CHLAMYDIA: THE MOST COMMON STI
Chlamydia is known as the silent sexually transmitted infection (STI), as most people won’t know they have it. That's why we at London Doctors Clinic strongly recommend a visit to one of our 8 central London GP clinics for a chlamydia test as part of a comprehensive STI screen, for anyone sexually active and at-risk.
The cause of Chlamydia is an infection, by the bacteria chlamydia trachomatis, and it's usually easily treated with antibiotics.
How do you get Chlamydia?
It has been estimated that somewhere between 10 and 20% of young, sexually active people have chlamydia, with many of them being oblivious to having the infection. Both men and women are able to contract chlamydia; infection occurs when an individual with the bacteria exchanges fluid with another individual. This could be through the form of unprotected:
- Vaginal sex
- Anal sex
- Oral sex
Not only can chlamydia affect adults but it can also be transmitted from infected mother to baby during childbirth, if the bacteria enters into the baby's eyes. This results in the baby having an eye infection called conjunctivitis.
In the UK, it's thought that approximately 9% of all women who are sexually active below 25 years of age have chlamydia. It is advised by the national chlamydia screening programme that anyone under the age of 25 who is sexually active should be screened yearly for chlamydia, and that gay men who have unprotected intercourse should be screened every three months.
Symptoms of Chlamydia infection
Generally it is an asymptomatic condition, you may have no signs that there is anything wrong at all.
Chlamydia symptoms in women
It's estimated that approximately 70% of women will experience no symptoms despite a chlamydia infection. However there are some symptoms that can occur in the 30% of symptomatic women:
- Cystitis symptoms, including:
- Needing to urinate more frequently
- A burning sensation when urinating
- Blood in urine
- General pelvic discomfort
- Vaginal discharge
- Abdominal pain
- Irregular bleeding
Chlamydia symptoms in men
It's thought that more men will experience symptoms of chlamydia infection than women. These chlamydia signs and symptoms in men chlamydia may cause discharge from the penis, pain or irritation.
Should I get Tested for Chlamydia?
Chlamydia testing is usually performed as part of a full sexual health screen. At any point if you are worried about unprotected sex that you have had or any symptoms please do not hesitate to contact us for an appointment.
Getting a chlamydia test is a easy and painless procedure. At LDC, we test for chlamydia by either by taking a sample in two main ways:
- Urine sample
- Self-swab affected area – penis, vagina or anus
- Taking a small number of cells and sending them to a lab for analysis.
One of our most common STI tests is for both Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea, which runs on a urine sample and costs just £89.60. Results for this test are available within just 2 days.
Alternatively, our fast sexual health screening tests can have results ready in as little as 4 hours!
Screening for Chlamydia could not be easier - simply pee in a pot, and receive your results in as little as 4 hours!
We recommend waiting at least two weeks from your most recent unprotected sexual contact before getting tested for chlamydia, for more reliable results, unless you're symptomatic. Tests performed before this window period may give false negative results, and will require re-testing for reliability.
Chlamydia can be easily treated with a course of antibiotics, such as Azithromycin. This will need to be prescribed by a GP, which we can provide after receipt of your results at no extra cost.
If you test positive for chlamydia you should also speak to the doctor about whether your partner will need testing and treatment too.
Long-term consequences of Chlamydia
If chlamydia often does not give you any symptoms and is easily treated, then why is it such a problem?
The long-term effects of having the bacteria can be quite significant. In women, chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disorder (PID). The inflammation in the pelvis can lead to infertility and increased chance of having an ectopic pregnancy.
If chlamydia is left untreated for a long period of time, it can have severely harm your fertility.
Chronic, untreated chlamydia leads to increased risk of ectopic pregnancy in women, whereby the embryo develops outside the womb, usually in a fallopian tube. These pregnancies are not viable, and the woman will require emergency surgery to remove the tube.
After Chlamydia treatment
After being treated for chlamydia, the main question people want to know is when they are able to go and have sex again. You should not have sex whilst you or your partner are still receiving treatment for chlamydia. If using azithromycin antibiotic, it is advisable to wait at least a week after the treatment to make sure that the infection is completely gone before having sex again. If you still have any symptoms you may need to get retested for chlamydia, and this is best discussed with your doctor.
As always, a 15 minute consultation is just £65, the most affordable private doctor in London.
By George Wall