the infection, it will not repair any permanent damage done by the disease. But if your symptoms continue for more than a few days after receiving treatment, you should return to a health care provider to be re-evaluated.
Still CDC states that if you suffer from chlamydia, you are urged to abstain from sexual activity for seven days after single dose antibiotics or until completion of a seven-day course of antibiotics, to prevent spreading the infection to your partner. Therefore it is also advisable to take all the medication prescribed to cure chlamydia.