Not all STIs come with a full set of obvious symptoms. Some are sneaky yet still wreak havoc! There are asymptomatic STIs that cause many health and fertility risks if left unchecked. Chlamydia is one of these. And it is also one of the most transmitted STI in the world. How then do you know if you have Chlamydia? You get tested regularly. Your sexual wellness is important!
What is Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is a bacterial STI that is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. It is spread by unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal sex. Chlamydia is a common STI that infects both men and women and is spread through infected genital fluids such as semen or vaginal fluid. Symptoms usually start 1-3 weeks after transmission but can take longer. Chlamydia often does not cause any symptoms. It is normally treated with a short course of antibiotics. Chlamydia can be serious if it’s not treated early on, resulting in long-term health issues such as permanent damage to a woman’s reproductive system.
Symptoms of Chlamydia
Many people with Chlamydia do not notice any symptoms (asymptomatic) and are unaware they have an STI. This results in the unchecked spread of this common STI.
Symptoms of Chlamydia include:
- Pain when urinating
- Unusual discharge from the penis, vagina, or rectum
- Swelling and pain in male testicles
- Bleeding after sex or between periods for women
- Abdominal pain or tenderness
The impact of Chlamydia can be lessened with proper testing and treatment. This is one of the easily curable STIs when caught in time.
Testing and Treatment
Testing for Chlamydia is usually a simple urine test. Sometimes a vaginal swab is done as well. If you test positive, you will be prescribed a course of antibiotics. Abstaining from sexual activity during this time is recommended to not spread the infection to others. It is very important that you tell your sexual partners if you test positive so that they may get tested as well. Repeat infection with chlamydia is very common. You should be tested again about three months after you are treated, even if your sexual partner was treated. Open communication is one of the most effective prevention routes we all can take.
As with all STIs, the only absolute way to prevent transmission is to abstain from sexual activity. But there are things that can be done to reduce the risk of transmission when engaging in sexual activity.
- Use a Dam (Oral Barrier) every time you have oral/vaginal or oral/sex
- Use a condom every time you have vaginal or anal sex
- Don’t share sex toys or clean them before sharing
- Condoms should be used to cover the penis during oral sex
- Get tested regularly, after new sexual partners or if a condom or barrier breaks during use
Chlamydia can have long lasting health implications if not treated. In women, untreated chlamydia can spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes causing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). PID can cause permanent damage to your reproductive system, lead to long-term pelvic pain, an inability to get pregnant, and potentially deadly ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus). It can also cause infertility.
Chlamydia can pass to your baby during delivery. This can cause an eye infection or pneumonia in a newborn. Having chlamydia may also result in delivering your baby too early. It is wise to get tested for chlamydia during the first trimester of pregnancy.
There are many ways to effectively help prevent the transmission of Chlamydia and maintain one’s sexual wellbeing. Pamco offers a full line of condoms and oral barriers, both latex and non-latex, for use during sexual activity. Visit our website at www.pamco.ca to view your options. Maintaining your sexual health is your responsibility.