One of the most common STDs worldwide, Chlamydia mostly affects sexually active adolescents and young adults. However, the risk of infection is high for anyone, regardless of age, who engages in sexual activity without protection.
Chlamydia is especially challenging because of its often-silent nature. Known as the "silent infection” due to a lack of symptoms, makes it such an infectious disease.
Abnormal symptoms include bleeding between periods, lower abdominal pain, pain during sexual activity, vaginal discharge, and burning when urinating. Men, on the other hand, could observe discharge from the penis, discomfort during urination, and though less common, swollen or painful testicles.
If the rectum becomes infected with chlamydia, both sexes can experience discomfort, discharge, or even rectal bleeding. Oral sex can also lead to chlamydia infections being transmitted into the throat.
It is crucial to get a Chlamydia diagnosis and start treatment right away. The infection could progress into more serious health issues if not treated. Untreated Chlamydia in women can potentially lead to severe complications, such as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).
PID can have serious health repercussions, including the risk of infertility, ectopic pregnancies,
Pelvic pain and persistent pelvic discomfort.
Men can develop another condition called Epididymitis because of contracting chlamydia.
This condition may result in discomfort, fever, and in more severe cases, may jeopardise fertility.
The best defence against Chlamydia is, of course, prevention. The use of condoms on a regular and consistent basis reduces the risk of sexually transmitted diseases by an order of magnitude. Regular STI screening is recommended for anyone with multiple sexual partners or who frequently do not use condoms.
Chlamydia, a prevalent sexually transmitted infection (STI), is primarily transmitted through sexual contact. The responsible bacterium is known as Chlamydia trachomatis, which can be transmitted through various forms of intimate contact, including genital, oral, and vaginal interactions. Bacterial infections are especially contagious because bacteria can live on the surface of the cells that line the affected body part and spread from person to person simply through physical contact.
A variety of factors contribute to Chlamydia's widespread distribution. Chlamydia is notable in part because, in the early stages, it frequently causes few or no symptoms. As a result, infected people may unintentionally spread the disease to their sexual partners. Because Chlamydia is so common because it rarely causes symptoms, it's critical that all sexually active people, especially those who have frequent sexual partners or don't use barrier contraception, have routine screenings.
Inappropriate use of protection during sexual activities also contributes to Chlamydia spread.
Barrier method techniques such as using condoms and dental dams can help to prevent the spread of chlamydia as well as other sexually transmitted diseases.
Sexual contact with a Chlamydia-infected person can also reinfect those who have previously been treated. The possibility of reinfection can contribute to the bacterium's persistence in populations where sexual activity is common without protection.
Because chlamydia may not cause any symptoms at first, it is sometimes referred to as a "silent" disease. As a result, an infected person may spread the disease without realising it. If left untreated, Chlamydia can cause chronic and debilitating health problems. It has been linked to pelvic inflammatory disease and can cause irreversible damage to a woman's reproductive system, including infertility. In men, Chlamydia can cause less common but serious complications, such as inflammation of the prostate gland or epididymis, which can affect fertility.
It is also worth remembering that Chlamydia infections increases the risk of contracting other STIs, such as HIV.
It is the most commonly seen sexually transmitted disease in the UK, and most people who get chlamydia don't have symptoms (asymptomatic) or even know that they have it.
It is most commonly seen in men and women between the ages of 16- 25.
Around 10% of men and 20-30% of women who have a lab test that confirms the disease even go on to develop symptoms, and only about 30% of these women develop serious complications such as damage to the fallopian tubes (the tubes that connect the ovaries to the uterus) caused by pelvic inflammatory disease and may result in infertility.
If chlamydia is left untreated during pregnancy, it may result in premature childbirth.
The infection can be passed on to an unborn child and cause serious complications such as pneumonia or conjunctivitis (an inflammation of membranes in the eye that may lead to blindness).
Pregnant women are screened because it is so common to be without symptoms, and the consequences for the foetus/infant can be serious.
You can get a free chlamydia test at a sexual health clinic, your local GP surgery, or a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic.
To ensure you're taking care of your health, regular testing for sexually transmitted infections like Chlamydia is crucial. It's typically done through a simple urine sample or a swab of the affected area - such as the vagina, anus, or throat, depending on your sexual practices. The sample is then analysed in a lab. It's recommended to get tested if you're sexually active and have multiple partners, if you've been with a partner who has tested positive, or if you’re displaying any possible symptoms. Don't hesitate to consult your healthcare provider about getting tested - it's a vital step in maintaining your health.
The test kit will typically involve a swab, taken from the vagina or urethra. Doctors can also check for chlamydia by testing a urine sample.
If you or your partner thinks that you have any symptoms of chlamydia, then visit a doctor, or get a free, instant chlamydia test as soon as possible.
If it is detected and diagnosed early, you can treat the infection straight away, reducing the risk of any further complications.
Certain antibiotics can be used to treat Chlamydia with a very high success rate (over 90%) in most cases.
The good news is, once detected, Chlamydial infections are typically straightforward to treat. It's usually managed with antibiotics, often azithromycin or doxycycline. It's crucial to finish the entire prescribed course of medication, even if symptoms clear up earlier, to ensure the infection is completely eradicated. During treatment, it's recommended to abstain from sexual activity to prevent transmission of the infection to others. Regular follow-up tests may be necessary to confirm that the infection has been fully treated. Remember, communication is key - inform your partners so they can also seek testing and treatment if necessary.
Doxycycline tablets (100mg twice daily for 7-days) is usually first line treatment, and a second line alternative is Azithromycin (1g as a starting dose, followed by 500mg daily for another 2-days).
It is important to always make sure you complete the full course of antibiotic treatment even if the symptoms disappear after a few doses.
Any person who is sexually active has a risk of contracting chlamydia, however it can be completely preventable by following the steps below:
Preventing Chlamydia isn't about fear; it's about empowering yourself with knowledge and taking proactive steps. The most effective way to prevent Chlamydia is by practicing safe sex. This includes using condoms correctly every time you have sex, limiting your number of sexual partners, and getting regularly tested. Also, having open and honest conversations about STIs with your partner can significantly reduce the risk. If you've been treated for Chlamydia, remember that you can get re-infected if exposed again, so continuous prevention methods are essential.
In conclusion, while Chlamydia poses serious risks, understanding these risks and taking the appropriate steps can help ensure your sexual health remains in check. Regular testing, appropriate treatment, and preventive practices can all contribute to a healthier, safer you. Always remember, you're not alone in this. Healthcare professionals are there to guide and support you every step of the way.
If you have tested positive for chlamydia and need to buy medication, please complete our online consultation to determine which prescription treatment is right for you to purchase.
One of our doctors will then assess your condition and recommend which treatments are best suited for you.
Once you've selected your medication, a prescription will be sent to our pharmacy team to prepare and dispatched for free on a next day delivery.
If you suspect you may have chlamydia, it's important to seek medical help from a sexual health clinic as soon as possible. Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection that can be easily treated with a single dose of antibiotics. Early detection is crucial, as symptoms of chlamydia may not always be apparent, particularly in women. However, some common indicators include unusual discharge, rectal pain, and genital infections. Testing and treatment for chlamydia are vital, especially for pregnant women, as the infection can be passed on to the baby during childbirth. It's also crucial to inform your recent sex partners, as they may also need to get tested and treated if necessary. Remember, prompt action can help prevent further complications and protect the sexual health of both you and others.
Our friendly team is available to help Monday to Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm.
If you need urgent assistance, do not use this service. Call 111, or in an emergency call 999.