Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection that is spread from one person to another through sexual contact with an infected person. It is caused by Chlamydia trachomatis bacterium. It mostly affects the vagina, penis, rectum and throat during oral sex. A newborn can also be infected with Chlamydia during childbirth by an infected mother. It is the most common STD found in individuals around the world. It is usually asymptomatic so it goes unnoticed amongst the masses. There are some mild symptoms which when noticed, one should visit a doctor.
How Do You Know That You Have Chlamydia?
In most of the cases, Chlamydia does not present with any symptoms that is why it is known as a “silent disease.” It is non-symptomatic in about 80% women and 50% men. If it does present symptoms they are mild and can range from abnormal vaginal discharge, abnormal bleeding, pain during sex, abnormal vaginal or rectal bleeding, pain on urination, vaginal itching, lower abdominal pain in women and in males it generally presents with abnormal discharge from penis, dysuria, rectal pain, swelling of testicles, pain of the head of the penis, it might also cause sore throat with oral sex. If one notices the above symptoms then one should immediately visit a doctor and get STD testing done.
The doctor, along with examination will also take into consideration the signs and symptoms, and the sexual history of the patient. Doctor will get a genital/anal swab and will send it for further testing. It can also be diagnosed by taking urine sample. If the test is positive for Chlamydia then the patient is treated with either a high dose antibiotic for a day, such as single high dose of azithromycin or a 7-10 day course of doxycycline/erythromycin depending on the severity of the infection.
Why does Chlamydia Recur?
Chlamydia may recur or symptoms may persist if the patient has not followed the proper advice of the doctor including:
- Not taken the full course of antibiotics.
- Engaging in sexual intercourse when on antibiotics and non-resolution of the infection.
Chlamydia may recur even if an individual has been treated with a full course antibiotics and the patient has followed the complete advice of their healthcare professional. This could be due to having sexual intercourse with an infected person. It is mandatory to get your sexual partner checked for Chlamydia as even they might have the infection and might need treatment. A person who has been infected with Chlamydia does not get immune to it and one can have it several times as they can be re-exposed to it, so one should be monogamous with their partner and avoid high risk sexual behavior. It is a safe practice to get a regular STD panel to check for infection.
Can Chlamydia Ever Go Away Completely?
Does chlamydia ever go away completely? Chlamydia is the most common STD and a person can be easily re-infected. According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 26% of infected people end up getting re-infected. There have been cases where Chlamydia has infected a person even if one has taken all the required precautions and after resolution of previous infection. This could be attributed to re-infection or treatment failure. There have been arguments whether Chlamydia stays in the body and also studies have been carried out that have revealed that Chlamydia can stay dormant in a person’s body for years without showing any symptoms and infected people can easily transmit the disease to their sexual partners or get re-infected. The bacterium is also good at hiding in the digestive tract (gut) despite its annihilation from other common sites such as vagina/penis/rectum/throat. This has been attributed to the ability of Chlamydia bacterium to remain associated with the host for prolonged periods of time even in a dormant state.
These studies have been done only in mice and this has not been tested in humans so far, but the scientists believe that it is a possibility in humans too. This theory is being researched, but in the meantime, an individual can prevent Chlamydia by having safe sexual practice and using protection (condoms) to prevent infection or re-infection.
- Chlamydial Urethritis In Men
- Chlamydia Infection: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention
- Chlamydia Trachomatis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, How Does it Spread, Prevention
- What Are The Risks of Untreated Chlamydia?
- Can Chlamydia Go Away On Its Own Without Treatment?
- Long Term Effects of Chlamydia
- What Can Happen If Chlamydia Is Not Treated?