Chlamydia – known as the silent epidemic because up to 85 percent of women and 40 percent of men with this sexually transmitted disease (STD) have no idea they have it. The only way a lot of women discover they have Chlamydia is when it’s too late. Their partners are found to be infected or other women discover that they must have had it for some time when they are treated for infertility, which Chlamydia can cause if left undetected.
What is it?
Chlamydia (pronounced cla-mid-ee-a) is one of the more serious and common STD’s today. It can spread in your body and cause sterility in both females and males. The scary thing is that mothers can pass the germ to their babies at childbirth, which will in turn give these newborn babies infections of their eyes and lungs. In women, it infects the cervix and can spread to the urethra, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. It can cause bladder infections and serious pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and ectopic pregnancies. In men, Chlamydia infects the urethra and may spread to the testicles, causing epididymitis, which then lead to sterility.
What can it do to me?
Most females with chlamydia have no symptoms. Infected males usually have symptoms but some don’t. If treated, chlamydia can be cured. Usually both partners are given antibiotics. If left untreated, it can cause serious problems, particularly for females. If you have chlamydia and do not get treatment, the following may happen:
- Development of chronic lower abdominal pain.
- Spreading of the germ to the uterus (womb) and Fallopian tubes, possibly requiring hospitalisation and later causing sterility.
- Tubal pregnancy (pregnancy in the Fallopian tubes), which can rupture and cause serious internal bleeding.
- Sterility due to the spread of the germ to the testicles.
What are the common symptoms?
Usually the symptoms appear from one to three weeks after having sex with an infected person, although if you don’t have any symptoms you may be totally unaware.