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Chlamydia Symptoms & Treatment

What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is one of the most common bacterial sexually transmitted infections worldwide. It is caused by a bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis. According to the US Centers for Diseases Control (CDC), Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial STD in the US, with 2.86 million infections reported every year.

Who is at risk of getting Chlamydia?

Chlamydia can affect anyone who is sexually active, both males and females alike, regardless of sexual preference or orientation.
Young people may be at higher risk for various reasons, including practices like inconsistent condom usage. Young women may have a benign condition called cervical ectopy, which makes them more susceptible to getting Chlamydia.

How is Chlamydia transmitted?

Chlamydia is transmitted through sexual contact with the genitalia, anal canal or oral cavity of an infected individual – this includes through vaginal sexual intercourse, anal sexual intercourse and oral intercourse. Sexual activities involving the sharing of sex toys and contact with body fluids can also spread Chlamydia.
During childbirth, an infected mother can also transmit Chlamydia to her unborn infant, resulting in complications which are detailed below.

What are the Symptoms of Chlamydia?

Most individuals with Chlamydia DO NOT HAVE ANY SYMPTOMS. Less than 50% of both men and women with Chlamydia develop symptoms. This is also why Chlamydia is such a common bacterial STD – because asymptomatic individuals are unaware that they are infected and continue to spread it to their sexual partners.
IF symptoms do develop, they may occur anytime from days to weeks after the initial infection.

Symptoms of Chlamydia in men include:

  • Dysuria (painful urination)
  • Urgency and frequency of urination
  • Discomfort along the urethra/urine tract
  • Penile discharge which is usually clear or watery
  • Pain or swelling of the testicles may occur in a less common but serious infection called epididymoorchitis
  • Pain or discomfort in the pelvis due to prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate gland)

Chlamydia in males can result in urethritis (inflammation of the urine tract) and epididymoorchitis (inflammation of the testicles or epididymis).

Symptoms of Chlamydia in women include:

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge which may be different in colour, odour, quantity and consistency
  • Bleeding after intercouse (post coital bleeding)
  • Abnormal spotting/bleeding in between menstrual periods
  • Painful intercourse (dyspareunia)
  • Abdominal pain or fever can possibly occur during pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), where the infection spreads upwards to affect the uterus and Fallopian tubes, but the bulk of Chlamydia related PID is actually ASYMPTOMATIC

Chlamydia in females can result in vaginitis, cervicitis and pelvic inflammatory disease (involving the uterus and fallopian tubes).

Symptoms of Chlamydia infection not specific to males or females:

  • Chlamydia conjunctivitis – red, irritated eyes can occur after contact with infected fluids
  • Proctitis (inflammation of the rectum) – can give rise to rectal discomfort, discharge or pain, but most cases of rectal Chlamydia are again ASYMPTOMATIC
  • Throat chlamydia tends to be asymptomatic

What are the possible complications of a Chlamydia infection?

Women Chlamydia Complication

In untreated women, Chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, where the infection spreads to the uterus and fallopian tubes, resulting in chronic inflammation, scarring, potential infertility, increased risk of ectopic pregnancies (pregnancies outside of the uterus) and possible chronic pelvic pain.
Unfortunately, Chlamydia tends to cause “silent” PID without any symptoms at all.

Men Chlamydia Complication

In men, uncommon but more serious infections affecting the testicles and epididymis can occur.
Chlamydia infection increases the risk of pre-term delivery in pregnant women. Transmission of Chlamydia to the infant during childbirth can also result in severe eye infections (known as opthalmia neonatorum), or lung infections (pneumonia).

A condition called “reactive arthritis” (joint pain and swelling) can occur in both males and females.
Chlamydial infections in both males and females increases the risk of acquiring HIV.

How is a Chlamydia infection diagnosed?

The diagnosis of Chlamydia is best done using nucleic acid amplification testing (NAAT), which detects the presence of Chlamydia trachomatis DNA in a sample:

  • In men: a urine sample
  • In women: an endocervical swab
  • A throat swab or rectal swab can be used to diagnose throat or rectal Chlamydia respectively

See: Rapid Chlamydia & Gonorrhea PCR Screening (Next Day Results) is available in all our clinics in Singapore.

How is Chlamydia treated?

Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics, however, there is an increasing concern of resistance to certain antibiotics in various parts of the world.
Testing and treatment of sexual partners is also crucial and infected individuals should abstain from sexual intercourse or activity during treatment. After completion of treatment, a repeat test should also be done to confirm that the Chlamydia infection has truly been cleared.
Your doctor will be able to advise you on the specifics of treatment.

How do I minimise my risk of getting Chlamydia?

You can reduce your risk of Chlamydia through observing safe sexual practices – including consistent and correct use of barrier protection (condoms), reducing the number of sexual partners or being in a mutually monogamous relationship where you know your partner’s infection status.
Regular sexual health screening is also important, since most Chlamydia infections are asymptomatic. In fact, the US CDC recommends yearly Chlamydia screening for sexually active women under the age of 25.

If you would like to find out more about Chlamydia Testing and Treatment, come down to any of our clinics for a consultation.
Rapid Chlamydia & Gonorrhea PCR Screening (Next Day Results) is available in all our clinics in Singapore.

Stay safe, stay healthy.


Learn More about Other STDs & Other STD Symptoms


Vaginal Douching – To Douche or Not to Douche?

What is Vaginal Douching?

Vaginal douching is the practice of washing the vaginal canal with fluid – this may come in the form of a bottle or bag of water or various over-the-counter or self-concocted mixtures of fluid- which is squirted up into the vaginal canal. The fluid then comes back out of the vaginal entrance.
Most women who practice vaginal douching do so because of hygiene or health concerns. Common reasons for douching include wanting to keep the vaginal canal clean or trying to get rid of bad vaginal odour or abnormal vaginal discharge.

Why Do I Have Abnormal Vaginal Discharge?

Is Vaginal Douching Recommended?

To put an end to the confusion regarding the practice of douching: douching is not medically recommended.
The vaginal canal is a self-cleaning organ. There are various glands in the walls of the vagina which produce fluids responsible for maintaining the natural balance in the vaginal environment. The vagina also has naturally occurred “good” bacterial flora which is important for your vaginal health. You do not need additional external chemicals or water to “wash” or cleanse the vagina.

What are the Consequences of Douching?

In fact, the practice of douching can give rise to more health problems and do more harm than good. Douching may disrupt the delicate, natural balance of the vaginal flora, leading to an increased risk of common vaginal infections like yeast or bacterial vaginosis. These may manifest as abnormal vaginal discharge, vaginal itching, or a bad odour. In the setting of a pre-existing sexually transmitted infection (STI), douching may potentially increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, where the infection spreads to the uterus (womb), or the fallopian tubes and ovaries. Furthermore, douching can also result in irritation of the skin both in and around the vaginal canal, particularly if one is sensitive to the chemicals or components of the douche. Also Read, Anal Douching

What Are The Common STD Symptoms in Women” 
An Overview of STDs – By An STD Doctor

How Can One Get Rid of Vaginal Odour or Abnormal Discharge?

Vaginal odour or discharge is usually due to an underlying vaginal infection and it is best that you see a doctor for appropriate testing and treatment. With treatment of the underlying offending organism, you can also expect that the abnormal discharge and odour will resolve.
In terms of hygiene, washing externally with warm water or a gentle, non-scented cleanser will suffice. There is absolutely no need to worry about washing or cleaning the vaginal canal itself.

Misconceptions About Vaginal Douching

Some women may persist with douching because of certain misconceptions they have. Vaginal douching does NOT – prevent pregnancy after unprotected sexual intercourse. Vaginal douching also does NOT prevent or reduce the spread of STIs from intercourse.
Instead, you should ensure you have safe sexual practices, such as the use of barrier protection, regular STI checks, and having a regular partner whose infection status you are aware of. If you are not planning to conceive, other reliable and safe forms of contraception are available and you can have a discussion with your doctor about these.

If you wish to speak to female doctors if you have experienced the above Treatment & Testing, please visit us at our clinics. Alternately,  call us or email us for an appointment at hello@dtapclinic.com.

Take Care!


Other Reads:

  1. What Is the Cause & Treatment For Oral Herpes (Cold Sores)
  2. Mycoplasma Genitalium Infection (Uncommon STD)
  3. How Late Can a Period Be (Delayed Menstrual Cycle)
  4. 10 Causes of Abnormal Vaginal Lumps and Bumps
  5. 11 Causes of Dyspareunia (Pain During Intercourse)
  6. Sex During Period (Sex & Menstruation) What To Know
  7. What You Need to Know about HPV Vaccination, Cervical Cancer & Pap Smear
  8. Why Do I Have Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
  9. What is HPV Vaccination – Gardasil 9

Why Do I Have Abnormal Vaginal Discharge?

Let’s talk a little about normal vaginal discharge first.

The vagina is a muscular passage which leads from the vaginal opening to the cervix, which is the entrance to the womb. There are naturally occurring “good” lactobacillus and other bacteria which are part of the normal vaginal flora. The walls of the vagina have glands which produce secretions for the cleansing of the vaginal canal. Normal vaginal discharge is a result of these secretions. It is usually clear or whitish and largely odourless and may change slightly throughout your menstrual cycle.
 

via GIPHY
 

How to identify abnormal vaginal discharge and what you should be worried about?

However, when you notice a major change from your usual vaginal discharge, this abnormal vaginal discharge may indicate that something is wrong.
Signs that your vaginal discharge may be abnormal include different coloured discharge – greenish, yellowish, greyish or even brownish discharge, the presence of a bad vaginal odour, changes in discharge consistency such as thicker, clumpy discharge or large amounts of watery discharge.
If this discharge is accompanied by abdominal pain, fever, or spotting/bleeding after sexual intercourse or bleeding when your period is not due yet, then these are all alarming features that should Fprompt you to consult a doctor.
Abnormal vaginal discharge is one of the most common female health problems and it should not be something you feel you have to suffer in silence about. Most ladies will experience this at some point in their life and while it can be an extremely distressing and uncomfortable problem, it is very treatable.
 
 

You probably have a vaginal infection.

The top cause of abnormal vaginal discharge is a vaginal infection, also known as vaginitis. Other rare causes of abnormal vaginal discharge include cervical abnormalities such as cervical cancer.
The next question, then, would be what sort of infections you have to worry about if you are experiencing abnormal vaginal discharge. These can broadly be divided into Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and non-Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).
The most common causes of abnormal vaginal discharge are non-sexually transmitted infections- Bacterial Vaginosis and yeast infections. These all occur when there is disruption to the delicate balance of your healthy vaginal flora and can be triggered by a multitude of factors.
However, if you have had unprotected sexual intercourse, particularly if you are unsure of your partner’s infection status (whether this be a casual partner or a long-term partner), then your abnormal vaginal discharge may very well be due to a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) such as Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Trichomonas, and various types of Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma bacteria.
Regardless of the underlying cause of your abnormal vaginal discharge, proper evaluation is crucial as it allows you to receive the appropriate treatment, which is important not just in relieving your discomfort but also in preventing more serious, long-term complications (like Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) that can occur with certain infections.
 
 

Why does the abnormal vaginal discharge keep coming back?

This is a very common question and recurrent abnormal vaginal discharge can be an extremely frustrating and distressing issue.
Recurrent yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis tend to be responsible for the above phenomenon and can be triggered by a variety of factors which upset the balance of your vaginal flora.
 

1) Hormonal Fluctuations

  • For some ladies, they may find that the hormonal fluctuations during their peri-menstrual period (before or after menses), may cause them to be prone to recurrent yeast infections.
  • Pregnancy

 

2) Weakened Immune System

  • If you have diabetes or are undergoing any other sort of medical treatment that affects your immunity, you may be more prone to recurrent yeast infections.

 

3) Sexual Lifestyle

  • Sexual intercourse can trigger off bacterial vaginosis – in fact, the number of sexual partners which one has had is actually a risk factor for bacterial vaginosis, with every new partner that a lady has increased the risk of Bacterial Vaginosis infections.
  • Other habits like using spermicide may also kill off the good lactobacilli in the vagina and lead to increased susceptibility to infection

 

4) Medications

  • Being on the combined oral contraceptive pill does increase your risk of recurrent yeast infections
  • Antibiotic usage (for instance, taking something for a bacterial throat infection) can also (ironically) upset the delicate balance down there

 

5) Hygiene Habits

  • Use of vaginal douche washes or feminine washes with harsh chemicals can disrupt your natural vaginal balance and lead to increased yeast and BV infections
  • Tight underwear, pantyliners or menstrual pads which trap humidity and moisture may also place you at increased risk for a yeast infection

 
As can be seen, not all triggers may be entirely avoidable but good habits- like avoiding feminine douche washes, wearing breathable cotton underwear, minimising antibiotic use unless medically indicated, and using condoms- do play a part in helping you maintain a healthy vagina.
If you keep having abnormal vaginal discharge that comes back with a vengeance after the initial episode, do speak to your doctor about additional treatment that may be suitable for you.
 
Remember that you are not alone – abnormal vaginal discharge is common – and treatable!
Don’t let your discomfort about the topic keep you from treatment.
 
Take Care!

Other Interesting Reads:

    1. What You Need To Know about HPV, Cervical Cancer, Pap Smear & HPV Vaccination
    2. 11 Causes of Dyspareunia (Pain During Intercourse)
    3. How Do I Get an Anonymous HIV Testing?
    4. What is HPV Vaccination (Gardasil 9)
    5. 10 Causes of abnormal Vaginal Lumps and Bumps
    6. An Overview of Gonorrhoea
    7. What is the Treatment for Cold Sores? What causes Cold Sores?

 
 

An Overview of Gonorrhoea Symptoms

Gonorrhoea symptoms in Men & Women can include discharge, painful urination and itch. Some people who are infected may not display any signs or symptoms.

What is the Cause of Gonorrhea?

Gonorrhoea is one of the most common Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) in women.  It can cause infections in the vagina, rectum, and throat.
Gonorrhoea is known to be easily transmittable via both penetrative and oral sex. It can infect the reproductive system and less commonly, the throat or eyes. A maternal to child transmission is also possible here.
Similar to Gonorrhoea, Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease caused by bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis. Gonorrhoea is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

In women, gonorrhoea affects the cervix and its functions 90% of the time.

via GIPHY

What are the risk factors for contracting Gonorrhea?

  • Multiple sexual partners
  • New sexual partner
  • Unprotected sex
  • Men that have sex with Men (MSM)
  • A sexual partner who has an STI
  • Having concurrent STI

What are the Gonorrhoea Symptoms:

Gonorrhoea can be a silent infection in most of the population. Often time, women and men with Gonorrhea will not display any signs and symptoms.
Gonorrhoea Symptoms & Chlamydia Symptoms can be overlaping.

The Symptoms of gonorrhoea can differ between men and women.

via GIPHY

Gonorrhoea Symptoms in women:

Gonorrhoea Symptoms in Men

  • Penile discharge – colour may vary from white, yellow, green, or occasionally blood-tinged
  • Pain when passing urine
  • Pain in the testicles – rare

Read more about what are the other causes of penile infection & foreskin infection
Depending on the nature of the sexual activity and the severity of the infection, both men and women may experience pain, itchiness or discharge from the anus. They may also have pain, swelling, irritation, or discharge from the eye or both eyes (otherwise diagnosed as conjunctivitis).

How to Treat Gonorrhoea?

As with most bacterial infections, gonorrhoea is treated with antibiotics. The first choice is a wide spectrum antibiotic. It is, however, proving to be getting more resistant to antibiotics.
Gonorrhoea is also challenging to treat because most people who have this STI also have concurrent sexually transmitted illnesses like chlamydia.

via GIPHY
Also, like with any other sexually transmitted illness, treatment must be extended to all partners, and once treatment is completed, routine testing is highly recommended in view of relapse due to the increasing resistant nature of the gonorrhoea bacteria.
Abstinence is recommended during treatment.

What are the Complications of Gonorrhoea

Rarely, untreated gonorrhoea can spread throughout the body giving rise to skin pustules, infection of the joints (fingers, ankles, knees, and toes), brain or heart valves.

Complications of Gonorrhea in Men

More commonly, in men, infections of the epididymis, prostate and urethra are noted. Gonorrhoea can cause subfertility in some patients.

Complications of Gonorrhea in Women

In women, similar to other sexually transmitted diseases, untreated gonorrhoea may cause pelvic inflammatory disease (via an ascending infection involving the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries) in up to 20% of patients. With inflammation, scarring and/or multiple infections, issues of subfertility and extra-uterine pregnancy will arise.
More annoyingly is the chronic, relapsing pelvic pain. This pain is characteristically stubborn and may require multiple analgesic medications in some women.
Read more about Herpes: Everything You Need to Know!

How is Gonorrhea Test Performed?

In most cases, usually for men, a urine sample will be required for the test. However, for female patients, ideally, the doctor will need to take a sample from the cervix ( neck of the womb).
For this, patients will lie down on the examination couch with knees bent and a small plastic instrument called a speculum will be used to open the vagina, then a soft brush will be used to collect a sample from the cervix. This procedure is very quick and painless, with only some minimal
discomfort.
Depending on sexual history, gonorrhoea swab may also be taken from the throat and rectum, in both men and women.

Any preparation needed before the test?

Vaginal douching and rectal douches, as well as creams, should be avoided 1 day before the test.
For the urine test, it is best to not urinate at least 2 hours before the sample is taken.

How long will the results take?

The test is usually performed together with chlamydia screening and results will be ready by the NEXT DAY. This allows treatment to be given as soon as possible when needed.
We can provide Rapid Chlamydia and Gonorrhea STD Testing. STD Test result will be available the following day.
If you are interested in getting a Rapid STD Testing or treatment for gonorrhoea, please visit our clinics and speak to our male and female doctors.
That’s All Folks!


Other Interesting Reads:

  1. An Overview of STD – From an STD Doctor
  2. What are the Signs & Symptoms of HIV and AIDS?
  3. STD Symptoms
  4. What You Need To Know about HPV, Cervical Cancer, Pap Smear & HPV Vaccination
  5. Weak Erection? Erectile Dysfunction? Improv Erection with Pills
  6. 11 Causes of Dyspareunia (Pain During Intercourse)
  7. What are the Causes of Genital Ulcers, Genital Warts and Genital Blisters
  8. What is HPV Vaccination (Gardasil 9)
  9. How to Get Rid of Genital Warts?
  10. 10 Causes of abnormal Vaginal Lumps and Bumps
  11. HPV Infection & HPV Vaccination for Men who have sex with Men
  12. STD Risk for Receptive Unprotected Anal Sex in Men
  13. 7 FAQs HIV Preexposure prophylaxis (HIV PrEP)
  14. What is the Treatment for Cold Sores? What causes Cold Sores?
  15. Genital Warts: The Cauliflower-Like Lumps on the Genitals
  16. Syphilis Symptoms (Painless STD Sores & STD Rashes)