By Laura Badalamenti, NMD

Chlamydia is caused by a bacterial infection, Chlamydia trachomatis, and it is the most prevalent sexually transmitted disease (STD). The age group most affected are adolescents and young adults from age 15-24. With the high prevalence of infection, the CDC recommends annual chlamydia screening for all sexually active women younger than age 25 years. Women who are over age 25 years and at increased risk for infection, such as new or multiple sexual partners, should also be screened. Cases in women are reported twice as often as men. Infections in women are usually asymptomatic which mean it can go undetected until other problems arise later or also be passed to a sexual partner without knowing.

In women,the cervix is the most common place of infection and rarely causes symptoms. An untreated infection can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This is a major cause of infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain. Women who are pregnant could spread the infection to their infant during delivery, it infects their eyes and can lead to blindness and also can cause pneumonia. Some women may have an abnormal vaginal discharge or notice bleeding between periods or after sex as the cervix is more inflamed and can easily bleed. A small portion of women could have an infection in the urethra and cause symptoms like a urinary tract infection such as pain with urination, urgency, and frequency of urinating. Men can also carry Chlamydia without having any symptoms. Though in men who have symptoms typically there is a mucoid or watery urethral discharge. There also can be pain with urination. Men may notice testicular swelling or pain if the infection causes epididymitis. Also be aware if genital secretions come in contact your eyes it can cause conjunctivitis or “pink eye”.

Both men and women can be tested with a first catch urine sample. Women could also have a swab sample collected from the cervix and vagina. Men could also be tested by urethral swab sampling. If the test comes back positive your doctor will prescribe anantibiotic, typically azithromycin or doxycycline. Sexual partners should also be treated and sexual activity should be avoided until after 7 days of starting antibiotic treatment.