Chlamydia: what it is, symptoms and how to get it

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacteriaChlamydia trachomatis,that can affect both men and women. Sometimes, this infection can be asymptomatic, but it is also common to cause symptoms such as altered vaginal discharge or burning when urinating, for example.

The infection can appear after having unprotected sexual contact and, for this reason, in men, the infection is more frequent in the urethra, rectum or throat, while in women the most affected places are the cervix or the rectum. .

The disease can be identified only by assessing the symptoms presented, but there are also tests that help confirm the diagnosis. Thus, whenever there is a suspicion of contracting chlamydia it is very important to go to the general practitioner or an infectious disease specialist, to confirm the diagnosis and start the appropriate treatment, which is usually done with antibiotics.

Main symptoms

Chlamydia symptoms can appear 1 to 3 weeks after unprotected intercourse, however even if there are no apparent signs and symptoms, the person can transmit the bacteria.

The main signs and symptoms of chlamydia in women are:

  • Pain or burning when urinating;
  • Vaginal discharge, similar to pus;
  • Pain or bleeding during intimate contact;
  • Pelvic pain;
  • Bleeding outside the menstrual period.

In case the chlamydia infection in women is not identified, it is possible that the bacterium spreads through the uterus and causes Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), which is one of the main causes of infertility and abortion in women.

The symptoms of infection in men are similar, with pain or burning when urinating, discharge from the penis, pain and swelling in the testicles and inflammation of the urethra. In addition, if left untreated, the bacteria can cause orchitis, which is the inflammation of the testicles, which can interfere with the production of sperm.

How to get chlamydia

The main way to get a chlamydia infection is through intimate contact without a condom with an infected person, whether oral, vaginal or anal. Thus, people who have multiple sexual partners are at increased risk of having the disease.

In addition, chlamydia can also pass from mother to child during childbirth, when the pregnant woman has the infection and has not undergone proper treatment.

How to confirm the diagnosis

When chlamydia causes symptoms, the infection can be identified by the urologist or gynecologist only by assessing those symptoms. However, laboratory tests can also be performed, such as a small smear of the intimate region for secretion collection or a urine test, to identify the presence of the bacteria.

Since chlamydia does not cause symptoms in some cases, it is advised that people over the age of 25, with an active sex life and with more than 1 partner, have the test regularly. After getting pregnant, it is also advisable to have the test, to avoid transmitting the bacteria to the baby during delivery.

Is chlamydia curable?

Chlamydia can be easily cured with antibiotics for 7 days. However, to ensure healing, it is advised during this period to avoid unprotected intimate contact.

Even in people with HIV, the infection can be cured in the same way, with no need for any other type of treatment or hospitalization.

How the treatment is done

Treatment to cure chlamydia is with the use of antibiotics prescribed by the doctor, such as Azithromycin in a single dose or Doxycycline for 7 days, or as directed by the doctor.

It is important that treatment is carried out by both the person carrying the bacterium and the sexual partner, even if sexual contact was made with a condom. In addition, it is recommended that you do not have sexual intercourse during treatment to avoid recurrence of the infection. See more details on the treatment of chlamydia.

With proper treatment, it is possible to completely eradicate the bacteria, but if other complications arise, such as pelvic inflammatory disease or infertility, they can be permanent.

Risks of chlamydia in pregnancy

Chlamydia infection during pregnancy can lead to premature birth, low birth weight, fetal death and endometritis. As this disease can pass to the baby during normal delivery, it is important to perform tests that can diagnose this disease during prenatal care and follow the treatment indicated by the obstetrician.

The baby affected during delivery may have complications such as conjunctivitis or chlamydia pneumonia and these diseases can also be treated with antibiotics indicated by the pediatrician.