Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection that is caused by the bacterium chlamydia trachomatis a weak gram-negative bacterium that commonly infects the cervix, rectum, throat and the male urethra. This is mainly because the organism infects the body by attaching to columnar cells that are only located in these sites. The condition most affects young women who frequently engage in unprotected sex. Apart from age, other risk factors include low socioeconomic status, multiple sexual partners and use of oral contraceptives.
The disease remains asymptomatic in most patients though it may present after several weeks with mucopurulent discharge, dysuria and pain during sexual intercourse among women and urethral discharge, painful urination and burning sensation in the testicles in men. After experiencing these symptoms, one should strive to get tested for the disease to allow for correct diagnosis and treatment as complications from the disease may be fatal and alter a person’s way of life.
What Happens If You Have Chlamydia For Too Long?
Untreated or poorly treated disease may lead to any of the following states due to the chronic inflammation and healing by fibrosis of vital tissues that should remain smooth for them to allow for optimal functioning. Firstly, the disease remains a cause of pain in the inflamed areas such as the cervix and urethra. In women the disease may spread to involve the fallopian tubes to pelvic inflammatory disease and its sequelae. Inflamed tubes slow down the process of ovulation and implantation leading to ectopic pregnancies and even subfertility secondary to narrowing of the fallopian tubes.
Pregnant women with cervical chlamydial infections have been postulated to have an increased risk of mild amnionitis which induces the release of phospholipase A2 and prostaglandins release; these mediators trigger uterine contractions that may lead to premature labor and delivery. These mothers are also at an increased risk of pregnancy wastage leading to abortions, premature delivery and stillbirths. Upon delivery of a live infant by an infected mother, then the chlamydial infection can be transmitted to the newborn and cause otitis media and eye infections that are fatal to the neonate.
There is evidence that up to 50 percent of infants born to such mothers will have inclusion conjunctivitis. Increasing evidence exists that chlamydial infection in pregnancy is associated with higher rates of early postpartum endometritis as well as a delayed infection from Chlamydia that often presents several weeks postpartum.
Men rarely experience the complications, but may suffer from urethral pain and chronic discharge. The body mounts an immune response to the circulating chlamydia organisms that may lead to cross reactivity with normal body tissues hence casing reactive arthritis. Untreated infections may also predispose on to acquiring human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.
Treatment of Chlamydia Trachomatis Infection and Its Complications
Doxycycline for seven days and a stat dose of azithromycin are the preferred drugs for use in the treatment of chlamydia trachomatis infection. However, the drugs are not safe in pregnancy hence the use of amoxicillin or erythromycin for seven days to treat the same disease in pregnancy. It is important to institute treatment in the early stages of the disease and also carry out retesting three weeks after completing of therapy to confirm cure from the disease more so in pregnancy to avoid occurrence of complications of the disease.
Chlamydia trachomatis is a sexually transmitted disease that affects mainly sexually active women who have multiple sexual partners and engage in unprotected sexual activity. The causative organism is a gram-negative bacterium that mainly attaches to columnar cells of the reproductive tract, thus it can only affect portion of the cervix and portion of the male urethra. The chronic inflammatory state that marks the disease causes injury to the tissues and healing by fibrosis, thus an array of complications if the disease persists.
- Chlamydia Infection: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, 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?
- Can Chlamydia Turn Into Another STD?
- Can Chlamydia Ever Go Away Completely?
- Harmful Effects of Chlamydia If Not Treated?