Chlamydia is one of many sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that cause infections in both men and women. Caused by a type of bacteria, the infection tends to result in more damage to women’s reproductive systems than men’s. An untreated chlamydia infection can cause infertility due to the resulting permanent damage to women’s reproductive systems.
Unfortunately, the majority of people with chlamydia don’t have symptoms: It’s a silent disease. It could damage your reprodutive system irreprably before you even realize you have it. That’s why experts recommend getting tested for chlamydia every year if you’re a sexually active woman who is under 25, has new or multiple sex partners, or if your sexual partner has tested positive.
It’s important to get the facts on sexual health and wellness in order to fully enjoy a healthy sex life. Most forms of birth control don’t offer any protection against STDs besides condoms despite high rates of effectiveness at preventing pregnancy. Board-certified gynecologist Rachel Spieldoch, MD, provides all of the sexual health and wellness services you need including family planning, hormone replacement therapy, and STD testing and treatment at McDowell Mountain Gynecology in Scottsdale, Arizona.
If your STD test comes back positive for chlamydia, you should remain calm and keep these positive facts in mind:
Chlamydia is more common than you think
Despite the lingering stigma around the topic of STDs, chlamydia rates are quite high. Perhaps if people felt that they could be more open about their sexual health, more people would keep up with STD testing and rates could decline. However, the fact remains that people don’t like talking about STDs because of a sense of shame or embarrassment.
In reality, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates millions of new chlamydia infections per year, noting that the STD is underdiagnosed. Even if you don’t think you’ve ever met someone else who has it, it’s possible you know other people who have had it and keep it a secret. If you recently received a diagnosis of chlamydia, know that you’re not alone and that there’s nothing to be ashamed of.
A cure is out there
Many people assume STDs to be incurable. While some are, and the reproductive consequences can be permanent even after specific STDs subside, antibiotics are highly effective at alleviating active bacterial chlamydia infections.
In many cases, all you need is a single dose of an antibiotic to clear your chlamydia infection. The number of doses you need depends on the type of antibiotic your provider prescribes. In any case, as long as you take your antibiotic according to Dr. Spieldoch’s instructions, the infection can clear within a week.
You’ll be more prepared moving forward
A positive chlamydia test can motivate you to be more mindful of sexual safety in the future. This isn’t to say it’s your fault: There are simply strategies you can use to minimize your risk if the circumstances allow for them. To minimize your risk of a future chlamydia infection, you should:
- Minimize your number of sexual partners
- Use latex condoms during intercourse
- Get screened between sexual partners
- Encourage your sexual partners to get screened too
- Be abstinent
Chlamydia can spread through any type of sexual contact: Not just intercourse. Regular screening at McDowell Mountain Gynecology can ensure you catch chlamydia early if it doesn’t cause symptoms and can recieve treatment before the infeciton causes reproductive damage.
STD tests are available on demand at McDowell Mountain Gynecology. For your next testing visit, call the office or book online at your earliest convenience.