Chlamydia - Cure and Treatment

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Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease caused by a bacterium known as Chlamydia trachomatis. While the infection presents mild or no symptoms in the initial stage, it has the potential to lead to severe complications if left untreated for long. Both in men and women Chlamydia causes discharge from the genitals and a burning sensation in the genital area. However women are much more likely to develop complications like Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and even infertility. Thus it is extremely important to get treated for Chlamydia as soon as possible.

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While Chlamydia has the potential to cause long-term damage if left untreated, the good news is that it is completely curable. Treatment for this infection involves use of antibiotics and In fact upto 90% of people infected with Chlamydia are cured after completing one recommended course of antibiotics. However only a doctor who has performed the clinical examination of the patient and is aware of his/her history as well as results of diagnostic tests can advise the correct course of treatment. Usually treatment for Chlamydia includes one of the following recommended regimen in case of patients who are not pregnant:

  1. A adult can take Azithromycin 1 g orally in a single dose. This is ideal for people who have difficulty remembering to take their medication every day at the same time. The negative aspect of this regimen is however that a single dose may have more noticeable side effects and may be comparatively more expensive.
     
  2. Yet another option is to take Doxycycline 100 mg orally twice a day for 7 days.

Among alternative regimens, a non-pregnant adult can opt for any one of the following:

  1. Erythromycin base 500 mg orally four times a day for 7 days
     
  2. Erythromycin ethylsuccinate 800 mg orally four times a day for 7 days
     
  3. Ofloxacin 300 mg orally twice a day for 7 days
     
  4. Levofloxacin 500 mg orally once daily for 7 day

A doctor may put the patient of Chlamydia under an alternative antibiotic regimen under certain conditions. However while Oflaxacin and Levofloxacin are relatively more expensive, Erythromycin may be less effective. This is because Erythromycin makes many people sick to their stomachs which can affect the way the medication is absorbed.

In case a woman suffering from Chlamydia is pregnant, a doctor may not prescribe doxycycline, ofloxacin or levofloxacin. Azithromycin though is considered to be both safe and effective in this case. However, if a woman has been diagnosed with Chlamydia during pregnancy, she should return to your doctor for a check-up 3 weeks after she has finished medication since there are potentially serious consequences for her pregnancy and the unborn child.

Follow up is an essential part of treatment for Chlamydia. For this a person undergoing treatment should:

  1. Finish the entire course of antibiotics prescribed by the doctor, even if he/she is feeling fine and the symptoms go away. Stopping the course of antibiotics before it is completed may not only lead to a relapse but eventually increase the chances of resistance to that antibiotic.
     
  2. Abstain from sexual intercourse for 7 days after single dose antibiotics or until completion of a 7-day course of antibiotics, to prevent spreading the infection to partners.
     
  3. Notify all sexual partners so that they can be treated or at least tested for the same infection. This will prevent the infection going back and forth and make way for a complete treatment.
     
  4. Go for retesting if his/her symptoms continue or he/she suspects that they have been re-infected. In fact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the US Department of Health recommends retesting for every individual after three months of completing treatment for the initial infection, regardless of whether they believe that their sex partners were treated.
     
  5. Follow a balanced diet. Though there is no food group that will prevent or cure Chlamydia, ensuring that a diet contains fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, sprouts, probiotics and fiber-dense foods will play a vital role in detoxifying the body, boosting immunity and limiting unpleasant side effects associated with strong antibiotics. Also try to avoid caffeine, alcohol, processed and canned foods as well as saturated fats as far as possible.

Prevention of infection constitutes an important aspect of overall treatment for Chlamydia since unlike some viral infections, contracting Chlamydia once does not confer lifelong immunity to the infection. In order to avoid being infected or re-infected with Chlamydia, a person should
 

  1. Practice monogamous sex with a partner who is confirmed as not having Chlamydia.
     
  2. In case an exclusive sexual relationship is not possible, an individual should always insist on the use of latex male condoms which provide the greatest precaution against sexually transmitted diseases.
     
  3. Avoid sex with high-risk partners.
     
  4. Treat infected sexual partners or at least have them tested before having sexual relations. Up to one-fourth of sexually active patients of Chlamydia are re-infected because they resumed sexual relations with an infected partner.
     
  5. CDC recommends yearly Chlamydia testing of all sexually active women age 25 or younger, all pregnant women as well as older women who are at high risk factors for Chlamydia infections. In United States, this group constitutes individuals:
     
  1. Who have a new sex partner or multiple sex partners. In fact the greater the number of sex partners, the greater the risk of infection.
     
  2. Women aged 25 or below. This is because the cervix or the opening to the uterus of teenage girls and young women is not fully matured and is probably more susceptible to infection. This puts them at particularly high risk for infection if sexually active.
     
  3. Since Chlamydia can be transmitted by oral or anal sex, men who have sex with men are also at risk for Chlamydia infection, particularly those that are HIV-positive or abuse drugs or alcohol.
     
  4. Of the African-American ethnicity, particularly those from low-education and low-income groups.

Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. According to an estimate by the CDC, there are as many as 4 million Americans infected with Chlamydia, with 2.8 million new infections each year. It is extremely likely that the real numbers are higher simply because many people with Chlamydia 75 percent of infected women and 50 percent of infected men don't have any noticeable symptoms and are not screened by a physician. Because of the potential for severe complications, especially among women, treatment for Chlamydia should not be delayed or shortened at all.