Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by bacteria called chlamydia trachomatis. Although you may not be familiar with its name, chlamydia is one of the most common STDs, because most of the time this disease is asymptomatic. This means that lots of people may have already been infected, but are unaware of it. It’s considered to be the most prolific STD due to their cunning nature.
Chlamydia is known to utilize the “Trojan horse” tactics to stealthily sneak into host cells. With the help of the Pgp3 protein, it can often evade defenses and avoid detection, making it one of the most prevalent STDs worldwide with over 50 million cases worldwide and approximately 3 million cases in the United States annually.
How it Spreads
The bacteria can move from one person to another through sexual intercourse, and possibly through oral-genital contact. If someone touches bodily fluids that contain the bacteria and then touches his or her eye, a chlamydial eye infection is possible.
Chlamydia also can be passed from a mother to her baby while the baby is being delivered. This can cause pneumonia and conjunctivitis, which can become very serious for the baby if it’s not treated.
You can’t catch chlamydia from a towel, doorknob, or toilet seat.
Chlamydia in Women
Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlamydia_infection
It can be difficult for a woman to know whether she has chlamydia because most women don’t have any symptoms. Therefore, it’s very important to see a doctor at least once a year if you are sexually active.
But when the symptoms do occur, they are usually noticeable within one to three weeks of contact and can include the following:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge that may have an odor
- Bleeding between periods
- Abdominal pain with fever
- Pain when having sex
- Itching or burning in or around the vagina
- Pain when urinating
Much less often, symptoms are present and may cause unusually painful periods and itching or burning in or around the vagina.
Complications in Women
The initial damage that chlamydia causes often goes unnoticed. However, chlamydial infections can lead to serious health problems with both short and long term consequences.
In women, chlamydia can spread to the uterus, ovaries or the fallopian tubes. This can cause a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Women may also develop an inflammation of the cervix, or an infection in the Bartholin’s glands near the vaginal opening. Very rarely can women develop a reactive arthritis.
Perhaps one of the more serious complications of chlamydia in women is the fact that this infection may render many women incapable of having children.
As chlamydia is known as the ‘silent infection,’ there’s a good chance that a woman might discover she is infected only after chlamydia has inflicted irreversible damage to her reproductive organs, effectively rendering her infertile.
In regards to pregnancy, if left untreated chlamydia can cause potentially fatal pregnancy complications. These include:
- Babies born with chlamydia infections of the respiratory tracts and eyes. Chlamydia is a leading cause of infant pneumonia and conjunctivitis in newborns.
- Premature deliveries.
It’s better to prevent chlamydia than to treat it, and the only way to completely prevent the infection is to abstain from all types of sexual intercourse. If you do have sex, use a latex condom every time. This is the only birth control method that will help prevent chlamydia.
If you have chlamydia, your doctor will prescribe oral antibiotics, usually azithromycin or doxycycline. Your doctor will also recommend your partner(s) be treated as well to prevent re-infection and further spread of the disease.
With treatment, the infection should clear up in about a week or two. It is important to finish all of your antibiotics even if you feel better.
Apart from the conventional allopathic treatments – homeopathic, herbal and other natural medicines are also available and have been found to be quite effective.
It is possible to bridge the gap between conventional treatments, natural remedies, and all things in between. For an in depth explanation on the various naturopathic drugs and homeopathic herbs used for treating chlamydia. Click on the following link to learn more.
You’ll also have access to preventative measures you can take to minimize your risk of getting Chlamydia, as well as preventing future re-infections. (chlamydia in men here…)