Chlamydial sexually transmitted infections are the most common sexually transmitted disease, which in men manifests itself mainly as urethritis (non-gonococcal, abacterial or postgonococcal), and in women – as mucopurulent cervicitis, endometritis, and pelvic inflammatory disease, the consequences of which are infertility and the possibility of infection of the fetus during birth.
Chlamydia trachomatis is a spherical intracellular microorganism that has a characteristic developmental cycle. There are two specialized forms: one is infectious, metabolically inert, and is referred to as the elemental body, and the other is intracellular, capable of division, and is referred to as the reticular body.
FREQUENCY AND AGE AFFECTION
Chlamydial infections rank first in the world in frequency and usually affect people of active sexual age. The most common age limits are 25-45 years for men and 20-30 years for women. The relatively long incubation period and the asymptomatic carrier are the reason for a large number of contaminations.
The incubation period is difficult to determine in nearly 80% of cases, but usually lasts from 4 to 15 days, during which time patients are contagious and this has significant epidemiological significance.
The main risk group is patients with multiple sexual partners and those with gonorrhea. Asymptomatic carrier – without clinical manifestation is found in 15-20% of infected men and up to 65% of infected women.
CHLAMYDIA SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT
Chlamydia is one of those sexually transmitted infections that is usually asymptomatic. ¾ of women and half of the men with the infection do not suspect that they are carriers of chlamydia, which is the leading reason for its widespread distribution among the sexually active population.
In other cases, symptoms appear one to three weeks after infection. Then in women, the complaints include nonspecific vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor, bleeding between menstrual bleeding, painful menstruation, low abdominal pain, fever, burning, itching of the genitals, pain when urinating and during sex. In men, there is a discharge of whitish secretions at the glans penis, burning and itching of the genitals, pain, and swelling of the testicles, and unpleasant, painful sensations when urinating.
A prophylactic test for chlamydia is the only sure way to catch the infection in time. Every sexually active person is aware of when there is a reason to perform a preventive examination: unprotected sex, change of partner, real grounds for distrust of the partner or his own “transgression”, polygamy, as well as changes in the natural state of the genitals. The presence of chlamydia is proven by laboratory examination of secretions taken from the urethra in men and the cervix in women. Urinary and blood tests for chlamydia are also performed. In case of doubt, even a re-examination is appropriate, as the results may sometimes be a false positive or false negative. If an infection is suspected, it is advisable to prefer the examination of genital secretions and to choose a reliable laboratory for its implementation.
Chlamydial infection is treated with amoxicillin, doxycycline or azithromycin, and therapy is given by both partners at the same time to prevent reinfection. It takes one to two weeks, after which a control test for chlamydia is performed. If necessary, the therapy is continued. Chlamydia is persistent. It is recommended to avoid sexual contact during treatment.
In women with recurrent cases, hospitalization and intravenous treatment are undertaken.
It is essential to deal with chlamydia to achieve a negative result in the control of laboratory tests. Otherwise, chlamydia could multiply and cause serious damage to the reproductive system again without the person suspecting it. One of the leading causes of infertility in women is the unrecognized and untreated chlamydia infection.
Untreated chlamydial infection also affects men. They cause non-gonococcal urethritis (inflammation of the urethra), epididymitis (inflammation of the testicular appendages), and proctitis (inflammation of the rectum).
Obstruction of the fallopian tubes in women is preceded by the growth of chlamydial infection and its entry into the uterus, its appendages, and pelvic organs. The pelvic inflammatory disease develops, which takes away a woman’s ability to conceive naturally. As a result of pelvic inflammatory disease, the patency of the fallopian tubes may be affected in whole or in part. When they are completely blocked, the penetration and meeting of sperm in the tube and, accordingly, natural conception are prevented. Cases, where pipes remain difficult to pass, are even considered more dangerous. Then it is possible for sperm to pass through them and fertilize the ovum released during ovulation.
The fertilized egg begins to divide and grow while still in the tube. However, its natural movement to the uterus is prevented by internal blockages and adhesions of the tube with other organs in the pelvis, which takes away from its natural mobility, which helps this process. The growth of the “trapped” fertilized egg in the tube causes its rupture and bleeding in the abdominal cavity, which is especially risky for the health and life of the woman. The condition is known as ectopic pregnancy. It is distinguished by severe unbearable abdominal pain.
Chlamydia infection before (before the infection leads to complications) or during pregnancy carries a risk of premature birth and transmission to the newborn at birth, as a result of which he is at risk of developing an eye infection, drowsiness, pneumonia.
Chlamydial infections can manifest also in the eye. The disease is called eye trachoma, which is essentially severe conjunctivitis with ulcerations and degenerations in the outer part of the eye. This is the most common cause worldwide. In 1995, 15% of cases of trachoma were registered, which led to complete blindness, and in 2002, with the progress of diagnosis and treatment, the cases were reduced to only 3.6%.
The infection can be transmitted from eye to eye by rubbing with the same hand, shared towels and clothes, coughing, or sneezing in the partner’s face.
Rheumatic diseases are also a common complication of generalized chlamydia. The most common cause is reactive arthritis or Reiter’s syndrome. This is a known triad of diseases – arthritis, conjunctivitis, and urethritis. More often the complication develops in men, but recently there has been a jump in cases with women.
Precautions against chlamydia are common, as against all sexually transmitted diseases – to take measures for safe sex, limiting the number of partners, maintaining good sexual health, and timely treatment and complete cure.