Health

Common Conditions Confused With Chlamydia

Worldwide, chlamydia is one of the most often reported sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It infects both men and women and is more common than gonorrhoea and syphilis. Despite this, the availability of chlamydia treatment means that the disease is one that is easily curable.

What Is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a bacterial infection known as Chlamydia trachomatis. It passes from person to person through unprotected sexual activity. You can catch chlamydia if you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the infection. A pregnant woman who has chlamydia can pass the disease on to their baby during childbirth.

While chlamydia can infect any sexually active person, it is common in those under the age of 25. If untreated, chlamydia can lead to complications. For women, they may suffer serious or permanent damage to their reproductive system and the ability to have children. For men, not getting treatment might result in the testicles becoming inflamed and swollen and affect their fertility.

What Are The Symptoms?

With no early symptoms, the number of actual cases of chlamydia could be much higher than reported. If you have chlamydia, it may be several weeks after sex with an infected partner before you see any symptoms appear. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, there is a risk of it damaging your reproductive system if not caught early enough. When there are symptoms, for women these might include:

  • Feeling pain during urination.
  • An unusual vaginal discharge.
  • Stomach or pelvic pain.
  • Pain during sexual intercourse.
  • Experiencing bleeding between periods.

For men, the common symptoms can include things like:

  • A burning pain while urinating.
  • A discharge from the penis that might be white, cloudy or watery.

Although not as common, men might experience pain and swelling in one or both of their testicles. It is possible for chlamydia to infect other through anal sex. As a result, other potential symptoms that men and women might experience include:

  • Rectal pain.
  • Discharge.
  • Bleeding.

Diagnosis

If you think that you might have chlamydia the only way to know for certain is to get tested. Testing is straightforward and painless. You can get help from your:

  • GP.
  • Community contraceptive service.
  • Local genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic.
  • Online pharmacy.

Even if you don’t have any symptoms, you should seek help if you think that you have a sexually transmitted infection.

As there are not always early symptoms of chlamydia, any infection might be one of many different conditions. This can include, for example:

  • Gonorrho
  • Vaginal yeast infection.
  • Bacterial vaginosis.
  • Trichomoniasis.
  • Cervical inflammation.

To avoid you being misdiagnosed, testing is the only clear-cut way to know if you have chlamydia. Testing ensures that you can get the right diagnosis and treatment.

What Is The Treatment?

Chlamydia is treatable with antibiotics. Once you know that you have the STI, your doctor will prescribe you a 7-day course of antibiotics. If you follow instructions and take the antibiotics correctly, there is a more than 95% success rate for curing chlamydia. Also, as part of the chlamydia treatment, stopping the infection from spreading to others is vital. For that reason, people should abstain from any sexual activity for at least seven days after taking the antibiotics. Even when treated, it’s still possible to catch chlamydia again if you have unprotected sex and your partner is infected.

Prevention

Preventing infection with chlamydia and stopping its spread is best done in two ways. The first is not having unprotected sex. Using some form of protection reduces the risk of infection. The second is regular screening. If you’re under 25 and sexually active, you should go for testing every year or if you change sexual partners.

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