07 Apr Chlamydia
Chlamydia is one of the common sexually transmitted diseases in Singapore. The infection is easily spread due to lack of visible symptoms and therefore unknowingly passed to sexual partners. In fact, as many as 85% of infections in women and 40% in men are without symptoms.
When symptoms do occur, they usually include the following:
- Smelly vaginal discharge
- Painful periods
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Itching or burning sensation in or around the private parts
- Pain when urinating
- Abdominal pain with fever
Chlamydia is passed from one person to another through sexual activity such as:
- vaginal or anal sex with an infected person
- oral sex
- sharing sex toys
It can also be passed from a mother to her baby at birth. Chlamydia cannot be transmitted by kissing, hugging, sharing towels, cups, plates or from toilet seats.
Generally, the doctor uses a swab to take the secretion from the infected area, such as the neck of the womb (cervix), urinary passage (urethra), penis, anus, or throat. The test is to look for the micro-organism Chlamydia trachomatis. A Cervical smear test does not detect Chlamydia infection.
Chlamydia can be treated with oral antibiotics. The sexual partner should be treated as well to prevent re-infection and further spread of the disease.
If left untreated, the infection can damage the fallopian tubes causing infertility (the inability to have children), and/or increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy. Furthermore, Chlamydia can cause premature births (giving birth too early) and the infection can be passed along from the mother to child during childbirth, causing eye infection, blindness or pneumonia in the newborn.
To avoid Chlamydia infection, the surest way is to maintain a monogamous relationship with a partner who has not been infected. Condom (male or female), does not completely stop the transmission.