Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. It is caused primarily by the bacterium chlamydia trachomatis and to a lesser degree by Chlamydia psittaci and Chlamydia pneumoniae. In the UK the number of annual cases of Chlamydia has multiplied two-fold. Last year there were close to 150,000 new chlamydia patients in the Genitourinary Medicine Clinics and the number seems to be increasing.
Chlamydia is a STD that is generally transmitted through vaginal, oral and anal intercourse. When transmitted orally the bacteria can infect your mouth and throat in such instances . The disease can also be passed on by a mother to her baby during vaginal childbirth.
Chlamydia Diagnosis and Test
Chlamydia infection can be detected with a simple screening (test). Get yourself tested if you suspect that you have been infected with Chlamydia, initial screening (diagnosis) & treatment will reduce the risks of developing complications that can sometimes accompany Chlamydia. Most of these infections are due to long-term infection from Chlamydia and if cimplications develop they tend to be more difficult to treat. Different kinds of Chlamydia tests have different levels accuracy but all the recommended-tests have 90% possibility (accuracy) of diagnosing the problem (infection).
Chlamydia test for women - A swab is taken from the-cervix - that’s the neck of the-womb, which is then tested or the test can be done using the urine-sample. Different methods have been developed which enable women to carry out this test in the comfort of their home this is done by taking swab from the lower region of the vagina or using the urine sample which is then sent to the medical-laboratory for further screening. The routine screening of the cervix doesn’t detect Chlamydia-infection.
Chlamydia test for men - These tests entail putting the swab into the opening of the-urethra that’s at the head of the penis, so as to obtain a sample of cells. Urine sample can also be used to test and its simple and not all that uncomfortable compared to the swab screening (test) but this method isn’t that effective compared to the swab screening.
Throat or anus (rectum) swab can be performed if someone is involved in oral or anal sex. This test is not commoly performed. A swab can be taken from your eyes if you any signs of conjunctivitis like discharge from your eyes.
Studies have shown that people under the age of 25 are at higher risk of contacting Chlamydia from their sexual partners, especially if they are not using-condoms.
Reasons for getting tested may included the following-
• If you suspect that your partner or you have any symptoms of Chlamydia.
• If you have a new partner & you have been having unprotected sex.
• If you have been participating in unprotected sex.
• If you are suffering from any form of STD.
• If you are planning to or already pregnant.
There are a number of places where one can be tested these include:-
• Sexual health-clinic
• At home if you have the required kit which bought from a pharmacist.
Antibiotics work very well to treat infections like Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. Unlike gonorrhea bacterium which is intracellular the Chlamydia bacterium is inter-cellular and live within the cell of the host, so the antibiotics have to kill the bacterium rather than merely destroy its cell walls. Some antibiotics do it with great potency and the infection is generally cured within 10 days. Antibiotics like Doxycycline and Azithromycin are the preferred antibiotics and they have a very high cure rate and cure the infection within a week in upto 98% of cases. Few cases might take longer to cure. It is also advised to complete the course of antibiotics even after the disease is cured inside a week so as to eliminate any residual strains.
Penicillin was a very popular antibiotic used to treat std like gonorrhea and chlamydia, but over the years the chlamydia and gonorrhea bacterium have mutated to exhibit resistance and immunity to penicillin due to which it is no longer the preferred antibiotic to treat chlamydia. Other medications like ofloxacin, erithromycin and Levofloxacin can be used but they carry increased risk of side effects. Moreover their cure rates are not as good as azithromycin and doxycycline.
Azithromycin Vs Doxycline
A test was conducted on data between 1975 and 2001 to find and compare the efficacy and differences between Azithromycin and Doxycycline. The patients were randomly given dosages of either Azithromycin or Doxycycline in the prescribed quantities of one 1g dosage of Azithroymycin and two dosages of 100mg twice a day for a week with no patient getting both. The tests were conducted on 1543 patients for checking the microbial efficacy of the drugs and o 1717 patients for checking any adverse effects of the drug. Cure rates of about 98% were found out for both the antibiotics proving the efficacy of both as equally compelling.
However, azithromycin is more convinent as it is just 1 dose antibiotic. Overall one dosage of Azithromycin has proved to be very impactful in comparison to the multiple dosages of Doxycycline.
Chlamydia Signs & Symptoms
Chlamydia is known to be a silent or asymptomatic disease and about 50% of infected men and 60% of infected women don't show any signs or symptoms of chlamydia initially. Women are prone to be more asymptomatic than men. This means women generally show no symptoms and act as carriers of the diseases. However women are at greater risk from long term complications and hence it is important to get treated.
Chlamydia Symptoms in Women
70% – 80% of female patients that contract Chlamydia show little or no symptoms. Even if symptoms arrive they show up after 3-4 weeks and in some the infection is dormant for years. Typical symptoms include vaginal discharge, lower abdominal pain and bleeding between periods and after sexual intercourse.
Chlamydia Symptoms in Men
Again 25-50% men show little or no symptoms. Symptoms if and when they show up include painful urination, discharge from the tip of the penis and testicular inflammation and pain.