What Is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is among the most common types of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). It is a bacterial infection caused by the Chlamydia trachomatis bacterium. Women who suspect that they might have chlamydia should see a gynecologist for testing and treatment. Although chlamydia is easily treated and is generally not serious, it may cause medical complications if left untreated.

Causes and Risk Factors

Most often, the bacteria that cause chlamydia are transmitted during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Certain risk factors that may increase the likelihood of contracting chlamydia include having multiple sex partners within the past year, having a previous history of STDs, and not using condoms.

Signs and Symptoms

Chlamydia can be difficult to detect because it doesn’t always cause symptoms. This is why women who may be at a higher risk of chlamydia are advised to discuss STD testing with a gynecologist. When chlamydia does cause symptoms, women might notice abnormal vaginal discharge, painful urination, lower abdominal pain, and painful sexual intercourse. Women may also experience bleeding after sex or between periods.

Complications

If left untreated, it is possible for chlamydia to lead to complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID refers to an infection of the fallopian tubes and uterus, which may result in damage to the reproductive organs. When chlamydia results in scar tissue formation in the fallopian tubes, women may suffer from infertility. If a woman with untreated chlamydia does become pregnant, she is at risk of transferring the disease to her child during vaginal delivery. The newborn may develop pneumonia or an eye infection as a result.

Treatment Options

Women who test positive for chlamydia can clear up the infection with antibiotics. However, during this time, they must refrain from sexual intercourse. The patient’s sexual partners should also be treated for chlamydia, regardless of whether they display symptoms. Otherwise, the patient may contract the infection again.

Women can trust Washington Surgi-Clinic for compassionate, confidential gynecology services near Washington, D.C. Our gynecology services include STD testing, vaginal infection treatment, and morning after pills. Call (202) 659-9403 to schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained gynecologists.

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