Chlamydia infection (patient information)
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Chlamydia On the Web
Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. ; Assistant Editor-In-Chief: Alexandra M. Palmer
Chlamydia is a disease caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. It is most commonly sexually transmitted.
What are the symptoms of Chlamydia?
As many as 1 in 4 men with chlamydia have no symptoms. In men, chlamydia may produce symptoms similar to gonorrhea. Symptoms may include:
- Burning sensation during urination
- Discharge from the penis or rectum
- Testicular tenderness or pain
- Rectal discharge or pain
Only about 30% of women with chlamydia have symptoms. Symptoms that may occur in women include:
- Burning sensation during urination
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Rectal pain or discharge
- Symptoms of PID, salpingitis, liver inflammation similar to hepatitis
- Vaginal discharge
Who is at highest risk?
Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. Sexually active individuals, individuals with multiple partners, and individuals who fail to utilize condoms consistency and effectively are at highest risk.
The diagnosis of chlamydia infection involves sampling of the urethral discharge in males or cervical secretions in females. If an individual engages in anal sexual contact, samples from the rectum may also be needed. The sample is sent for a fluorescent or monoclonal antibody test, DNA probe test, or cell culture. Some of these tests may also be performed on urine samples.
When to seek urgent medical care?
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of chlamydia.
Because many people with chlamydia may not have symptoms, sexually active adults should be screened periodically for the infection.
The mainstay of therapy for chlamydia includes appropriate antibiotic treatment -- these include: tetracyclines, azithromycin, or erythromycin. You can get chlamydia with gonorrhea or syphilis, so if you have one sexually transmitted disease you must be screened for other sexually transmitted diseases as well. All sexual contacts should be screened for chlamydia.Sexual partners must be treated to prevent passing the infection back and forth. There is no significant immunity following the infection and a person may become repeatedly infected. A follow-up evaluation may be done in 4 weeks to determine if the infection has been cured.
Where to find medical care for Chlamydia infection
Directions to Hospitals Treating Chlamydia
What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)
Early antibiotic treatment is extremely successful and may prevent the development of long-term complications. Untreated infection, however, may lead to PID, scarring, and ultimately infertility.
Untreated infection may lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can cause scarring of the fallopian tubes and result in infertility. Tubal scarring also increases the likelihood of an ectopic pregnancy (tubal pregnancy). In men, chlamydia infection can lead to inflammation of the urethra called urethritis.
If a women is infected with chlamydia while pregnant, the infection can cause premature labor and delivery. The infection may cause infection in the uterus after delivery late postpartum endometritis. In addition, the infant may develop chlamydial conjunctivitis (eye infection) and chlamydial pneumonia.
All sexually active women up through age 25 should be screened yearly for chlamydia. All women with new sexual partners or multiple partners should also be screened.
A mutually monogamous sexual relationship with an uninfected partner is one way to avoid this infection. The proper use of condoms during intercourse usually prevents infection.
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001345.htm Template:WH Template:WS