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Chlamydial Infections - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Definition:

Urethritis in men and urethritis and cervicitis in woman compose a group of infections that are linked to one organism - i.e. Chlamydia trachomatis. Most of the Chlamydial infections are sexually transmitted diseases in the united states, affecting almost 4 million Americans ever year.

Trachoma inclusion conjunctivitis, a chlamydial infection that occurs rarely in the United States , is a leading cause of blindness in Third World countries. Lymphogranuloma venereum, a rare disease in the United States , is also caused by C. trachomutis.

Causes of Chlamydial Infections

Transmission of C. trachomatis primarily follows vaginal or rectal intercourse or oral-genital contact with an infected person. Because signs and symptoms of chlamydial infections commonly appear late in the course of the disease, sexual transmission of the organism typically occurs unknowingly.

Children born of mothers who have chlamydial infections may contract associated conjunctivitis, otitis media, and pneumonia during passage through the birth canal.

Signs and Symptoms of Chlamydial Infections

Both men and women - suffering from chlamydial infections may be asymptomatic or may show signs of infection on physical examination. Signs and symptoms may vary from person to person and may also depend on the type of chlamydial infection developed.

Women who have endometritis or salpingitis may experience signs of pelvic inflammatory discase, such as pain and tenderness in the ahdomen. Some of the common symptoms of chlamydial infections may be: - Cervix, uterus, lymph nodes, chills, fever; break-through bleeding; bleeding after intercourse; and vaginal discharge. They may also have dysuria. Some women who already suffer from urethral syndrome may experience dysuria, pyuria, and urinary frequency.

Men who have urethritis may experience dysuria, erythema, tenderness of the urethral meatus, urinary frequency, pruritus, and urethral discharge. In urethritis, such discharge may be copious and purulent or scant and clear or mucoid. Some men who are already suffering from epididymitis may experience painful scrotal swelling and urethral discharge. In case of men developing prostatitis may have lower back pain, urinary frequency, dysuria, nocturia, and painful ejaculation.

Treatment for Chlamydial Infections

The recommended first-line treatment for adults and adolescents who have chlamydial infections is drug therapy with oral doxycycline for 7 days or oral azithromycin in a single dose. For pregnant women with chlamydial infections, azithromycin (Zithromax), in a single dose for both the male and female partners, is the treatment of choice.

Untreated, chlamydial infections can lead to serious complications like acute epididymitis, salpingitis, pelvic inflammatory disease and, eventually, sterility. Some studies show that chlamydial infections in pregnant women are associated with spontaneous abortion and premature delivery. Other studies haven't confirmed these findings.

Prevention Tips for Chlamydial Infections

Practice universal precautions when caring for a patient with a chlamydial infection.

Make sure that the patient fully understands the dosage requirements of any prescribed medications for this infection.

Suggest that the patient and his sexual partners receive testing for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Check newborns of infected mothers for signs of chlamydial infection. Obtain appropriate specimens for diagnostic testing.

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