General Practice 2022

Clamídia: what é, symptoms and how to catch it

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Clamídia: what é, symptoms and how to catch it
Clamídia: what é, symptoms and how to catch it

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis, which can affect both men and women. In most cases the infection is asymptomatic, however it is also possible to notice some symptoms in some cases, such as altered vaginal discharge or burning when urinating, for example.

The infection can appear after having unprotected sexual contact and, for this reason, in men, the infection is more common in the urethra, rectum or throat, while in women the most affected sites are the cervix uterus or rectum.

The disease can be identified only by evaluating the symptoms presented, but there are also tests that help confirm the diagnosis.Thus, whenever there is a suspicion of having contracted chlamydia, it is very important to go to the general practitioner or an infectious disease specialist, to confirm the diagnosis and start the appropriate treatment, which is usually done with antibiotics.

Symptoms of Chlamydia

The symptoms of chlamydia can appear 1 to 3 weeks after unprotected sex, however even if there are no apparent signs and symptoms, a person can transmit the bacteria. The main signs and symptoms of chlamydia in women are:

  • Pain or burning when urinating;
  • Vaginal discharge, similar to pus;
  • Pain or bleeding during intimate contact;
  • Pelvic pain;
  • Bleeding outside of menstrual period.

If chlamydia infection in women is not identified, it is possible that the bacteria spread through the uterus and cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), which is a major cause of infertility and miscarriage in women. Learn more about DIP.

The symptoms of infection in men are similar, there may be pain or burning when urinating, discharge from the penis, pain and swelling in the testicles and inflammation of the urethra. In addition, if left untreated, the bacteria can cause orchitis, which is inflammation of the testicles, which can interfere with sperm production. See more details about orchite.

Cause of chlamydia

Chlamydia is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis, which can be transmitted through sexual intercourse without a condom, whether oral, vaginal or rectal. Thus, people who have several sexual partners are at greater risk of having the disease.

In addition, chlamydia can also be passed from mother to child during childbirth, when the pregnant woman has the infection and has not had adequate treatment.

Risks of chlamydia in pregnancy

Chlamydia infection during pregnancy can lead to premature birth, low birth weight, fetal death and endometritis.As this disease can pass to the baby during normal delivery, it is important to perform tests that can diagnose this disease during prenatal care and follow the treatment indicated by the obstetrician.

The baby affected during delivery may have complications such as conjunctivitis or chlamydial pneumonia and these diseases can also be treated with antibiotics prescribed by the pediatrician.

How to confirm the diagnosis

The diagnosis of chlamydia is made by the urologist or gynecologist from the observation of the signs and symptoms presented by the person. However, to confirm the infection, laboratory tests are usually requested, mainly the analysis of the vaginal or penile secretion and the urinalysis, to identify the presence of the bacteria.

Since chlamydia does not cause symptoms in some cases, it is advised that people over the age of 25, with an active sex life and with more than 1 partner get tested for STIs regularly and that women get tested preventive treatment at least once a year or as directed by the gynecologist.

After becoming pregnant, it is also advised to be tested for chlamydia and other infections, to check for any infection at the time and thus be able to start treatment soon afterwards to decrease the chance of transmitting it to the baby during pregnancy or childbirth.

How the treatment is done

Treatment for chlamydia is with the use of antibiotics prescribed by your doctor, such as a single dose of Azithromycin or Doxycycline for 7 days, or as directed by your doctor. It is recommended to continue the treatment even if there are no more apparent signs and symptoms, as it is possible to guarantee that the bacteria have been eliminated.

It is important that the treatment is carried out by both the person carrying the bacteria and the sexual partner, even if sexual contact has been made with a condom. In addition, it is recommended not to have sexual intercourse during treatment to avoid recurrence of the infection.See more details on treating chlamydia.

With proper treatment it is possible to completely eradicate the bacteria, but if other complications arise such as pelvic inflammatory disease or infertility, they can be permanent.

Is chlamydia curable?

Chlamydia can be easily cured with the use of antibiotics for 7 days. However, to ensure healing, during this period it is advised to avoid unprotected intimate contact.

Even in people with HIV, the infection can be cured in the same way, with no need for another type of treatment or hospitalization.

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