Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. Chlamydia is often found in people with no obvious symptoms and is easily spread through unprotected sex. Though generally symptom-free, the long-term effects of untreated chlamydia can be serious, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Chlamydia might cause abnormal discharge and painful urination. For men, that's as bad as it gets. In women, the infection spreads from the cervix to the fallopian tubes. This can cause her to feel lower back and abdominal pain, nausea, fever, spotting between menstrual periods and pain during intercourse. However, the vast majority of people don't have any symptoms at all, which is why chlamydia is so common, according to the Mayo Clinic.
If untreated, chlamydia can pose some serious long-term health effects. While men are less likely to suffer from any complications, women with untreated chlamydia infections can experience permanent damage to their reproductive system. These damages can be silent until it is too late.
The most common long-term effect of chlamydia is pelvic inflammatory disease. This happens once the chlamydia has spread and causes scar tissue to form in the fallopian tubes and uterus. This scar tissue may result in infertility or ectopic pregnancy, which is a pregnancy that is implanted in the fallopian tubes. This type of pregnancy cannot be successful and can result in fatality to the woman if she carries to term and the tube bursts, resulting in internal bleeding.
How It Is Spread
Chlamydia is spread easily, often because the carrier and the partner have no idea of its existence. Chlamydia infections are passed through any sexual contact, be it vaginal, anal or oral. The risk of chlamydia infection is higher in girls under 25 because their cervical opening is not fully matured, allowing for the infection to easily enter into the fallopian tubes.
The importance of getting checkups for sexually transmitted diseases (STD) to diagnose silent diseases such as chlamydia should always be a priority for sexually active people. Chlamydia is a simple disease to get rid of once diagnosed by a doctor. One dose of azithromycin or a weekly dosage of doxycyclin will cure the infection.
It is important to notify all recent sexual partners of the infection, so they can go in for testing and treatment as well. It is possible to get instantly reinfected with chlamydia if intercourse is had with the infected partner.
STD testing is an important obligation for individuals engaging in sexual intercourse, especially those who have done so with multiple partners. While latex condoms are a good measure to stay safe, it is possible to get infected with chlamydia as well as other STDs if they are used incorrectly or broken.