In 2018, more than four million people in the US were diagnosed with chlamydia, but many cases are not reported because many people never show symptoms. And this is the main reason why chlamydia testing is so important.
Chlamydia tests can show what your lack of symptoms doesn't. If you think you may be at risk of having chlamydia, then it's time to take action.
Maintaining your sexual health and wellness is imperative for both you and your partner's overall health. Chlamydia testing is your first step.
Keep reading this guide to find out everything you need to know about chlamydia and chlamydia testing.
What is Chlamydia?
Chlamydia trachomatis is the most common sexually transmitted disease in America and especially common in young adults.
Chlamydia often affects young women, but it also occurs in men and people of all age groups. Chlamydia can easily be treated with antibiotics but, left untreated, can lead to serious health complications in the future.
Risk factors for Chlamydia
Certain lifestyle habits and age groups put you at a higher risk of getting chlamydia. Chlamydia risk factors include:
- Being sexually active before the age of 25
- Having multiple sex partners
- Having unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex
- Having a history of other sexually transmitted diseases.
What Causes Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is caused by the trachomatis bacterium and usually spread through oral, anal, and vaginal sex.
If you're pregnant, you can also spread chlamydia to your newborn during delivery. In infants, chlamydia can cause serious eye infections and pneumonia.
Signs and Symptoms of Chlamydia
Chlamydia is often known as a silent infection because many times, infected people are completely asymptomatic. Also, in the early stages, chlamydia often causes few to no symptoms. When chlamydia does cause symptoms, they're so mild, and it's all too easy to dismiss them as something else.
Symptoms of chlamydia include:
- Painful urination
- Vaginal discharge
- Discharge from the penis
- Pain during sex for women
- Bleeding between menstrual periods
- Testicular pain
You can also get chlamydia in your rectum and may experience rectal pain, bleeding, or discharge. In addition, chlamydia can cause eye infections if your eyes come into contact with infected bodily fluids.
Complications of Chlamydia
Untreated chlamydia puts you at risk for many complications.
When you have chlamydia, you're at more risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which is an infection in your uterus and fallopian tubes.
PID can cause pelvic pain, fever, and severe infections that may require hospitalization. PID can cause damage to your fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, and cervix.
Chlamydia in men can cause an infection near the testicles called epididymitis—this type of infection results in a fever along with scrotal swelling and pain.
Prostate gland infections can also occur. Sometimes chlamydia spreads to the prostate gland and causes fever, chills, low back pain, and painful urination.
Chlamydia infections can also cause infertility and infections in newborns. Chlamydia also causes ectopic pregnancies. This type of pregnancy occurs when the egg grows outside of the uterus, usually in your fallopian tube. If your fallopian tubes burst, it can cause life-threatening complications.
What Tests Are Done to Diagnose Chlamydia
If you think you may have chlamydia, then you should make an appointment to see your doctor. Your doctor will ask you things like:
- When did your symptoms begin?
- Does anything make them worse?
- Is there anything that relieves your symptoms?
- What medications do you take daily?
Your doctor will also need to know details about your sex life. You'll be asked how many sexual partners you have or if you have a new sexual partner, as well as if you use condoms consistently.
Testing for chlamydia is pretty easy and usually includes a urine test and, and for women a swab of your cervix. Your doctor will insert a swab into the end of your penis to take a sample for men.
Lab Tests For Chlamydia
There are different lab tests available for chlamydia your doctor will order, depending on your symptoms.
One of the most common tests is the Chlamydia Urine Test. This test will detect the chlamydia trachomatis bacteria. Before taking this test, you shouldn't urinate at least one hour before collecting your urine.
Often, your doctor will order a combined Chlamydia and Gonorrhea Urine Test as the two have similar symptoms. This test works the same way by detecting either the chlamydia trachomatis bacteria or the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria that causes gonorrhea.
Depending on your medical history and current medical conditions, your doctor may order a Chlamydia/Chlamydophila Ab Pnl 3 (IgG, IgA, IgM) antibody test to detect the species of chlamydia that can cause pneumonia.
Chlamydia can also cause other infections in the eye, urinary tract, and respiratory tract. Your doctor also may order a Chlamydia Trachomatis Antibody (IgM) if you're at risk.
More lab testing for STDs includes a Basic STD Panel, which tests for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and herpes. You can also get a Comprehensive STD Panel that tests syphilis, herpes, gonorrhea, hepatitis, and chlamydia.
FAQs About Chlamydia
Frequently asked questions about chlamydia usually start with how it's spread. You can get chlamydia by having any sexual contact where you exchange body fluids with someone that has chlamydia.
Wondering how you can reduce your risk of getting chlamydia? If you're sexually active, you can greatly reduce your risk by:
- Being in a monogamous relationship, and you both get tested
- Using latex condoms correctly each time you have sex
Are you pregnant and wondering how chlamydia can affect your baby? Chlamydia can pass to your baby from your vaginal secretions during delivery. This can cause lung or eye infections. If you have chlamydia, you're also more likely to deliver your baby early.
Chlamydia Testing at Ulta Lab Tests
Ulta Lab Tests offers highly accurate and reliable tests which allow you to make informed decisions about your health. Ulta Lab Tests gives you:
- Secure and confidential results
- No need for health insurance
- No need for a physician's referral
- Affordable pricing
- A 100 percent satisfaction guarantee
If you order your Chlamydia testing today, your results will be provided to you within 24 to 48 hours in most cases.
Take control of your health and with Ulta Lab Tests.