STD facts: All you need to know about Chlamydia trachomatis
Zee Media Bureau/Liji Varghese
Chlamydia infection is caused by bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis and is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections worldwide. Chlamydia is a major cause of genital and eye disease among humans.
Chlamydial infection of cervicitis is asymptomatic in about half and three-quarters of all infected women. The infection which is transmitted through vaginal, anal or oral sex, if not detected timely can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), a generic term for infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and/or ovaries. PID can cause scarring inside the reproductive organs, which can later cause serious complications during pregnancy and chronic pelvic pain.
Symptoms that may occur in women include:
• Pain in the abdomen
• Vaginal bleeding or discharge
• Dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse)
• Urinary urgency (painful urination or the urge to urinate more frequently than usual)
In 50% of cases among men, Chlamydia shows symptoms of infectious urethritis (inflammation of the urethra) characterised by:
• Painful or burning sensation when urinating
• Unusual discharge from the penis
• Swollen or tender testicles
• It can spread to the testicles causing epididymitis, which in rare cases can cause sterility if left untreated
Chlamydia can also cause Chlamydia conjunctivitis or trachoma, reactive arthritis (reiter's syndrome), urethritis (inflammation of the urethra) - especially in young men, perinatal infections, lymphogranuloma venereum, an infection of the lymph nodes and lymphatics.
Chlamydial infections can be diagnosed through Nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT), such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), transcription mediated amplification (TMA), and the DNA strand displacement amplification (SDA).
Chlamydia can be effectively cured with antibiotics once it is detected. Current guidelines recommend azithromycin, doxycycline, erythromycin, or ofloxacin. Agents recommended for pregnant women include erythromycin or amoxicillin
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