Clamydia infection is the most common sexually transmitted illness. It is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis and it infects more often young people who have an intense sexual life and mainly multiple partners.
he name of this bacteria derives from the ancient greek word “χλαμύδα” (which means “mantle”) because of its form, since it looks like it cloaks like a mantle the core of the infected cell.
The transmission of the disease can be done with any kind of sexual act πράξης (vaginal, anal and oral sex), even with the hands after they touched the genitals, it even can be transmitted from the infected mother to the baby during normal (vaginal) childbirth, during the passage of the baby through the birth canal..
What is encouraging is that there is an effective cure, while the downside is the inexistence in many cases of any symptom, and so the difficulty of a timely diagnose, as well as the serious implications it can have if not treated in time.
Clamydia infection is characterized as” silent epidemic “, because in a great number of patients it is asymptomatic. Especially in women the disease shows no symptoms at 70 -80% of the cases and for this it can be diagnosed long after the infection. Initially it causes cervicitis and then it can spread to the tubes and other genitalia.
Symptoms may include mucopurulent vaginal discharges, abnormal uterus bleeding or bleeding during intercourse, abdominal pain, pain during intercourse, fever, pain while urinating, frequent urination, local redness, itching or swelling of the vagina.
In men 50% does not show any symptoms, while in the rest 50% appear symptoms of urethritis (infection of the urethra), such as pain or burning during urinating , abnormal penis discharges, swollen or soft testicles or fever. If the bacteria spreads into the testicles , it causes epididymitis, which in rare cases can even cause sterility, if not treated in time. Also chlamydia can cause prostatitis.
Chlamydia can be treated with bacteriostatic antibiotics: macrolides (Azithromycin, Clarithromycin, Erythromycin et al.) or Tetracyclines (Doxycycline, Tetracycline et al.), while in pregnant and breastfeeding women mainly Erythromycin or alternative Amoxicillin are recommended.
As a rule, it is recommended that both partners be treated.
If the disease is not treated, it can cause serious reproductive and other health problems , such as eye infections (trachoma), in the lungs and the ears. Especially, in women it can cause :
- chronic inflammatory pelvic disease, which is considered the most serious complication of the disease and shows a severe clinical pisture in its acute form
- acute endometritis
- ectopic pregnancy (chlamydia cause 40% of ectopic pregnancies)
- premature delivery, impaired fetal development and low birth weight
In men it can cause :
In a newborn baby it can cause conjunctivitis (1/3 of the cases within the first 2 weeks of his life) or pneumonia ( 15% within the first 4 months). 50-60% of newborns from mothers with Chlamydial Urethritis are infected by the disease.
Because of the high rate of asymptomatic cases, screening must depend on the appearance of symptoms. People with intense sexual life and multiple partners must be screened annually, so that eventual infection can be diagnosed early.
Screening in men is done by taking material from urethra discharges and in women by taking cervical or urethral sample or urine. The sample is examined in a lab with classic method of cultivation or with other modern methods . It must be noted that Pap –test does not diagnose the existence of chlamydia.
Of course a strong preventive measure is the use of protection by barrier (condoms, vaginal septum etc.) during sexual contact, and so the danger of transmission of chlamydial infections is reduced (as other STDs) by up to 65%. Also hand washing sexual contact after is recommended.
In conclusion, the possibility of transmission of chlamydial infections during sexual contact must not cause fear or stress, but lead to information about the subject mainly on the ways it spreads, the prevention measures and the symptoms.
Knowledge is essential as it contributes in compliance with the prevention measures , and secondly in acknowledging eventual symptoms.
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