Infections that are transmitted through sexual contact are known as sexually transmitted diseases or STDs. One type of a sexually transmitted disease (STD) is chlamydia.
In the US, a substantial number of chlamydia infections are reported every year, making it one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases affecting all age groups, particularly those who are sexually active. The disease spreads very easily and often has no prominent symptoms at the start of infection. For this reason, diagnosis and treatment may be delayed. The infection can also be passed on to the other sexual partner unknowingly. The first step to controlling chlamydia infections is by educating and letting the people know the various types of STDs including their transmission and damaging effects in the body.
Understanding Chlamydia: Facts You Should Know
While chlamydia is a very common type of STD, being aware of the disease is an important step toward seeking medical help to prevent the infection from spreading to others. Here are some important facts about chlamydia infection you should know about:
- Chlamydia is a bacteria that is transmitted through sexual intercourse.
- Chlamydia is a very common STD, but most people do not realize that they have it.
- Women who are sexually active are most susceptible to acquiring chlamydia infections.
- The only way that the disease spreads from one person to another is through sexual contact. It cannot be spread through shaking hands with the infected individual, sharing of food, and through contaminated food or water.
- The symptoms of chlamydia in men and women can be different.
- Untreated chlamydia can have serious and long-lasting effects on the health of a person.
- Pregnant women who are infected with chlamydia can easily transmit the infection to their unborn baby.
- Since the chlamydia infection is caused by bacteria, antibiotics are usually recommended to completely treat the infection.
- Chlamydia infection can easily reoccur in a person.
- Chlamydia infection can be prevented by following safety precautions.
Are you suspecting a chlamydia infection?
Identifying a chlamydia infection all by yourself may not be very easy or accurate since most of its symptoms may not be evident. However, when the symptoms start to appear, they can be quite easy to notice. Chlamydia infections tend to show symptoms within a span of about 1-3 weeks from the moment of acquiring the bacterial infection or sexual contact with an infected person. Some of the typical chlamydia infection symptoms include the following:
Symptoms of chlamydia in women
Some of the most common symptoms of chlamydia in women are:
- Unusual vaginal discharge with a strange odor
- Intermenstrual bleeding or bleeding between periods
- Painful menstrual periods
- Severe pain in the abdominal region along with fever
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Severe vaginal itching
- A burning sensation when urinating
Symptoms of chlamydia in men
There are some distinct symptoms of chlamydia that can be seen in men such as:
- Cloudy discharge from the penis
- Painful sensation when urinating
- Severe burning and itching sensations around the penile region
- Pain and inflammation around the testicles
Diagnosing a chlamydia infection
A number of tests that can help in confirming the diagnosis of chlamydia can be recommended by the doctor. A swab sample can be collected when it comes to chlamydia infections. The doctor may take a swab sample from the urethra of men and from the cervix of women. The sample is then sent to the laboratory for further testing. A urinalysis can also be performed to check for any bacterial infection.
How is chlamydia treated?
The doctor would normally prescribe antibiotics such as Zithromax (azithromycin) or doxycycline, which have to be taken orally. The doctor may also suggest that both sexual partners must undergo treatment to prevent the infection from recurring or spreading to others.
With prompt treatment, the infection tends to clear up after a week or so. It is extremely critical to complete the entire course of antibiotics even if one feels better after a few days of taking the medications.
A severe chlamydia infection could also require hospitalization. After finishing the entire course of antibiotics, it is important to do a retest to ensure that the infection is completely gone. Retesting is important to see if both partners have also been cleared well of the infection. Moreover, it is necessary to refrain from indulging in any form of sexual activity until the infection has been completely cured.
Home remedies for chlamydia infections
Since chlamydia infections are quite common among sexually active individuals, there is more research being conducted in the field of alternative medicine to treat chlamydia. Home remedies for chlamydia infections are becoming increasingly popular as most people want to avoid antibiotic side effects. The following home remedies have proven their effectiveness in curing and managing the symptoms associated with the chlamydia infection:
A natural ingredient found in the kitchen, garlic is filled with a number of antibiotic and antiviral properties, thereby making it a useful remedy for treating a variety of ailments. To treat a chlamydia infection using garlic, eat about 3-4 cloves of raw garlic before meals to internally clear out the infection. There are certain natural enzymes found in garlic that can help get rid of the chlamydia bacteria. If you are not comfortable eating raw garlic, you could add it to your food or consume garlic capsules that can be easily purchased in most pharmacies. If you are suffering from conditions like diabetes, you may have to talk with your doctor since garlic in people with diabetes can cause certain blood clotting issues. Although garlic has certain downsides, it still continues to be one of the popular remedies for treating multiple infections including chlamydia.
Sage is a medicinal plant that has a number of herbal properties, which can help boost the immune system and clear up infections. Sage tea is one of the best ways to completely treat chlamydia infections. Moreover, it is quite easy to prepare.
To make a sage tea, take approximately 50 mg of crushed sage leaves, and boil them in 250 ml of water. Let the leaves steep well in the water before straining and consuming. Continue drinking this tea until you are completely free from the infection. You can also make more of this tea in advance and store it in the fridge. Every day, drink about 2-3 cups depending on the severity of your infection. The tea should be consumed without adding any cream or sugar into it. After about a week, you will certainly notice an improvement in your condition. Sage leaves are extremely powerful and have been scientifically proven to be effective in treating chlamydia infections.
Echinacea is yet another natural herb that contains certain properties that help in warding off infections and help in boosting the immunity levels of the body. This herb can be consumed in the form of capsules or as a tincture due to its natural cleansing properties. You can also make a tea out of echinacea leaves. Consume the tea about 3-4 times a day until the infection completely goes away. Consuming this natural herb can increase the production of white blood cells (WBCs) in the body. White blood cells (WBCs) are the ones that fight infections and protects the body against harmful pathogens. Due to the known health benefits of echinacea, this herb can also be purchased in capsule or powder forms at pharmacies.
Goldenseal is also known to be one of the best herbs for treating bacterial infections like chlamydia. Goldenseal contains a natural alkaloid that is effective in killing bacteria. This alkaloid is known as berberine. For chlamydia infections, it is recommended to take 1 gram of goldenseal thrice each day to achieve faster results.
5) Dietary changes
One of the most crucial elements associated with fighting a chlamydia infection is to bring about the changes in one's diet. Although one's dietary intake is not directly related to acquiring the disease, eating well-balanced and nutritious meals can help your body fight harmful bacteria. Since goldenseal can help increase the white blood cells (WBCs) in the body to combat certain infections, consuming a healthy diet can also do the same.
A healthy diet helps in building the immune system of the body, which in turn boosts the immunity levels of the body, enabling the body to naturally fight the infections on its own. If you have a chlamydia infection, try including green leafy vegetables such as kale, alfalfa, chlorella, wheat grass, or barley grass in your diet. You should also include probiotics like yogurt, which can help increase the growth of good bacteria in the gut. Moreover, it is important to increase your intake of fiber-rich foods, which come in the form of beans, whole grains, natural fruits, and vegetables. Natural fibers from healthy food can help in the natural detoxification process of the body. Foods that should be certainly avoided include alcohol, tea and coffees, meat, fatty foods like cheese and butter, processed foods, and fast foods.
Hydration is an important factor to be kept in mind to get rid of the chlamydia infection. Drinking plenty of water and fresh juices rich in vitamin C can help build a strong immune system in the body.
Neem is a medicinal plant that is extensively used in Ayurveda. There are a number of medicinal properties that are embedded in neem oil or crushed neem seeds. The natural antibacterial property of neem is considered to be very effective in treating various forms of both internal and external infections. Neem oil can be used as a topical treatment for chlamydia infections. In various Ayurvedic stores, one can even find natural and herbal neem powders that are safe for consumption. The powders can help the body detoxify from the inside to get rid of harmful bacteria and germs that cause infections in the body.
Word of advice
It is best to treat the symptoms of a chlamydia infection right away once they are identified. An untreated chlamydia infection could get worse, especially in women. Treatment for both partners must also be carried out to avoid reinfection.