Chlamydia infections are increasingly common both in polyclinics and in hospitals. Patients sometimes underestimate them, but it should be borne in mind that in some cases they can have lifelong consequences. Therefore, it is good to know as much as possible about these insidious bacteria.
What is chlamydia?
Chlamydia are bacteria belonging to a separate family of Chlamydiaceae. Chlamydia live inside a living cell, on which they completely depend – they are intracellular parasites similar to viruses. Inside the cell, they grow, multiply and receive energy for these actions from the host cell.
Two types of chlamydia are dangerous for humans (except for Chlamydophila psittaci, which is used by animals and can be transmitted to humans only in exceptional cases): Chlamydia pneumoniae and Chlamydia trachomatis . The most common of these is Chlamydia pneumoniae. Causes diseases of the upper and lower respiratory tract. It is transmitted by airborne droplets. If we use the now popular word “penetration”, experts note that in the 30s the population is 50%, and in late adulthood (between the 50s and 60s) – up to 75%. Chlamydia trachomatis infection is currently the most common sexually transmitted disease.
Chlamydia trachomatis a Chlamydia pneumoniae
Chlamydia trachomatis is classified as a sexually transmitted infection, and the doctor is obliged to report all detected cases in accordance with Executive Decree 195/2005 of Law No. 258/2000 on public health protection. Chlamydia trachomatis penetrates into the human body mainly through the mucous membranes of the genitals and urinary tract, the mucous membrane of the rectum or a portion of the mucous membrane of the oral cavity and pharynx (popularly referred to as chlamydia in the throat). You can get infected during sexual intercourse – vaginal, oral or anal. Patients usually go to the doctor with symptoms of lower urinary tract infection . Sometimes chlamydia infection does not manifest itself before inflammation in the pelvis. The rectum may also be affected.
Symptoms of chlamydia:
Painful urination (burning, pain, discomfort)
In women, pain during sexual intercourse, bleeding after sexual intercourse or outside the cycle
White discharge from the vagina, in men from the urethra
Chlamydia infection is insidious, because in most patients it is asymptomatic, but in the long term it can cause infertility and other health problems (chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy, prostatitis, etc.). Pregnant women can transmit chlamydia infection to their newborns during childbirth. Chlamydia pneumoniae, on the contrary, spreads by airborne droplets, and also enters the body through the mucous membranes of the oral cavity and pharynx. With both types of chlamydia, they can enter the body through the conjunctiva, if, for example, a person unknowingly rubs his eyes with the hand on which he has chlamydia, or in newborns during childbirth.
Other manifestations of chlamydia
Chlamydia in the eye – As we have already said, chlamydia can “catch” on the eye. In particular, the cornea and conjunctiva are affected. In this case, the patient feels burning, pain, inflammation of the cornea, conjunctiva or eyelid in the eye, and in the case of an untreated infection, blindness may occur. The presence of chlamydia in the eye occurs in newborns after birth or is a transfer from the hands in the case of genital and urinary tract infections caused by Chlamydia trachomatis.
Chlamydia and Musculoskeletal System – Patients may have muscle problems such as restless limbs, muscle fatigue, muscle burning or cramping. Less often, infection can occur with arthritis.
Other symptoms – chlamydia infection can also affect the nervous system (visual impairment, memory problems), increased fatigue and sleep disorders, discomfort (chills, chills, pain moves in several places). There may also be various internal problems (palpitations or fluctuations in blood pressure).
How is chlamydia diagnosed?
Chlamydia infection is diagnosed by a doctor based on the described symptoms, after a medical examination and with the help of laboratory tests. In the case of chlamydial infections, it is necessary to directly demonstrate the presence of chlamydia (antigen detection, culture seeding or PCR) or indirectly check the presence of antibodies against these bacteria.
How is chlamydia treated?
Treatment of chlamydia falls only into the hands of a doctor and uses antibiotics, which should be able to penetrate the cell. Your doctor may also prescribe two antibiotics at the same time. In the case of Chlamydia trachomatis, it is necessary to treat the patient’s sexual partner in order to prevent the so-called ping-pong effect, and also so that the partners do not re-transmit the infection. Treatment usually lasts from one to four weeks, and with chronic problems even longer. The examination is usually carried out six weeks after the start of treatment.
Other drugs used for chlamydia
For general supportive treatment, doctors recommend enzyme preparations that belong to the category of over-the-counter drugs. Their advantage is that they improve the penetration of antibiotics into the affected tissues. In addition, in addition to treatment, doctors use anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, prednisone). Antimycotic or immunomodulatory therapy may also be part of the treatment. In some cases, full treatment can take up to two years. Therefore, consultations with a psychologist can be part of the treatment.
Adjuvants of chlamydia
When treating with antibiotics, which in chlamydia infections can last longer than usual, do not forget to take supplements with probiotics. Also, do not forget a varied diet with enough vitamins, minerals and trace elements for the proper functioning of the immune system (vitamins C, B, D, zinc, selenium). As a prevention of chlamydia infections, it is worth mentioning compliance with the rules of safe sex, the use of condoms and limiting the number of sexual partners. There is also an indicative chlamydia test that you can use in the privacy of your own home.