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Chlamydia
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Chlamydia

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WOMEN'S HEALTH

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

MEN'S HEALTH

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis, which can damage a woman’s reproductive organs.   Many people experience no signs and symptoms. The disease isn't difficult to treat once you know you have it. If it's left untreated, however, chlamydia can lead to more serious health problems.

An estimated one in two sexually active women will have had chlamydia by the time they're 30 years old.

The disease affects both men and women and occurs in all age groups, though it's most prevalent among teenagers. Seventy-five percent of chlamydia infections occur in people under 25.

Causes

The bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis causes chlamydia. The condition most commonly spreads through sexual intercourse and other intimate contact between genitals, the rectal area and the mouth. It's also possible for a mother to spread chlamydia to her child during delivery, causing pneumonia or a serious eye infection.

When to seek medical advice

See your doctor if you have a discharge from your vagina or penis, have pain during urination, or encounter other signs and symptoms of chlamydia. It's important to treat chlamydia before it leads to other health problems. Also, see your doctor if your sexual partner reveals that he or she has chlamydia, even if you have no symptoms. Symptoms may not occur until several weeks after infection, or may not occur at all.

Screening and diagnosis

Because of the chance of other health problems if you contract chlamydia, ask your doctor how often you should have chlamydia screening tests if you're at risk. You're in a high-risk group if you have:

  • Multiple sexual partners and don't use a condom during sex

  • Other sexually transmitted diseases

  • A sexual partner who has had a sexually transmitted disease

Screening and diagnosis of chlamydia is relatively easy. Tests include:

  • A culture swab. For women, your doctor may take a culture swab of the discharge from your cervix. This can be done at the same time your doctor does a routine Pap test. For men, your doctor may insert a slim swab into the end of your penis to get a sample from the urethra. In some cases, your doctor may swab the anus to test for the presence of chlamydia.

  • A urine test. A sample of your urine analyzed in the laboratory may indicate the presence of this infection.

 

Chlamydia > 1 > 2 > 3 > 4

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Last Modified : 03/14/08 07:24 PM