Chlamydial Infections – Definition, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD). It caused by the bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis, which can damage a woman’s reproductive organs. Name “chlamydia” is derived from the Greek word “chlamys,” which was a kind of cloak worn by men in ancient Greece. Even though symptoms of chlamydia are usually mild or absent, serious complications that cause irreversible damage, including infertility, can occur “silently” before a woman ever recognizes a problem. Chlamydia also can cause discharge from the penis of an infected man. Chlamydia is one of the most widespread bacterial STIs in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 2.8 million people are infected each year.Chlamydia bacteria live in vaginal fluid and in semen. About 70 percent of chlamydial infections have no symptoms, thereby naming it the “silent” disease. Chlamydiae have a unique biphasic life cycle that is adaptable to both intracellular and extracellular environments. In the extracellular milieu, the so-called elementary body (EB) is found.

Chlamydophila psittaci infection is spread by bird droppings and aerosols and causes psittacosis. These infections are not discussed in this article. Symptoms usually appear within 1 to 3 weeks after you are infected. Those who do have symptoms may have an abnormal discharge (mucus or pus) from the vagina or penis or experience pain while urinating. These early symptoms may be very mild. In women, bacteria can infect the cervix and urinary tract in women. If the bacteria move into the fallopian tubes, they can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). In men, bacteria can infect the urinary tract and the epididymis, causing epididymitis (inflammation of the reproductive area near the testicles). Chlamydia is known as a “silent” disease because about 75% of infected women and about 50% of infected men have no symptoms. Even if symptoms are present, they may be mild and last only a few days, and may not be noticed or considered significant.

Causes of Chlamydial Infections

1.Chlamydia trachomatis.

2.Chlamydia pneumonia.

3.Chlamydia psittaci.

4.Unprotected intercourse (without condoms).

Symptoms of Chlamydial Infections

1.Vaginal irritation with discharge.

2.Cough and fever can occur in pneumonia (although the classic description is afebrile).

3.Eye discharge and/or swelling develop in conjunctivitis.

4.Lower abdomen tender to palpation.

5.Dysuria.

6.Exchange of sex for drugs or money.

Treatment of Chlamydial Infections

1.Chlamydial infection is treated with antibiotics azithromycin 1 gram oral as a single dose. Doxycycline 100 milligrams twice daily for seven days. Tetracycline, Erythromycin, Amoxicillin once a day until infection subsides, Ciprofloxacin 500 milligrams twice daily for 3 days.

2.Persons with chlamydia should abstain from sexual intercourse until they and their sex partners have completed treatment, otherwise re-infection is possible.

3.Having multiple infections increases a woman’s risk of serious reproductive health complications, including infertility. Retesting should be considered for women, especially adolescents, three to four months after treatment. Latex male condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can reduce the risk of transmission of chlamydia.

4.Use condoms correctly every time you have sex.

5.Limit the number of sex partners, and do not go back and forth between partners. Practice sexual abstinence, or limit sexual contact to one uninfected partner.

6.Common methods of birth control, like the oral contraceptive pill or the contraceptive shot or implant, do not give women protection from STDs. Women who use these methods should also use condoms every time they have sex to prevent STDs. Get a screening test.