Everything You Need To Know About Chlamydia

Posted on by Dr Tony Steele Posted in All posts, Sexual Health

It’s an unfortunate fact of life that STD’s continue to become more common place in today’s society. For this reason, it is important that all sexually active men and women are able to recognise the symptoms of Chlamydia, the most common of all the sexually contracted infections in the UK.

What is chlamydia?

Chlamydia is an infection caused by a bacterium called chlamydia trachomatis that can be caught by both men and women. It is spread through any sexual contact, and can infect the genitals, the anus, the throat as well as the eyes.

What are the symptoms of chlamydia?

Chlamydia can often go unnoticed because some people do not see any symptoms or, if they do, they’re often very mild. If and when symptoms do appear, it is usually within three weeks of the infection and they are different for both men and women.

Early symptoms of chlamydia in women include:

  • Pain when passing urine
  • Mild pain to the lower abdomen
  • Vaginal discharge

Symptoms that can develop for women if the infection is left untreated:

  • Bleeding in between periods and after sex
  • Pain during sex
  • Intense and severe pelvic pain

Early symptoms of chlamydia in men include:

  • A cloudy discharge from the tip of the penis
  • Experiencing a painful and burning sensation when urinating
  • Pain in the groin and/or the scrotum

Symptoms that can develop for men if the infection is left untreated:

  • Severely swollen and painful testicles
  • Fertility issues caused by the development of epididymitis
  • In the most extreme and rare cases, an untreated infection can lead to Reiter’s syndrome which, in turn, can cause conjunctivitis and arthritis

Can I be tested for chlamydia?

chlamydia testYes. Fortunately, chlamydia has become a lot easier to diagnose for both men and women than it once was. Standard tests used for detecting chlamydia take the form of urine tests or a vaginal swab that are then sent off to a lab for analysis, via a technique called nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT).

Where can I go to get tested for chlamydia?

If you think you have chlamydia you can arrange for a free test on the NHS with your GP, at your local genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinic or sexual health clinic, which can also offer other services such as counselling and tests for other STDs, including syphilis or gonorrhoea.

If you feel uncomfortable about visiting one of the above, there are home testing kits available that you can then send off to a lab for the results. Local pharmacies, nightclubs and even your university will often hand out free kits. Your local NHS trust will often be able to send you a free kit, so it can be worth ringing up and requesting one.

Chlamydia tests can also be bought online from the Doctor Fox pharmacy.

How is chlamydia treated?

If your test comes back positive then chlamydia is treatable with antibiotics. Early treatment is the most effective, where antibiotics will cure 95% of all infections without any complications. There are two forms of common antibiotics used to cure chlamydia. The first is doxycycline, taken over a seven-day course while the second is a one-off dose of azithromycin. Both of which can be purchased through Doctor Fox at a significantly reduced prices.

You will also need to inform any partner you have had sexual contact with, as it is more than likely they will be infected too. This is vitally important to reduce the risk of the infection of spreading.

Can chlamydia be prevented?

Like all STD’s, chlamydia is preventable, provided you practice safe sex. Therefore, it is important that you always use a condom with new partners, as this is the most effective way to prevent getting infected with chlamydia, or any other STD (abstinence is also an option).

If you are suffering with any of the symptoms covered, make sure you do something about it, as early detection and treatment is crucial for curing the infection without any complications.