Chlamydia

Chlamydia trachomatis is the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection in humans. Chlamydia trachomatis is primarily transmitted through sexual activity. It can also be passed from pregnant women to their newborn infants during childbirth. Other types of chlamydial infections exist, but they are acquired by non-sexual activities. Typical symptoms include a vaginal or urethral discharge, burning with urination, pelvic pain in women, swelling and tenderness of the scrotum in men (epididymitis), and (rarely in the United States) genital ulcers. 6 When a woman has vaginal intercourse with an infected man, the infection usually begins in the woman’s cervix. The infection may remain in the area of the cervix for some time, or may spread to the uterus (endometritis) and fallopian tubes (salpingitis). When this spread occurs, the condition is called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID may cause few symptoms and go unrecognized, or PID may be a severe, life-threatening infection. Common symptoms of PID include pelvic and abdominal pain, fever and abnormal vaginal bleeding. When abdominal tenderness is present, PID may be confused with other severe abdominal conditions, i.e., acute appendicitis or ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.

Patients with symptoms are usually diagnosed when the clinician finds characteristic physical findings and identifies evidence of the chlamydia organism in genital fluids or urine. Many people with chlamydia infections do not know they are infected. In fact, as many as 85 percent of women and 40 percent of men who are infected have no symptoms .7 Chlamydia infections in both men and women are typically treated with oral antibiotics. Severe pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) may require hospitalization and treatment with intravenous antibiotics.8 Treatment of infected pregnant women prevents infection of the newborn. In addition, newborn infants routinely receive antibiotic eye drops/ointment to prevent eye infection.9 The most serious complication of chlamydial infection is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can damage the fallopian tubes and result in tubal scarring and infertility. In fact, PID causes over 25 percent of the infertility in women pursuing in vitro fertilization in the United States.10 Tubal scarring can also increase the risks for developing a subsequent ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.

Condoms probably reduce the risk of chlamydia transmission among sexually active people. Studies of condoms in actual use, however, show that condoms do not consistently prevent chlamydia infection. If you have already been sexually active outside a lifelong mutually faithful relationship (as in marriage), talk to your healthcare provider about getting you and your partner tested for STDs. Abstinence from sexual activity--including oral sex--or lifetime faithfulness to one uninfected partner is the only certain way to avoid being infected sexually. Read more at  About Chlamydia...

1. American Social Health Association. Sexually Transmitted Diseases in America: How Many Cases and at What Cost? Menlo Park, CA: Kaiser Family Foundation; 1998. 2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. STDs in Adolescents and Young Adults. Available at www.cdc.gov/nchstp/dstd/stats_Trends/1998Surveillance/98PDC/section8.pdf. Accessed February 14, 2000. 3. Gaydos CA, Howell MR, Pare B, et al. Chlamydia trachomatis infections in female military recruits. N Engl J Med. 1998;339:739-744. 4.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. STDs in Adolescents and Young Adults. Available at: www.cdc.gov/nchstp/dstd/stats_Trends/1998Surveillance/98PDC/section8.pdf. Accessed February 14, 2000. 5.Stamm WE. Chlamydia trachomatis. In: Holmes KK, Mardh PA, Sparling PF, et al., eds. Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 3rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw Hill, Co.; 1999:407-422. 6.Ibid. 7. Eng TR, Butler WT, eds. The Hidden Epidemic- Confronting Sexually Transmitted Disease. Institute of Medicine. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1997. 8.Sweet RL. Pelvic inflammatory disease: Treatment. In: Mead PB, Hager WD, Faro S, eds. Protocols for Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell Science, Inc.; 2000:400-405. 9. Crombleholme WR. Neonatal chlamydial infections. In: Mead PB, Hager WD, Faro S, eds. Protocols for Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2nd ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell Science, Inc.; 2000:80-86.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Society for Reproductive Medicine. 1997  Assisted Reproductive Technology Success Rates. National Summary and Fertility Clinic Reports. US Department of Health and Human Servcies. 1999:41. 10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Society for Reproductive Medicine. 1997 Assisted Reproductive Technology Success Rates. National Summary and Fertility Clinic Reports. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 1999:41.

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