Commonly, public has been fed with the notion that the sexually transmitted diseases worth knowing are the fearsome Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), herpes and maybe gonorrhoea. It is however a mistake to ignore Chlamydia as one of the burdens that almost always brings a huge impact in our society. The explanation behind this might lies in the fact that majority of the patients infected do not even aware that these microorganisms have well resided in their body. For both men and women, around 60% of them are asymptomatic but complications that may arise in the long run have made this germ to be a silent trouble-maker.
To clear out the doubt, Chlamydia is indeed a sexually transmitted disease. This infection is caused by Chlamydia Trachomatis. Although it is not being put on the pedestal as its other counterparts, World Health Organisation has stated that this STD tops the list worldwide. There has not been adequate data to suggest its ranking in Malaysia but it is a responsibility for everyone to equip themselves with as much information as possible on it regardless of anything.
For the unfortunate 40 percenters, they might find themselves enduring the symptoms at the private parts. For the women, whitish discharge from the vagina, bleeding between menstruation, bleeding after sexual intercourse and pain at the lower tummy area are the problems that they can possibly face. As for men, the specific symptoms are whitish discharge oozing from the penis and they may develop inflammation inside their scrotums or prostate glands. Generally, similar presentations can be looked out from both of them such as pain during urination, joint tenderness, anal discomfort, conjunctivitis (inflammation of part of the eyes) and sore throat.
Active, unhealthy and unprotected sexual lifestyle put individuals at risk to catch this infection, especially for young adults. Should the bacteria decide to produce symptoms for the affected personnel, it would not act immediately as the incubation period is between one to three weeks, which means only after this period that the aforementioned problems would start to surface.
If left untreated, severe complications await. Infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease and ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy occurring outside the womb) are the nightmares that one should try to avoid. A much rare condition called lymphogranuloma venereum which is a subtype of Chlamydia infection. Recent demographic data has shown that it is becoming more prevalent in men who practise same sex intercourse (MSM) but women is not excluded from the risk of contracting it. Examples of the symptoms are painless sore at private areas, painful lymph nodes at groin, and bleeding from the anus.
If one thinks that the devastation being brought by this microbe stops there, it is wrong. Pregnant women who are infected would not only put their health at stake, but also the baby’s life on the line. Low birth weight, lung infections, conjunctivitis and preterm birth are among the issues that mothers would not want their children to suffer from at such tender age.
This catastrophe however is not endless. It is highly treatable under the supervision of healthcare professionals. Current guidelines being established by the WHO indicate the usage of doxycycline for seven days, two times a day or one-time consumption of azithromycin as its primary antibiotics. The alternatives for these medications should the patient is allergic or contraindicated for both are ofloxacin and erythromycin which need to be taken for a week too. They are not accessible over the counter easily because they are doctor prescription drugs. You need to be diagnosed by the doctor first before commencing the regime. Until you are deemed cured by your doctor, sex and alcohol must be avoided at all cost. As for infection occurring in pregnancy, the drug choices are erythromycin, amoxicillin and azithromycin.
Besides treating the patients, it is also vital to do contact tracing. Basically, this is just to identify the sex partner of the patients because the partner is considered to be at a high risk to develop the same condition. Thus, it is highly advisable for the patients to bring along their other halves as well so that the same treatment can be started. Most of the time they will be reluctant to come but the doctors can still give out the antibiotics for them through empirical approach.
Follow-up is done after two to three weeks. As being mentioned above, sexual intercourse is prohibited during the course of the antibiotics and violation of this rule would render the antibiotics useless for the patients. Other than that, it is important to note that the antibiotics have to be finished according to their courses because incomplete dosage can cause resistance of the same drugs for the patients.
For preventive measure, once the patient has been completely treated, they must be educated on the significance of safe sex. Apart from functioning as birth control, it can also act as barrier to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted disease. Knowledge indeed can go a long way to make ourselves healthy. Read chlamydia answers by DoctorOnCall to know more about this disease.