Chlamydia is one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the United States. This infection is so common and spreads easily because it often causes no symptoms in sufferers and may be unknowingly transmitted to sexual partners. In fact, about 75 percent of infected women and 50 percent of infected men exhibit no symptoms (asymptomatic).
Since symptoms can be elusive among infected individuals with chlamydia, it is recommended that sexually active men and women receive STD screenings as part of their annual physical and whenever a new sexual partner is introduced. In cases when symptoms do occur, they are noticeable within one to three weeks of exposure and can differ between the sexes. Here are some common symptoms of chlamydia among men and women.
Chlamydia Symptoms in Women
–Abnormal Vaginal Discharge (Odor or Odorless)
–Spotting/Bleeding Between Periods
–Pain During Sexual Intercourse
–Abdominal Pain With Fever
–Burning and/or Itching in or Around the Vagina
Chlamydia Symptoms in Men
–Cloudy or Clear Discharge From the Tip of the Penis
–Painful and Swollen Testicles
–Itching and/or Burning Around the Opening of the Penis
It is important to note that medical consultation and monitoring are required in order to treat chlamydia, as well as any form of STD. Infected individuals must be tested, diagnosed, and treated by medical professionals. There are a few ways a doctor and/or other medical professionals can use to diagnose the STD. One approach involves the swab test, which is performed via a standard STD screening. During the exam, a sample swab is taken from the cervix in women and the urethra in men. Then, the specimen is sent to a laboratory to be analyzed. There are also other tests involving urine samples, which can be examined for the presence of the chlamydia bacteria.
In terms of treatment, if someone is found to be infected with this chlamydia, their doctor will likely prescribe oral antibiotics. Common medications prescribed to treat this condition include Doxycycline and/or Azithromycin (Zithromax). Moreover, a medical professional will also recommend that any sexual partner(s) be treated to curtail the spread of the disease and prevent reinfection. If left untreated, the STD can result in infertility, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and other health complications.
With proper treatment, the infection should clear up within one to two weeks. Even if an infected individual begins to feel better and the symptoms improve, it is important to finish the full course of the antibiotics to ensure the condition is fully treated. In some cases, severe forms of the infection may require hospitalization, pain medication, and/or IV antibiotics.
Once an infected person has completed antibiotic treatment, they should be re-tested after approximately three months to make sure the condition is cured. This is especially true when there is uncertainty about whether or not any sexual partner(s) have obtained treatment. Even if someone’s partner or partners have been treated, the follow-up testing is necessary. It is important that all infected individuals also abstain from sex until everyone involved has been cured of the disease.
If someone has any symptoms in their groin area, such as a rash, discharge, burning and/or itching, painful urination, or sores, they should be viewed as warning signs. Individuals with these symptoms should stop any sexual activity immediately and consult a medical professional promptly. Furthermore, if someone has been diagnosed with chlamydia and/or any other STD(s), it is essential to notify all recent sexual partners and begin treatment ASAP.
Written and Edited by Leigh Haugh
MedicineNet–Chlamydia in Women
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–Chlamydia – CDC Fact Sheet
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