"In women, untreated chlamydia may spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)"
Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can infect both women and men. The disease may cause serious and permanent damage to a woman's reproductive system, making it hard or impossible for her to become pregnant. Chlamydia may also cause a potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy, which is a pregnancy that happens outside of the womb.
A person can get chlamydia by having vaginal, oral, or anal sex with someone who has the disease. If your sex partner is male you may still get chlamydia, even if he does not ejaculate. If you have had chlamydia and were treated in the past, you may still get infected again if you have unprotected sex with a person who has chlamydia. If you are pregnant, you may give chlamydia to your baby during childbirth.
Chlamydia and Risk
The only way to avoid STD's is to not have vaginal, oral or anal sex. If you are sexually active you can do a couple of different things to lower your chances of getting chlamydia. Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results is one way to lower your risk. Another way is to use latex condoms the proper way every single time you have sex with another person.
Sexually active young people; however, are at an increased risk of getting chlamydia. The reason why is due to behaviors and biological factors common among young people. Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men are also at increased risk since chlamydia can be spread through oral and anal sex.
Pursue and open and honest talk with your health care provider and ask whether you should be tested for chlamydia or other forms of STD's. If you are a sexually active woman age 25 or younger, you should get a test for chlamydia every year. Gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men, as well as pregnant women, should also be tested for chlamydia.
Chlamydia and Pregnancy
If you are pregnant and have chlamydia, you may pass the infection to your baby during delivery. The disease may cause an eye infection or pneumonia in your baby. Having chlamydia may also make it more likely to deliver your baby prematurely. If you are pregnant you should be tested for chlamydia at your first prenatal visit. Testing and treatment are the best ways to prevent health issues.
Symptoms of Chlamydia
The majority of those who experience chlamydia have no symptoms. If you do have symptoms they might not appear until several weeks after you have sex with an infected partner. Even when chlamydia does not cause symptoms it may damage your reproductive system. Women with symptoms of chlamydia may notice a vaginal discharge and a burning sensation while urinating. The symptoms of chlamydia in men can include the following:
Women and men may also get infected with chlamydia in their rectum, either by having receptive anal sex, or by spread from another infected site such as the vagina. While these infections often times cause no symptoms, they may cause rectal pain, discharge or bleeding. You should be examined by your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms, or if your partner has an STD or symptoms of an STD such as an unusual sore, burning while urinating, a smelly discharge, or bleeding between periods.
Diagnosing and Treating Chlamydia
Laboratory tests to diagnose chlamydia exist. A health care provider may ask you to provide a urine sample, or may use or ask you to use a cotton swab to obtain a sample from your vagina to test for chlamydia.
Chlamydia can be cured with appropriate treatment. It is important that you take all of the medication your doctor prescribes to cure the infection. When taken appropriately, the medication will stop the infection and could decrease your chances of experiencing complications later. Medication for chlamydia should not be shared with other people.
Repeated infection with chlamydia is common. You should be tested again in about three months after you receive treatment, even if you sex partner received treatment as well.
You should not have sex again until you and your sex partner have completed treatment. If your doctor prescribes a single dose of medication, you should wait seven days after taking the medication before you have sex again. If your doctor prescribes a medication for you to take for seven days, you should wait until you have taken all of the doses before having sex.
Chlamydia and Infertility
The initial damage caused by chlamydia often times goes unnoticed. The disease; however, may lead to serious health issues.
In women, untreated chlamydia may spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). People with PID often experience no symptoms; however - some women may experience pelvic and abdominal pain. Even if the disease does not cause symptoms initially, PID may cause permanent damage to your reproductive system and lead to long-term pelvic pain, an inability to become pregnant and potentially deadly ectopic pregnancy.
Men rarely experience health issues related to chlamydia. Infection at times spreads to the tube that carries sperm from the testicles, causing fever and pain. On rare occasion, chlamydia might prevent a man from being able to have children.
Update: New clues behind the resilience of a leading sexually transmitted pathogen, Chlamydia
In the advanced online edition of Molecular Biology and Evolution , authors Domman, et al. have explored factors behind the resilience of the most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S., chlamydia, with an estimated 1 million infected.
The research team sequenced 4 new strains of close genetic cousins of chlamydial pathogens, and examined these with existing DNA data. They found an extensive and robust shuffling of the genomic deck between chlamydia families has played a major role in the evolution of the pathogen, often serving to outwit and exploit its hosts. They also identified genomic hotspots that seem to play a key role in adaptation and survival, with many having an unknown function. Of note, these gene families were most commonly found to have specific protein features gained from their eukaryotic hosts. By combining their molecular analysis with cell-based assays, the authors demonstrated that these are thought to be secreted proteins that interfere with their hosts' defenses.
The authors argue that the evolutionary forces at work behind the diversity of chlamydiae are the result of a unique confluence of birth and death gene evolutionary cycles. In this cycle, new gene copies often arise by gene duplication, with the copies persisting or adapting into new roles within the genome for varying lengths of time, or dying off and being lost randomly. "One of the most surprising findings is that a similar mode of evolution has so far only been observed in fungi, plants, and animals." says Matthias Horn who led the research team. Such factors can provide the research community with new clues into how chlamydia has emerged as a human scourge, as well as novel targets for next-generation therapeutics.
"Our study highlights the importance of taking advantage of the tremendous diversity of environmental microbes to improve our knowledge about the evolution of microbial pathogens," said author Domman.
What is Chlamydia
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