Chlamydia is really a sexually transmitted illness (STD) caused by Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria. It is the most commonly reported infectious illness in the United States. Some strains of C. trachomatis may also cause trachoma, an infectious eye illness that can lead to blindness.
C. trachomatis can be transmitted between sexual partners during oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse. It may also be transmitted from an infected mother to her baby during childbirth and trigger an eye infection or a kind of pneumonia in the newborn. Chlamydia is occasionally called a silent illness, simply because it may not produce any noticeable symptoms. For women who do feel sick following infection, the most typical symptoms are bleeding between menstrual periods, abdominal cramps, pain during intercourse, and a discharge of pus from the vagina.
Men might notice inflammation or soreness in their testicles, pain during urination, or a discharge from the penis. One reason why chlamydia is really a harmful disease in spite of the lack of early warning symptoms in many individuals is that it can lead to long-term complications for men as well as women. Women with untreated chlamydia are at risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), a condition that can cause lifelong infertility. Some infected individuals are at risk of developing a kind of chronic arthritis called Reiter's syndrome.
Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted illness in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that there are as many as 4 million Americans infected with chlamydia, with 2.8 million new infections each year. It is extremely likely that the real numbers are higher simply because many people with chlamydia 75 percent of infected women and 50 percent of infected men don't have any noticeable symptoms and are not screened by a physician.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 89 million individuals are infected with chlamydia worldwide, with about 8 million permanently blind as a result of trachoma. Some groups of individuals are at greater risk than other people of being infected with chlamydia. High-risk groups in the United States include:
Chlamydia is caused by C. trachomatis, a bacterium that lives inside the cells of the tissues that line the genital tract in both men and women. It may also infect the tissues that line the eye. It takes between one and three weeks for the bacterium to produce noticeable symptoms in infected individuals; as was noted earlier, however, most infected women and half of infected men don't develop symptoms troublesome sufficient to send them to a doctor. Women infected with chlamydia may notice the following symptoms:
Chlamydia isn't usually diagnosed promptly because so numerous people who are infected have no symptoms and may not go to a physician. In May 2007, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommended annual screening for chlamydia of all sexually active women age 25 and younger, as well as other women at high risk for infection who don't have symptoms. In addition, numerous individuals who do have symptoms of chlamydia are also infected with HIV, gonorrhea, syphilis, or other STDs.
It's now typical for doctors to test patients for these other diseases to determine which disease is causing the patient's symptoms. Chlamydia could be diagnosed in both men and women by a easy urine test. An additional test that could be used is really a laboratory culture of a smear taken from a woman's cervix (the lower end of the uterus), the opening of the urethra at the tip of a man's penis, or the anus.
Chlamydia is treated by a course of oral antibiotics, either as a one-time dose or as a series of pills to be taken over a period of five to ten days. People being treated for chlamydia ought to not have sex for a period of two weeks after treatment to make sure they cannot pass the infection to others.
The prognosis for chlamydia when treated promptly is very great; 95 percent of patients are cured with a single course of antibiotic medications. Between 10 and 40 percent of untreated women, nevertheless, will develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID); of those women who are diagnosed with PID, 5 percent will develop a liver disorder. Reiter's syndrome might also be a long-term or recurrent health issue; more than 40 percent of patients diagnosed with it eventually develop vision problems or permanent arthritis, although they can expect to live normal life spans.
Chlamydia can be prevented in a number of ways:
The most important job in fighting chlamydia is the introduction of better screening methods, particularly for young women; more effective tracing and treatment of infected partners; and honest communication between patients and their doctors. As one Boston physician said in 2007, "Discussing sexual activity isn't easy for a lot of people, but being honest with your physician and getting tested are imperative for great health and future fertility."
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