Why Chlamydia Can Be Worse For Women

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Chlamydia is normally a bacterial infection that can be treated using antibiotics. It is the most common Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) in the population, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. However, it is common for those infected to not experience any symptoms, or to experience very mild symptoms which can be easily confused with other conditions.

Chlamydia is spread through sexual contact with an infected person. Chlamydia can be spread via vaginal, oral or anal sex as long as the area makes contact with the sexual fluids of an infected person. Apart from this, it can also be spread to a child from the mother during birth.


Symptoms of Chlamydia

Majority of the infected people do not show any signs of Chlamydia but they might start showing about five to ten days post the infection period. Men and women experience different types of symptoms. They include:

Symptoms In Women

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Abdominal pain accompanied by fever
  • A burning sensation around the vagina
  • Unpleasant vaginal odour
  • Painful periods
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Itchiness around the vagina
  • Pain during sex
  • Pain when urinating
  • The urge to urinate more frequently


Symptoms in Men

In men, the symptoms may not occur frequently and they can be hard to spot. Some of these symptoms include:

  • A penile discharge that is cloudy, white or watery
  • A “burning sensation” or pain when urinating
  • Tenderness, pain or inflammation of the testicles
  • These symptoms are not only limited to the genitals but they may also appear in the eyes, throat and rectum. These depend on how the infection was transmitted for example anally or orally.
  • Some other symptoms that might appear are:
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Throat infection
  • Rectal bleeding or discharge


The Effects of Chlamydia

The effects usually occur mostly in cases where the infection is not diagnosed or treated in time. Chlamydia can lead to infertility since it can damage both male’s and female’s reproductive systems.

In women, if the infection is not treated it spreads to either the womb or the fallopian tubes leading to a Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. It may cause ectopic pregnancies which is characterised by a fertilised egg developing outside the womb where it is meant to normally.

In men, if you have the infection for too long it may cause complications like tender or swollen testicles and frequent urethral infections.


STI Tests and their Importance

The process of chlamydia screening and diagnosis is very simple. The two main tests done include:

Urine test – you give a sample of your urine which is examined and analysed in the laboratory. This aims at determining if the infection is present.

A swab – it is done in both men and women but differently. For the women, a swab of discharge from the cervix is taken by the doctor while for men a slim swab is inserted into the penis so as to get the specimen from the urethra. At times if need be, the doctor might request for a swab from the anus.

Without these tests it can be hard for a person to know if they are really infected because chlamydia is asymptomatic. Most people hardly know they have this infection. Again all STIs have similar symptoms and if care is not taken, a patient might treat another infection ignoring chlamydia.

If you are diagnosed with chlamydia, the doctor prescribes some oral antibiotics mostly azithromycin (Zithromax). If one person goes for chlamydia treatment it is also advisable that the partner(s) be treated too.


Why CDC recommends Women to get STI tests

According to CDC, the probability of women getting infected with STIs is high than that of men. This is due to some reasons such as:

  • Women might tend to confuse the symptoms with another disease such as a yeast infection. In men such symptoms are very clear.
  • Female’s genitals are more delicate than those of a male. This makes it easier for bacteria or virus to get a way into the system.
  • Women hardly show the symptoms of the infections such as chlamydia. At times the symptoms appear and go away.
  • In any case a person has sores it is easier for men to see them than it is for women.
  • Untreated STIs have severe implications in women than men; for example infertility and ectopic pregnancies.
  • Some of the STIs are transmissible from mother to infant during childbirth.

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