What is chlamydia?

Chlamydia is the most commonly reported bacterial sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Source: CDC).

Chlamydia is caused by an infection of the genital tract by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. Chlamydia is preventable and treatable. It is diagnosed by testing a small sample of cells or discharge taken from a woman’s cervix or a man’s urethra.

Any person who engages in sexual activity can contract and pass on a chlamydia infection. This includes heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual men and women. The more sexual partners a person has, the greater the risk of catching a chlamydia infection. Girls and young women have an especially high risk of catching chlamydia. Chlamydia can also be passed from an infected mother to her newborn during vaginal delivery. This can create serious medical complications for the newborn. Sexual partners of infected individuals should be tested and treated.

Although there are often no symptoms or only mild symptoms of the disease, untreated chlamydia infection can lead to serious complications, such as pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility. Using safer sex practices, seeking regular medical care, and seeking early, regular prenatal care can help reduce the risk of serious complications of chlamydia.


SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of chlamydia?

Symptoms of chlamydia infection vary among individuals. Some people, particularly women, experience no symptoms at all, especially in the early stages of the disease. However, serious permanent damage to the reproductive tissues and infertility can occur even in the absence of symptoms. When symptoms do appear, they generally occur one to three weeks after exposure to the infection.

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CAUSES

What causes chlamydia?

Chlamydia is caused by a bacterial infection of the genital tract by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. Chlamydia is passed from one person to another during sexual contact that involves vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Chlamydia infection can also be passed from an infected mother to her baby during vaginal delivery.

What are the risk factors for chlamydia?

Any per... Read more about chlamydiacauses

TREATMENTS

How is chlamydia treated?

Chlamydia is treatable, and prompt diagnosis and treatment can reduce the risk of developing serious complications, such as premature deliver and infertility, and minimize the spread of the disease to others. You can treat chlamydia by consistently following your treatment plan. Treatment plans generally include antibiotic medications and other treatments.

Antibiotic medications f... Read more about chlamydiatreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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