Chlamydia

Definition - What does Chlamydia mean?

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease (STD), where infection is caused by bacteria spread through sexual contact. Both men and women can have and pass on the disease through any sexual contact, including oral, vaginal, or anal sex. Chlamydia has very few symptoms and can be very mild. However, if left untreated, chlamydia can lead to severe health conditions including sterility.

FertilitySmarts explains Chlamydia

Chlamydia is spread through any sexual contact with someone infected with the disease. Even when no symptoms are present, the disease can still be passed onto the partner. Men with chlamydia can spread chlamydia through any sexual contact, even if he does not ejaculate. A pregnant woman with untreated chlamydia can pass the disease on to the baby during childbirth.

It is not uncommon for someone with chlamydia to have no symptoms. When symptoms do exist, they are typically very mild. Women with chlamydia may notice burning during urination, or vaginal discharge that seems abnormal. Men may notice discharge from the end of the penis, painful or swollen testicles, and burning during urination.

Failure to seek treatment for chlamydia can cause significant health complications over time. In women, untreated chlamydia can cause the disease to spread into the uterus and fallopian tubes, which leads to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This can cause permanent damage to the uterus and ovaries, eventually preventing healthy pregnancies from developing, or causing ectopic pregnancy. In men, untreated chlamydia can cause an infection in the testicles, which has the potential to cause sterility.

Sexually active individuals under the age of 25 and anyone who has had multiple sexual partners should be tested regularly for STDs, including chlamydia. Pregnant women should also be tested during their first prenatal exam.

A single course of antibiotics is prescribed to treat chlamydia. However, antibiotics cannot reverse any permanent damage already caused by the disease.

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