Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease that is caused by Chlamydia trachomatis bacteriathe and is the most commonly reported sexually transmitted disease in Europe and is spread by unprotected sex. Often there are no symptoms and the person does not notice the chlamydia at all. Chlamydia has many similarities with the sexually transmitted disease mycoplasma. Both men and women can be infected. An untreated chlamydia infection in women can produce salpingitis (infection of the uterine tube), which in turn may lead to extrauterine pregnancy or reduced fertility. Men may get epididymitis (inflammation of the epididymis), prostate inflammation, urinary tract inflammation and reduced fertility.
Many people, both men and women, who are infected with chlamydia have no symptoms at all, but may still infect others. Any symptoms show up 1-3 weeks after you have been infected. Chlamydia bacteria may also remain dormant for long periods and then suddenly cause problems or lead to complications.
Women may have pain when they urinate, metrorrhagia (uterine bleeding not related to menstruation), discharge from the genitals and pain in the lower abdomen. Men may have pain when they urinate, urethra inflammation and discharge from the urethra.
The most common way to be infected is through intercourse without a condom, when the mucous membranes come in contact with each other. This also applies to anal intercourse and oral sex. The bacteria only live inside living cells and therefore are not transmitted through handshakes, saunas, clothing, towels or toilets.
It is important to always protect yourself against chlamydia. A good way is to use a condom. Even if you have had chlamydia previously, you can get it again.
If you have chlamydia it is important that you get treatment. You must contact a health care provider yourself and schedule a time for treatment, e.g. at a community health centre, youth clinic or other clinic. Chlamydia, or suspected chlamydia, should be treated with antibiotics as soon as possible to avoid complications.
Because chlamydia seldom involves any discomfort, others are easily infected without knowing about it.
If the sample is negative and the symptoms remain or if you still suspect that you are infected, you should be tested again. You may have chlamydia without any bacteria having been found with the sample. Also keep in mind that the discomfort may have reasons other than chlamydia, e.g. a mycoplasma infection, which is another sexually transmitted disease, may produce the same symptoms as chlamydia. Contact a physician for examination at a community health centre, youth clinic or STD clinic.