Chlamydia – “The Silent Disease” Among Sexually Active Adults and Teens
One of the most common and curable sexually transmitted diseases is Chlamydia. It is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis and can be transmitted by sexual contact. Pregnant women who have Chlamydia in their last trimester can pass it on to their newborn child. There are hundreds of thousands of new cases reported each year, but this probably only represents approximately half of the actual cases. In many instances, people that contract this disease do not show any symptoms. They then have unprotected sex and pass it on to other people. If you are a man and do experience symptoms they can include, painful urination or discharge from the penis or rectum. In women, they can also experience painful urination, pain in the abdomen, pain in the lower back, vaginal irritation and discharge. If you are uncomfortable going to your primary doctor, you can find many health clinics that specialize in STD’s throughout the United States. Since this disease can not show any symptoms it is important to have regular screenings if you feel you may be at risk.
If Chlamydia goes untreated it can cause serious health issues. Women can suffer from chronic pelvic pain, pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility. A pregnant mother can pass the disease to their child during birth. A woman with Chlamydia is much more susceptible to other STD’s such as herpes and HIV. If you feel you have Chlamydia you should visit a doctor so they can complete the proper testing to confirm the diagnosis. Doctors can use a simple swab test or urine test to determine the presence of Chlamydia. The standard treatment usually consists of antibiotic drugs. You will want to inform your sexual partners that you have the disease so that they can obtain the proper testing and treatment. If they do have the disease and it goes untreated it can spread to other areas of the body including the eyes which can cause blindness. In women it can spread to their fallopian tubes and uterus making them infertile. In men it can spread to their prostate and testicles which can cause pain and swelling.
The best way to protect yourself from any sexually transmitted disease is to abstain from sex. If you are sexually active it is important that your partners are screened before you have sex. This can ensure that they will not spread any diseases to you that they may not even be aware they have. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest a yearly screening for sexually active women 25 or younger, older women with risk factors and all pregnant women. Always using latex condoms during sex is a good practice in prevention. If you think you may be infected it is important to stop all sexual activity immediately and to contact your sexual partners. There are many clinics throughout the United States that specialize in STD’s and can provide you with information on the disease as well as, public services that may help you during your recovery. If you are feeling overwhelmed or depressed by this diagnosis, you should notify your doctor and they should provide you with access to psychological care.
While many STD’s such as Chlamydia and Syphilis are completely curable, there are more severe diseases that do not have a cure such as HIV, herpes and HPV (which can lead to cervical cancer). It is important to take the necessary precautions when engaging in sexual activity. Do not be afraid to ask your partner to be tested before sex and offer to be tested yourself. This will ensure that you both are not infected with any STD’s that you may not be aware of and will keep you both safe. You should always use latex condoms for added protection. If you learn that you are infected, you must stop any sexual activity immediately. It is important to note that sexually active American teens are at an added risk of contracting sexual diseases so they need to be educated about the signs and symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases. The more information you have, the better your chances of preventing a sexually transmitted disease and staying healthy.