Chlamydia: All You Need to Know!

Chlamydia is one of the most common bacterial sexually transmitted diseases in the western world, and has 4 million newly diagnosed cases in the US alone every year. It is caused by the bacteria “Chlamydia trachomatis” which is a unique species of bacteria transmitted through sexual intercourse.

This infection can creep up on a woman without her ever realising she’s infected. This is because in many cases she doesn’t present with any symptoms and the first time she realises she is infected is when she tries to get pregnant and can’t because the disease has made her infertile.

The disease infects cells along the endocervix which is the centre of the passageway between the uterus and vagina though it doesn’t affect the cells in the vagina itself, it also affects cells in the urethra (Which leads to the bladder), or the rectum.

Chlamydia’s initial infection in the lower genital tract soon travels to the upper reproductive tract if it isn’t quickly treated. It can then lead to problems which include infertility when the infection scars and blocks the woman’s fallopian tubes where eggs and sperm unite. This can also lead to ectopic pregnancies or pregnancies which develop outside the uterus.

Therefore early screening and prompt treatment for both the sufferer and her partner is essential to ensure any physical damage is kept to a minimum.

Safe sex also plays an important part. It’s also imperative that when medication is prescribed (Usually antibiotics) that the full course is taken. If the course of antibiotics is not taken as prescribed, then the infection will remain and continue to infect others if unprotected sex occurs. It will also cause damage to the woman’s reproductive organs.

Many doctors don’t automatically test for Chlamydia, so it’s often up to the woman to prompt them for the test, and it’s especially important to ask to be tested if you have had unprotected sex especially with one or more partners.

Sufferers shouldn’t indulge in sex until at least a week after their treatment has finished, and women should never douche. Douching can push the Chlamydia infection further up the urogenital tract where it will damage the reproductive system.

Monogamy is probably the best protection there is against this disease.