Chlamydia: The silent STD

All Woman

CHLAMYDIA is a very common STD which some people refer to as the “silent killer”, not because it is deadly, but because the virus can live in your body without showing any symptoms. This STD spreads quickly because it can easily go unnoticed. For women, chlamydia can have a serious negative impact on the reproductive organs.

According to Dr Samantha Nicholson, medical internist, if it is untreated, women can become infertile as chlamydia can cause significant damage to the Fallopian tubes, resulting in blockage of the tubes with inability to conceive.

The infection can also damage the lining of the tubes resulting in an increase in probability of an ectopic pregnancy in the event that pregnancy does occur. In severe cases the Fallopian tubes, ovaries, lining of the uterus and cervix can become severely inflamed resulting in pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This results in fever, abdominal pain, and sometimes a blood-stained malodorous vaginal discharge. It can also cause abscess formation in the Fallopian tubes and ovaries with subsequent severe chronic pelvic pain and extensive scarring.

The undersurface of the liver may also become inflamed causing pain in the right upper abdomen. Chlamydia may sometimes cause silent damage to the Fallopian tubes and ovaries with very few symptoms such as fever and pain. It frequently coexists with gonorrhoea especially when there is severe pelvic inflammatory disease. In this case there is the formation of purulent discharge (pus formation) in the Fallopian tubes, uterus and cervix. There may be associated painful urination, pain during sexual activity and associated fever.

Chlamydia is a serious infection and is transmitted by unsafe sexual practices, just like Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), syphilis and herpes simplex II. It is spread by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the infection. If you are pregnant, you can give chlamydia to your baby during childbirth.

Persons who do have symptoms might notice:

•Abnormal discharge

•Burning while urinating

•Abdominal pain

•Pain when having sex

•Fever and vomiting in extreme cases

•Pelvic pain

•PID.

Not having symptoms makes the disease more dangerous, as such Dr Nicholson advises that if you suspect that you have chlamydia, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Treatment for chlamydia is simple and only requires that you take one single dose of antibiotics to clear it from your system.

“Normally, you start treatment even before the test results get back,” she explained.

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