Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. It is a highly contagious infection and is spread through unprotected sex or contact with infected bodily fluids. Chlamydia can affect both men and women, and can lead to a number of serious health problems if left untreated.
What are the Causes of Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is primarily caused by having unprotected sex with someone who is infected. It is also possible for an infected person to pass the infection to another person through contact with infected bodily fluids, such as during oral, anal, or vaginal sex.
What Are the Symptoms of Chlamydia?
Common symptoms of chlamydia include abnormal discharge from the penis or vagina, itching and burning near the genitals, pain or burning during urination, and pain in the lower abdomen. In women, it may also cause pain during sex.
How Is Chlamydia Diagnosed and Treated?
A doctor can diagnose chlamydia with a physical exam, testing of bodily fluids, or a DNA test. Antibiotics are used to treat chlamydia and can be very effective in curing the infection. It is important to finish the full course of antibiotics and not to have unprotected sex while taking them, as this can make the infection more difficult to treat.
Can Chlamydia Lead to Long-Term Health Problems?
If left untreated, chlamydia can cause serious long-term health problems, including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), infertility, and increased risk for HIV infection. It can also cause complications during pregnancy, including stillbirth and preterm labor.
What Are the Best Ways to Prevent Chlamydia?
The best way to reduce the risk of contracting chlamydia is to practice safe sex and use condoms. Regular screening for the infection is also recommended for sexually active people, and it is important to tell your sexual partner if you have been diagnosed with chlamydia in order to prevent its spread.
Chlamydia is an extremely common infection, but it can be easily prevented and treated if caught early. Regular screening and safe sex practices are the best steps to help protect both your health, as well as the health of your partner.