What is Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is caused by a bacterium, and can damage your reproductive organs. Chlamydia is especially easy to spread, since often you don’t have any symptoms of the disease, even when you’re contagious.
How do people get Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is transmitted during vaginal or oral sex. Chlamydia can also be passed from an infected mother to her newborn during vaginal childbirth.
How common is Chlamydia?
Very common! About three million Americans men and woman get infected with chlamydia every year. Because people often don’t know they have Chlamydia, they accidentally spread it to their sexual partners. There are some estimates that as many as half of all sexually active women will get Chlamydia before the age of 30.
What are the symptoms?
Chlamydia is the “silent” STI, since you can be infected (and contagious) without showing any symptoms. As many as 75% of women with Chlamydia will not have any noticeable symptoms, and half of all men.
Some symptoms of Chlamydia include:
- Abdominal pain
- Bleeding between menstrual periods
- Slight fever
- Painful intercourse
- Pain while using the restroom
What is the treatment?
The good news is that Chlamydia can be treated and cured with antibiotics. You will need to see a doctor for a prescription, and follow the directions very carefully. Remember, you may still be infected even if you’re feeling healthy, so take all the antibiotics you are given. It’s a good idea to get checked for STIs every year if you are sexually active, to keep yourself and your partner safe.
What if Chlamydia isn’t treated?
As with any disease, if Chlamydia isn’t treated, it will usually get worse. About 40% of untreated cases will turn into a serious illness called Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, which can cause permanent damage to your reproductive system, and is much more difficult to treat.