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How Long Does It Take For Chlamydia To Go Away?

How long does it take for Chlamydia to clear up? Can you have Chlamydia for years and not know it? These are questions that give headache to a lot of women at some point in their lives.

How Long Does It Take For Chlamydia To Go Away

Chlamydia is a bacterial infection with the Chlamydia infectious agent, which is transmitted through sexual contact. It`s among the most common STDs in the world. Chlamydia infects the urethra in men and the cervix, urethra and superior reproductive organs in women. Chlamydia can also infect the rectum, eye surface and eyelids.

An infected mother can transmit the infection to her baby during childbirth. Between 50% and 70% of infants are born from infected mothers. They acquire the infection in the eyes, rectum, vagina and the back of the throat. Between 30% and 40% of these infected neonates develop complications, like conjunctivitis or pneumonia.

Chlamydia increases the risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, in case of exposure.

Causes

Chlamydia is an infection caused by a bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis. It`s transmitted through vaginal, anal or oral sexual contact with an infected partner. A pregnant woman transmits the infection to the newborn during birth. The infection can be present even if there are no symptoms and can also be transmitted until it`s treated.

Regarding the question “Can you get Chlamydia if you use a condom?” – Abstinence is the only 100% safe method of avoiding a bacterial infection. If you want to lower your chances of getting this infection, you should opt for a polyurethane condom when doing vaginal or anal sex (even oral sex). This is basically because no condom is 100% safe. As already mentioned, they lower the risk of getting bacterial infections.

Risk Factors

The risk factors of Chlamydia include:

  • Unprotected sexual contact.
  • More than one sexual partner.
  • One or more high-risk partners. These include those who have more than one sex partner with Chlamydia.
  • The beginning of sexual life before the age of 18.
  • A weakened immune system.

Any child with clamidiosis needs to consult a specialist to determine the cause and investigate possible sexual abuse.

Symptoms

Up to 90% of women and men with clamidiasis have no symptoms whatsoever.

The time period between the infection and the onset of symptoms, also known as the incubation period, might be from days to months. The symptoms usually start 1 – 3 weeks after the infected sexual contact.

Symptoms in women include:

  • Dysuria (arches or pain in urination).
  • Cloudy urine.
  • Abnormal vaginal loss.
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding between menstrual cycles.
  • Genital pruritus (itching).
  • Dysmenorrhea (irregular menstrual bleeding).
  • Low abdominal pain.
  • Fever and fatigue.
  • Inflammation of the bartolin glands (glands at the opening of the vagina).
  • Conjunctivitis.

Symptoms in men include:

  • Dysuria or feelling unpleasant during urination (it`s often the first symptom).
  • Cloudy urine.
  • Aqueous or viscous secretions of the penis.
  • Scratches on the head of the penis.
  • Sensitivity of the anus or scrotum.
  • Conjunctivitis.

Specialized Consultation

Emergency medical advice is recommended in case of the following symptoms:

In Women

  • Severe pain with sudden onset in the lower abdomen.
  • Low abdominal pain associated with vaginal bleeding or vaginal discharge and fever of 37. 8° C or more.
  • Dysuria, frequent urination or inability to urinate, and fever of 37.8° C or more.

In Men

  • Secretions from the penis and fever of 37.8° C or more.
  • Dysuria, frequent urination or inability to urinate, and fever of 37.8° C or more.
  • Pain, swelling or scrotum sensitivity and fever of 37.8° C or more.

Medical advice is recommended in case of the following symptoms:

In Women

  • Yellowish, thick vaginal discharges with bad odor.
  • Intermenstrual bleeding that occurs more than once then the menstrual cycles are irregular.
  • Bleeding after sexual intercourse or showering.
  • Swelling, nodules, itching, bruising around the genital or anal area.
  • Burns, pain or itching when urinating, or increased urinary frequency lasting more than 24 hours.
  • Low abdominal or pleural pain without a clear cause, like diarrhea or menstrual cramps.

In Men

  • Swelling, nodules, itching around the genital or anal area.
  • Burns, pain or itching when urinating, or increased urinary frequency lasting more than 24 hours.
  • Abnormal secretions from the penis.

Also, it`s advisable to consult a specialist if it was an exposure to STDs.

Investigations

Chlamydia infection is diagnosed through medical history, physical examination and certain tests. During the medical history, the doctor may ask the following questions:

  1. Do you think you have been exposed to a STD? How do you know? Did you tell your partner about this?
  2. What are your symptoms?
  3. Do you have an abnormal discharge? In case of an affirmative answer, the color and odor must be mentioned.
  4. Have you found bumps around the genital area or any other area of the body?
  5. Do you have urinary symptoms, including frequent urination, burning or stinging urine or urinating in small amounts?
  6. Do you have pelvic pain or cramps during sex?
  7. What method of contraception do you use? Do you use a condom to protect from STDs?
  8. Do you or your sexual partner have risky sexual activities?
  9. Have you ever suffered from any previous STD? Was the disease treated?

Once the medical history has been completed, the following must be done:

  • A gynecological examination for women.
  • A urological (for urethritis or epididymitis) examination for men. – More info!
  • An urine test for Chlamydia, if there`s no reason to do gynecological or urological examinations.

There are several types of tests that can be done to diagnose Chlamydia infection. Test results are usually available in 2 or 3 days, except cultures which require between 5 and 7 days.

If associated with Chlamydia, other infections may occur. Testing is recommended for:

  • Gonorrhea. – Read this!
  • Syphilis.
  • HIV.
  • Bacterial vaginosis, a disease caused by the presence of bacteria that aren`t normally present in the vagina.

Diagnosis

An annual screening of all teenagers and women up to the age of 25 is recommended. Women over 25 years of age who have sex behaviors at risk should also be mentioned every year. At least one urine test should be performed for Chlamydia (if available!), even if a full genital or pelvic examination isn`t performed.

It`s recommended to test pregnant women with risky sexual behavior, in order not to transmit the infection to the newborn. All pregnant women should be monitored during the first trimester of pregnancy. If a pregnant woman is at risk for Chlamydia infection, it should be retested in the third trimester.

It`s also recommended to retest after 4 – 6 months after the end of treatment. Women can infect again if they have sexual contacts with the same partner or partners.

Treatment

Chalmydia infection can be cured with antibiotics. This disease doesn`t cause long-term damage if treated accordingly before complication occur. However, it may cause various complications if left untreated.

Treatment is recommended:

  • People who received positive Chlamydia test results.
  • Sexual partners in the last 60 days, even if they don`t show any symptoms.
  • Newborns from infected mothers at birth.

It`s essential to avoid sexual contact for days after the end of treatment for Chlamydia.

If the sexual partner isn`t treated concomitantly, reinfection occurs. The treatment of the partner or sexual partners should also be encouraged. Condoms are recommended to reduce the chances of reinfection.

How Long Does It Take for Chlamydia to Go Away?

If you are provided treatment of antibiotics that include azithromycin which you take for 24 hours, you will still have to avoid sexual contacts for about a week after taking the tablets.

This infection can go away with no treatments as well, but it will take a lot longer. If you delay your treatment, you`ll also risk an infection that may cause long-term damages and you might still transmit the infection to another person.

If you follow your treat according to the doctor`s instructions, you most likely won`t need a follow-up test. However, you can still retest after 3 or 4 months after treatment, to reduce the risk of complications of reinfection.

What Happens if Chlamydia Isn`t Treated?

Not all people with Chlamydia will experience any complications. If the infection gets treatment early, it won`t probably cause any long-term damages. Still, with no treatment Chlamydia will spread to other body parts. The more times you get infected with it, the more like it is for you to experience complications.

  • In men – this condition may lead to an infection of the testicles and maybe even infertility.
  • In women – this infection may lead to inflammation and pain around the liver. With proper treatment, this usually gets better in time.
  • In women – this medical condition may spread to other important body organs leading to PID. In turn, this may lead to long-term damages, such as ectopic pregnancy, pelvic pain, infertility and blocked fallopian tubes.
  • In both man and women – More rarely, this infection may lead to joint inflammation. This is also known as SARA and it`s on occasion accompanied by eye and urethral inflammation. It occurs more rarely in women than men.

Can Chlamydia Come Back On Its Own?

For people who were treated for this infection, it is perhaps not time to worry yet. Reemergence doesn`t happen that often, and when this infection return, it can still be treated. But if it does happen for a case to repeat itself, it may not be the right moment to blame the partner for cheating yet.

Can Chlamydia Kill You?

As already mentioned before, this infection won`t cause any issues if treated right away. However, if it`s left untreated, it may lead to severe problems, especially when talking about women:

  • It the infection spreads, it may cause PID. This severe medical condition might make it difficult or even impossible for a woman to conceive.
  • Expecting mothers who experience this infection frequently pass it to their own future babies during delivery. If the condition gets in the eyes of the child, it may lead to blindness. Babies can have other issues, such as pneumonia, which can become deadly in a infant.
  • Having this particular infection makes anyone a lot more likely in getting HIV from other persons who are infected with HIV. This virus causes AIDS.

Overall Conclusion

Some people who have Chlamydia infection might also have gonorrhea. In these cases, the treatment includes antibiotics that heal both Chlamydia and gonorrhea infections.

Reinfection is possible – any symptom that continues after the treatment is probably caused by a more intense reinfection than the treatment`s ineffectiveness. To prevent reinfection, sex partners should be evaluated and treated if necessary.

Repeated cluster infections increase the risk for sexually inflammatory disease. Even a single infection can lead to sexual inflammatory disease if it`s not properly treated. The medical prescriptions of antibiotics recommended by the doctor should be followed correctly. The treatment must be followed completely, even if the symptoms improve after a few days.

Image courtesy of std-gov.org
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