So…What’s Chlamydia anyways?
Chlamydia is a bacterium that causes an infection of the genitals. It is a very common infection, especially between the ages of 15 to 29. From 2 to 7% of sexually active Youth are infected. It is also commonly called « the Clap ».
Chlamydia can cause an infection of the cervix in women, and in men and women, of the urethra (where you pee), of the anus and more rarely of the throat.
How is it detected, treated and prevented?
In about 50% of cases, the infection doesn’t cause any symptoms. That’s why you always have to be on your toes! Even if there are no evident symptoms, the infection is still transmissible.
When there are symptoms, they usually appear from a few days to three weeks after being infected.
Signs to watch out for…
For Women :
- New or different vaginal discharge
- Burning sensation when urinating (when you pee)
- Lower abdominal pain, sometimes with fever or chills
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Bleeding between periods
- Bleeding after having sex
For Men :
- Penile discharge (clear or whitish liquid coming out of the penis)
- Icthy feeling inside the penis
- Burning sensation while urinating (when you pee)
- Sore and/or swollen testicles
A visit to the STD clinic or to the doctor’s office, where an examination and some tests will be done, is the only way to diagnose Chlamydia. A variety of tests can detect Chlamydia: a urine sample, if available in your area, or samples from the cervix in women and from the tip of the penis (urethra) in men. These samples are taken with a swab (looks like a long Q-tip). If a rectal or throat infection is suspected, samples will also be taken in those areas.
If it happens to me, what do I do?
Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics taken by the mouth. In many provinces, they are free.
It’s very important to inform your partner or partners because even if you have been treated, you can catch it again from your partner. Partners should be treated at the same time even if they show no symptoms they might be infected, and so re-infect you.
Condom use is excellent to prevent Chlamydia!
What are the possible complications?
If Chlamydia is not treated, it can cause severe problems. For example, in women, an infection of the uterus or of the ducts linking the uterus to the ovaries (fallopian tubes), can lead to a infertility (not being able to have children).
In men, the infection can spread to the testicles and the tubes that transport sperm out of them (epidydimitis).
In both men and women, the infection can cause inflammation in the joints and the eyes.
If you want to learn more, you can go to these websites:
Be aware of Chlamydia's friend LGV: