Swelling and Inflammation
What Is Chlamydia?
The bacterial infection chlamydia urethritis is mainly caused by Chlamydia trachomatis. The infection is spread through oral, anal, and vaginal sex, and occurs in both men and women. According to the American Sexual Health Association (ASHA), every year, more than three million people suffer from a chlamydia infection, and most of these cases are young teenagers.
In men, chlamydia causes a severe infection of the urethra, causing damage to it, which normally passes urine from the bladder to the penis to expel it from the body.
Who Can Get Chlamydia?
Any person having unprotected sex is at risk of contracting and spreading chlamydia. Without certain tests, it is not possible to say whether a person has chlamydia or not. Young people in the age bracket of sixteen to twenty-four years are more prone to contracting it. One is at risk of getting chlamydia if:
- The individual doesn’t use condoms or dental dams while having sex
- The individual already has a sexually transmitted infection
- The individual has sex with multiple partners; the more partners one has, the higher the chances of getting a sexually transmitted disease.
What Are the Symptoms of a Chlamydia Infection?
The symptoms of chlamydia do not appear immediately; they take several weeks to show. The symptoms of the infection include:
- A burning sensation during urination
- Severe itching over the swelling head of the penis, which turns reddish
- A burning sensation at the urethral opening
- Yellowish fluid discharge from the penis, along with severe pain
- Painful and swollen testicles
- Inflamed urethra, making urination difficult
Symptoms of chlamydial infections in men are similar to the symptoms of gonorrhea, an STD. It can occur at the same time as chlamydia and needs to be treated concurrently.
If the chlamydia infection is left untreated, it can spread to the cervix and the fallopian tubes, resulting in the below symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Sudden fever
- Burning or itching sensation around the vagina
- In women, bleeding between periods with severe pain
- Pain during intercourse
Symptoms in Men
In men, it is a bit difficult to diagnose symptoms. They could be infrequent, which leads the individual to believe it is not caused by an infection. They include:
- A watery/milky or pus discharge from the penis
- A burning sensation during urination
- Itching or burning sensation around the opening of the penis
- Pain in the lower belly
- Tender testicles
- Pain in the rectal region that may include bleeding or discharge
- Infection in the throat and eyes
If the infection is in the eyes, the person will experience itching or eyes turning red; a sore throat will indicate a throat infection. However, this affectation is very rare.
Is Chlamydia Contagious?
One can contract chlamydia by having vaginal, oral, or anal sex with someone who is already infected with the disease. This can happen even if neither partner climaxes. Even if the individual has been treated in the past, there are still chances of getting this disease if you had unprotected sex with someone infected with chlamydia. There are rare cases where one can get infected by touching the eyes if infected fluids get on the hands. Chlamydia does not spread through casual contact, such as shaking hands, sharing food and drinks, hugging, holding hands, sneezing, coughing, or sitting on the toilet seat.
What Are the Causes of a Chlamydia Infection?
Chlamydia is mainly caused by engaging in unprotected sexual activities. The infection can spread easily through vaginal, oral, and anal sex. People who have unprotected sex with multiple partners suffer more from chlamydia than those who have safer sex. According to a recent survey, young people under the age of twenty-four are more likely to suffer from the sexual disorder caused by the infection than those who practice safer sex.
Making a Diagnosis
The doctor has to perform various lab tests to diagnose a chlamydia infection, including urine tests.
The doctor also needs to test urethral discharge (the swab test) to find out if there are other infections present due to chlamydia. The doctor will test the fluid by collecting some from the top of the penis with the help of a sterile alcohol agent. The discharge is then sent to the laboratory for testing. The doctor can reach a conclusion once all the reports of the medical tests are finished.
The disease affects women severely; they experience a burning sensation during urination, abnormal vaginal discharge, abdominal pain, and blood in the urine. If the urethra is infected, the frequency of urination will increase as well.
How to Get Rid of Chlamydia
Once a person is diagnosed with chlamydia, the person, along with their sexual partner, is treated with antibiotics. It is very important to treat one’s sexual partners, even if neither show any signs of the disease, nor test positive in medical tests. But such treatments help avoid re-infections, which could occur depending on one’s sexual activities.
The treatments help overcome the minor or major symptoms relating to the infection and also help eliminate the disease.
The various antibiotics are highly effective in treating and eliminating chlamydia infections. Some of the most useful antibiotics are Doxycycline, Azithromycin, Erythromycin, Levofloxacin, and Ofloxacin.
The doctor can prescribe antibiotics, to be taken for a period of one to two weeks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a higher dose (1 gram) of azithromycin taken as a part of treatment can be highly effective.
The treatments are powerful and can resolve the infection in as little as one to two weeks. But the patient should not indulge in sexual activity for at least one week after completing the course to avoid re-infection.
Prevention of Chlamydia Infection
To prevent chlamydia infections, men and women should use condoms during sexual activity. The use of condoms helps reduce the chances of sexual infection. Always use fresh, new condoms for each sexual activity. Also, make a habit of regularly checking and screening for STDs, which include HIV. Special precautions should be taken by those who are sexually active with multiple partners. Care and caution should be taken during sexual play, which will be beneficial for oneself and one’s partners, too.
Also, never indulge in sexual activity with unknown persons or with a person whom you have known for only a short while. Make sure you interact with the right type of person to avoid unnecessary problems.
Lifestyle and Coping
Always try and follow clean, hygienic habits. Be disciplined and maintain some restrictions in your daily life. Be active, healthy, and try to lead a hale and hearty lifestyle. Avoid unwanted situations, and never have unsafe sex, as it could infect you and result in dangerous situations, if not treated on time.