Chlamydiosis – Causes, Risk Factors, Symptoms And Diagnosis
Chlamydiosis is a bacterial infection with Chlamydia, infectious agent that is transmitted through sexual contact. It is one of the most common STDs worldwide. Chlamydia infects the urethra in men, the cervical canal and superior reproductive organs in women. Chlamydia can also infect the rectum, eyelids and ocular surface. An infected mother can transmit the infection to her baby during birth. Between 50 and 70% of children born by infected mothers are infected at birth. They acquire the infection on the eye, rectum, vagina and the posterior wall of the neck. Between 30 and 40% of these infected infants develop complications such as conjunctivitis or pneumonia. Chlamydia infection increases the risk of infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
Chlamydiosis is an infection caused by a bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis. It is transmitted by vaginal, anal or oral sex with an infected partner. A pregnant woman can pass the infection to the newborn. Infection can be present even in the absence of symptoms but it can be transmitted until it is treated.
Risk factors for chlamydial infection include:
- Unprotected sex without condom
- More than one sexual partner
- One or more partners with increased risk. These includes those who have more than one sexual partner infected with Chlamydia.
- Age at the onset of sex life below 18
- A weakened immune system.
Any child with chlamydiosis require specialist consultation to determine its cause and to investigate a possible sexual abuse.
Up to 90% of women and men with chlamydiosis do not show any symptoms. The time between infection and onset of symptoms, called the incubation period can range from days to months. Symptoms usually begin 1-3 weeks after the sexual contact.
Symptoms in women include:
- Dysuria (burning or pain when urinating)
- Cloudy urine
- Abnormal vaginal loss
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding between menstrual periods
- Genital pruritus (itching)
- Dysmenorrhea (irregular menstrual bleeding)
- Lower abdominal pain
- Fever and fatigu
- Swollen glands (glands at the vaginal opening)
Symptoms in men include:
- Painful or unpleasant sensation during urination (often the first symptom)
- Cloudy urine
- Watery or sticky discharge from the penis
- Scabs on penis
- Sensitivity of the anus or scrotum
Chlamydia does not cause long term damage if treated before complications occur. Left untreated, chlamydiosis can cause multiple complications especially in women. If a woman was infected at birth, the infant may also be infected. A treated chlamydiosis does not provide protection from new reinfection. A new exposure will cause a reinfection, even if the previous infection was treated and cured.
Urgent medical consult is required if you notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- Sudden severe pain in the lower abdomen
- Lower abdominal pain associated with vaginal bleeding or vaginal discharge and fever of 37.8 C or more
- Dysuria (burning on urination), frequent urination, or inability to urinate, and fever of 37.8 C or more.
- Secretions from the penis and fever of 37.8 C or more
- Dysuria (burning on urination), frequent urination, or inability to urinate, and fever of 37.8 C or more
- Pain, swelling or tenderness of the scrotum and fever of 37.8 C or more.
Talk to your doctor in case of the following symptoms:
- Yellow vaginal discharge , viscous and foul-smelling
- Intermenstrual bleedings occurring more than once (if your cycles are regular)
- Pain during intercourse
- Bleeding after intercourse or shower
- Bumps, lumps, itching or blisters around the genital or anal area
- Burning, pain or itching when urinating or increased urinary frequency that lasts longer than 24 hours
- Lower abdominal pain without obvious cause, such as diarrhea or menstrual cramps.
Medical specialists recommended that can diagnose chlamydiosis include:
- Medical interns
Diagnosis and treatment of chlamydiosis us inexpensive and is available at the family doctor office usually. Some people are uncomfortable to consult a GP for a sexually transmitted disease. Most developed countries have specialized clinics or hospitals for diagnosis and treatment and keeping confidential the Chlamydia infection. However, it is good that your family knows about this disease.
Chlamydia infection is diagnosed through a medical history, physical examination and some tests. During the conduct of medical history, your doctor will ask the following questions:
- Do you think you were exposed to a sexually transmitted disease? How do you know? Did you inform your partner regarding this matter?
- What are your symptoms?
- You have an abnormal discharge? if so, what is its color and smell?
- Did you find any swelling around the genitals or in any other area?
- Do you have urinary symptoms, including frequent urination, burning or stinging when urinating or do you urinate in small amounts?
- Do you have pelvic pain or cramps during intercourse?
- What method of contraception you use? Do you use a condom to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases?
- Do you have had any history of sexually transmitted diseases? Were you treated?
After the medical history
- A gynecological exam for women
- A urological examination (for urethritis or epididymitis) for men
- A urine test for chlamydia if there is no reason for gynecological or urological examinations to be made.
There are several types of tests that can be done to diagnose a chlamydiosis. Test results are usually available in 2-3 days, except for culture media that require 5 to 7 days. Other infections can be associated with Chlamydiosis. Testing is recommended for:
- Bacterial vaginosis, a condition caused by the presence of bacteria that normally are not present in the vagina
Annual screening of all adolescents and women up to age 25 years is recommended. Women over 25 who have risky sexual behavior should also be monitored annually. Even a urine test for chlamydia if a complete genital or pelvic exam is not accessible. Pregnant women testing with risky sexual behavior, so that the infection is not transmitted to infants. All pregnant women should be monitored during the first trimester. If a pregnant woman is at risk for chlamydia infection she should be retested in the third quarter. Retesting after 4-6 months of treatment. Women can reinfect from the same partner if the partner is left untreated.
Watchful waiting is the period in which the person and the doctor observes the disease and symptoms without any medical treatment. Watchful waiting is not appropriate for Chlamydia infection. This infection does not cause damage if treated long before the occurence of complications. Untreated, can lead to multiple complications. You should avoid sexual contact before consulting a specialist. If known exposure to Chlamydia, treatment of both sexual partners is manitory. The treatment should be done even in the absence of complications. If there wasn’t ay sexual partner in last 60 days, the last sexual partner will be contacted