WHAT IS CHLAMYDIA?
Chlamydia is a type of infection caused by the bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis (with akaenie chlamydia (chlamydia) is the most common sexually transmitted diseases). The germ is transmitted by sexual contact (both vaginal and anal) – that’s why every sexually active person can be infected.
Chlamydia infection is most common in adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 24 who coexist with multiple partners and do not use condoms during sexual intercourse. Infection can also occur in young children whose germs enter the organism during labor while crossing the genital tract of infected mothers.
Since chlamydia is usually asymptomatic, most infected people are unaware of the disease. Patients are most often told about an infection only when complications occur – inflammation of the appendages (ovaries) in women or epididymitis in men. It is also worth mentioning that chlamydia may, unfortunately, lead to infertility.
Among the major risk factors are the age of fewer than 25 years, they are mainly carriers adolescents and sexually active girls, but also the failure to use barrier methods of contraception, have one or more partners, but also have a partner which is affected by the infection.
CAUSES OF CHLAMYDIA
As mentioned above, chlamydia is caused by infection with Chlamydia trachomatis. Usually, the disease is transmitted during sexual intercourse and oral or anal sex. In addition, the infection may occur during delivery, then the infected mother transfers the disease to the child. This situation is very dangerous for the newborn because it can cause eye infection and pneumonia.
Among the factors that increase the risk of chalimidosis, the following are mentioned:
sexual intercourse without the use of a condom, age (up to 25 years), practicing oral sex, having anal sex, a large number of sexual partners, venereal diseases in the past.
CHLAMYDIA – SYMPTOMS
In the majority of people infected with chlamydia (about 75% of women and 50% of men) no symptoms appear. In men, urethral exudate may occur in some cases, and urination may result in burning and itching – these are symptoms of urethritis, which may be the first manifestation of chlamydia. Sometimes men may also have testicular pain, inflammation of the rectum (when anal intercourse), swollen testicles or joint pain.
In women, symptoms of chlamydia infection are not very specific – there are unusual vaginal discharge and pain during urination. Therefore, those ladies who are sexually active and/or do not have a permanent partner – should each year undergo a test for chlamydia in the body.
Additionally, symptoms may appear in the form of: baking during micturition, pain during sexual intercourse, bleeding after intercourse, pain in the area of the lower abdomen, ailments from the conjunctiva and joints (when the infection spreads), bleeding from the vagina.
early detection of infection is particularly important if the woman is planning conception or is already pregnant. The presence of chlamydia increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy and premature delivery.
CHLAMYDIA – DIAGNOSIS
Among the tests performed during Chlamydia diagnosis, the urine test and the microscopic examination of a woman’s vagina are distinguished. In some women, a cervical smear is also taken, which is then subjected to antigenic tests for chlamydia-causing bacteria.
In turn, in men, the diagnosis of the disease is based on taking material for examination – from the urethral meatus (sometimes from the anus).
Urine testing is performed in both women and men. Thanks to the obtained urine sample it is possible to exclude chlamydiosis or its confirmation.
HOW IS CHLAMYDIA TREATED?
Chlamydia infection is treated with antibiotics (eg azithromycin or erythromycin), and the therapy usually lasts for 7 days (for two weeks from the start of treatment, one should refrain from intercourse).
The preparations should be taken once or several times a day, but there are some cases that are indications for taking the medicine in a single dose. Usually, the infection disappears within a week or two.
Chlamydia should also be informed of former and current sexual partners, as they too should perform a Chlamydia Test. If the current partner is not treated, intercourse with him may lead to reinfection.
A chlamydia carrier can infect other people from the time of infection until full recovery. Chlamydia is not immune – after healing, you can get sick again if you do not take adequate precautions.
CHLAMYDIA – HOW TO PREVENT DISEASE?
Annual screening with serological tests is recommended (better if performed with nucleic acid amplification tests, NAAT) that have a greater sensitivity and specificity than culture tests or based on antigen detection ) for all sexually active women under 25 years of age, or for women of all ages who frequently change sexual partners, and for all pregnant women.
This is because the risk of re-infection in the event of contact with infected subjects is very high, and greatly increases the possibility that the consequences of infection are more serious.
Infected people should abstain from any sexual activity and carry out a new test 3-4 months after treatment and regularly use condoms that significantly reduce the risk of infection.
WHAT ARE THE COMPLICATIONS OF CHLAMYDIA?
Untreated chlamydia may lead to many complications, some of which are very serious.
Chlamydiosis increases the risk of disease to other venereal ailments, e.g. gonorrhea or HIV.
Chlamydia may lead to infection around the fallopian tubes or the uterus. Then, patients have high temperature and pain. This type of complication may require hospitalization and antibiotic use (intravenously). Inflammation in the uterus and fallopian tubes may lead to their dysfunction.
In men, chlamydia can lead to inflammation of the epididymis, which is characterized by perineal cystitis, pain, and high temperature. In addition, chlamydia-inducing bacteria can also give rise to prostatitis.
Infection with chlamydia may pass to the child during childbirth, thus causing him, for example, pneumonia.
Even if the disease does not show any symptoms, it can silently cause scarring and obstruction of the fallopian tubes and thus infertility.
There is a risk of arthritis in patients with chlamydia.
Chlamydia in children
Infection with Chlamydia trachomatis moves from mother to child usually during childbirth by the forces of nature, so infecting the mother should be an indication for the cesarean section.
It is rare to do such a test before delivery, meanwhile, about 25% of newborns and infants hospitalized for respiratory diseases are children infected with this chlamydia.
Children infected with Chlamydia pneumoniae often suffer from respiratory tract infections, otitis, sinusitis, bronchitis, lungs.
Swabs from the upper respiratory tract or sputum examination (under the NFZ) are unreliable tests. At your own expense, you need to do a blood test for IgM and IgG antibodies to have a full picture of the infection.