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CHLAMYDIA INFECTIONS

 

Chlamydia is a bacterial infection which has now replaced gonorrhea as one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. It is the most common STD in 16-25 year-olds. It is often obtained at the time of menses when the cervix is slightly opened. It can cause irregular bleeding, cramps, discharge, and if severe, high fever and abdominal pain.

In women, the most serious form of Chlamydia leads to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).  This can be a severe infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries with abdominal pain and fever.  Patients often require hospital admission for effective treatment. The late effects of PID include recurrent infections, sterility and/or tubal (ectopic) pregnancy.  Less severe infections affect the cervix, vagina, and urinary tract causing a vaginal discharge, irregular bleeding or spotting, urinary frequency, and burning of urination.

In pregnancy, women with Chlamydia may also transmit the infections to the baby during childbirth.  In the newborn, it results in eye infections and even pneumonia.

In men, Chlamydia can cause painful urination and watery discharge from the penis.  Infection of the testicles may occur and could result in sterility.

Most importantly, both men and women may have a Chlamydia infection without any symptoms. This is termed the "carrier state".

Because of all these potentially serious consequences, a Chlamydia test may be done at the initial gynecological appointment.  It will also be done at routine gynecological visits, if never done in the past, if you have a suspicious history or symptoms, and/or a sexual partner diagnosed as having Chlamydia.

If the test is positive, you will be prescribed antibiotics.  You will also be asked to return for another Chlamydia test to be certain that the infection has been cured.

It is extremely important that your sexual partner be informed of this situation so they can see their personal health care provider.  Failure to carry out the treatment of both sexual partners will result in the re-infection of the treated partner by the untreated one.

 

 

 

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