Chlamydia: Things You Need to Know

Caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis, Chlamydia is among the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in Singapore. Although symptoms of chlamydia are typically mild or none at all, serious complications can cause permanent damage to one’s health.

What Are the Complications?

If you see a doctor right away after suspecting you have been infected, you’ll have greater chance of clearing yourself up with no lasting health effects. But if you wait too long to treat the infection, it’s not impossible to experience serious—even fatal—health complications.

In women, chlamydia primarily infects the cervix and then eventually finding its way to fallopian tubes, leading to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Once the infection aggravates, it can cause severe pelvic pains, infertility, and ectopic pregnancies, which results to miscarriage or even death of the mother. If the child in the womb of an infected mother survives, the bacteria can infect the newborn, causing eye infections and/or pneumonia.

Chlamydia in men, although less common, can also develop into a serious health problem. If left untreated, the bacterium can cause inflammation of the epididymis, as well as scarring of the urethra. It can also spread to the patient’s prostate gland, causing fever, pain during intercourse, and discomfort in the lower back. Whether the STD creates an impact in men’s fertility, however, is still unclear.

How Is It Spread?

Chlamydia can be transmitted through anal, vaginal, or oral sex. It can also be passed from a conceiving mother to her baby during the delivery.

Any sexually active individual is prone to chlamydia. The greater the number of sex partners, the greater your risk of infection. When you go for std test in Singapore, it is important to check for all possible illnesses. Because the opening of the uterus of teenage girls is not fully matured yet, this makes them at higher risk for infection, if they practice unprotected sex.

Since this STD can be transmitted through anal or oral sex, men who engage in same sex intercourse are also prone to chlamydia.

What Are the Symptoms of Chlamydia?

Most cases of chlamydia in both men and women show no symptoms. However, if symptoms occur, it’s usually after one to three weeks following the contact. In women, some of the most common symptoms include vaginal discharge, lower abdominal pain during intercourse, and spotting or light bleeding after sex. In men, there can be burning sensation when urinating, pain around the urethra (opening of the penis), and penile discharge. However, these are non-specific symptoms and may occur due to a variety of reasons.

Since it’s also possible to get infected through anal intercourse, be watchful for symptoms like unexplainable pain, bleeding, and abnormal discharge in the rectum. When infected through oral sex, symptoms may occur in the throat. A sore throat, fever, or cough could be signs of infection.

What Tests to Take for Detecting Chlamydia?

A Singapore healthcare provider needs to run a series of test to diagnose chlamydia. The test is done by collecting a urine sample from the patient or can be done during a pelvic exam where the doctor collects a swab from the vagina or from the cervix. Usually, it takes a few days up to a week to get the results.

However, remember that chlamydia screening isn’t necessarily done in conjunction with a Pap test. While some physicians do it with the Pap test, many don’t so make sure to ask your doctor if you wish to get checked for chlamydial infections.

How to Treat Chlamydia?

The good thing is that chlamydia is very easy to treat when detected early. Since it is bacterial, it is curable with antibiotics. Azithromycin is one of the antibiotics prescribed by Singapore doctors in a single, large dose or can also be spread out over five days. Doxycycline is also another antibiotic that’s taken twice a day for about a week.

Your physician may prescribe other antibiotics. Regardless of which antibiotic you’re given, follow the dosage instructions carefully to ensure that the infection completely clears up. However, even after being cured, it’s still possible to get infected again.

How to Prevent Chlamydia?

It may not be easy to discuss your reproductive health and activities with a healthcare provider, but it’s a critical step to prevent chlamydial infections. Annual STD screening in Singapore is highly recommended for all sexually active people—men and women, teenagers and adults. Get tested for chlamydia and other STDS between each partner, and if you can, convince them to get checked as well.

Similarly, pregnant women and those who are trying to conceive must also get screened as chlamydia can infect babies through vaginal delivery. Other than STD screening in Singapore, here are some more ways on how you can protect yourself against chlamydia and other STDs.

• Abstinence. The surest way to avoid getting infected is to abstain from sex, not just from vaginal intercourse but from anal and oral intercourse as well.

• Minimize Number of Partners. If possible, only commit to a mutually monogamous relationship. With this, you can be sure that you and your partner are the only people involve when it comes to verifying your reproductive health.

• Use Condoms. When used correctly and consistently, condoms can greatly reduce the risk of transmission of any STD, whether you engage in vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse.

Keep in mind that prevention is always better than cure. If you are sexually active, don’t leave it to chance and make sure to talk about STD prevention with your healthcare provider.

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