Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection. It often causes no symptoms, but can have serious health consequences.
Despite all the attention they have received, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) remain a topical issue. Chlamydia is among the most common STIs. The infection is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. It is transmitted sexually by any of the following ways:
- contact of the genital organs
- contact of the mouth with the penis, vulva, vagina or anus
- penile penetration of the vagina or anus
- contact of the genitals with contaminated sex toys
An infected mother can transmit the disease to her baby during childbirth. The baby may develop conjunctivitis or pneumonia.
Many infected people have no symptoms at all and, unfortunately, can pass the disease without realizing it. However, the infection can manifest itself by the following symptoms, which generally appear two to three weeks after infection. In some cases, symptoms may appear up to six weeks after being infected. Symptoms to watch for include:
- abnormal vaginal discharge
- vaginal bleeding after intercourse and between periods
- abnormal discharge from the penis or anus
- tingling or burning sensation while urinating
- pain in the testicles or around the anus
When left untreated, the infection can lead to complications such as:
- pain in the lower abdomen or testicles
- pregnancy in the fallopian tubes
- chronic prostate infection
SCREENING AND TREATMENT
If you have had unprotected sex or are experiencing symptoms, screening for STIs is strongly recommended. Screening of chlamydia is done by taking a urine sample or secretions from the vagina, cervix, urethra or anus.
Taking an antibiotic will completely cure the infection. To avoid complications, it is essential to get treatment quickly. Both the infected person and their partners will need to be treated. If you have a sexually transmitted infection, you must tell your partner(s) to prevent them from infecting others. Medication is free for the infected person and their sexual partners. With a prescription and a valid healthcare card, you can get them from your pharmacist. Remember that your pharmacist is always there to answer your questions and give you advice if you have any questions about treatment.
Treatment is not immediately effective. The antibiotic must have time to work. The infected person remains contagious and must avoid having unprotected sex for a certain period of time to prevent transmission:
- until the end of treatment, if it lasts several days
- seven days after treatment, if it is a single dose
- until symptoms have resolved
Using a condom is the best way to prevent STIs. No one is immune to this silent infection, regardless of the hygiene of the sexual partner, their social background, the absence of symptoms, or whether you have known them for a long time. Condoms are easy to use and inexpensive, and are an integral part of healthy sexual practices. Don't hesitate to demand it from your partner!
Remember that your pharmacist is always there to help you and to answer your questions for health-related matters!