Known as the silent sexually transmitted infection, chlamydia is very common and is caused by the bacteria, chlamydia trachomatis. This silent disease can cause irreversible damage to a woman’s reproductive organs, including infertility.

Chlamydia rarely shows any signs or symptoms, leaving men and women unaware that there is an infection. If symptoms do appear, you will see them around one to three weeks after the infection has occurred. Symptoms may include, lower abdominal pain, low back pain, nausea, fever, and pain during intercourse or bleeding in between periods. Men may experience discharge, burning sensation while urinating, and a burning or itching around the opening of the penis.

Chlamydia can also infect the rectum and throat as well, symptoms may include rectal discharge, pain and bleeding.

The bacteria usually infects the cervix and the urethra. If left untreated the infection can spread into the uterus and fallopian tubes. If this occurs it can cause fallopian tube infection, again without any signs or symptoms.

A yearly screening for chlamydia is recommended for sexually active women 25 years and younger. Chlamydia can be diagnosed by a specimen collected from the cervix or the penis and is treated with antibiotics.

To avoid contacting chlamydia, be sure to always use a condom and by maintaining the same sexual partner.

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