Chlamydia in women
- What is chlamydia and how does the infection occur?
- Symptoms of chlamydia in women
- How to determine the presence of chlamydia in women?
- Chlamydia treatment in women
- Possible consequences of chlamydia infection
- Chlamydia during pregnancy
- Preventive measures against chlamydia
Diseases caused by chlamydia, are called "chlamydia" or "chlamydial infections."
Chlamydia are unique microorganisms that choose living human cells as their habitat. By structure, they are more like bacteria, but by the nature of existence resemble viruses.
What is chlamydia and how does the infection occur?
Urogenital chlamydia in women is a common sexually transmitted infection (sexually transmitted infection). Currently, chlamydia infection of the female population is increasing. This infectious agent is found in 60 persons of the fair sex out of 100.
It is worth noting the fact that there are no vaccinations for chlamydial infections, and even after an illness a person does not develop immunity.
Chlamydia infection occurs both in the process of unprotected sexual intercourse (genital-oral, genital-genital, genital-anal) and through everyday objects. On cotton products, an infection can last up to 48 hours, but dies within a minute when boiling.
The life cycle of chlamydia can be divided into two stages:
- Infectious, when the existence of an infection occurs outside a living cell:
- Reticular, when the infection enters the body and begins to parasitize inside a living cell.
The size of chlamydia at the infectious stage of existence remains within 0.3 microns, but, when it multiplies inside the cell, they increase to 1 micron in diameter. The larger the size of the infectious agent, the easier it is for him to leave the cell, where he parasitized earlier, and capture new areas.
The development cycle of chlamydia lasts about the spirit of the day, and during this period they are quite sensitive to chemotherapy, ultraviolet radiation and the effects of antibiotics.
The incubation period depends on the immunity status of the infected woman and can last for about 30 days. This period remains outside the focus of attention of the patient, since the disease is asymptomatic.
If we take the duration of the disease as the main criterion, we can distinguish two types of chlamydia:
- Fresh, which is characterized by lesions of the lower parts of the urethra.
- Chronic, when the infection captures both the lower and upper parts of the urogenital tract.
Chlamydia in women sometimes resembles other diseases of the urogenital tract in its symptoms. First, the cervix of the uterus is affected, then the uterus itself. The next stage is the transfer of infection through the fallopian tubes to the ovaries and the abdominal cavity. In rare cases, intestinal infection through the uterine neck is possible.
Symptoms of chlamydia in women
More often, chlamydia infection does not give symptoms, but in some cases there are complaints about:
- Burning sensation in the vulva and itching in the urethra;
- Sense of slight pain and discomfort when urinating;
- Sensation of increased humidity of the genitals;
- Muco-purulent discharge from the vagina. On examination, excretions appear when pressing on the affected area;
- Defect in the form of erosion in the cervix;
- Severity and pain in the lumbar spine;
- Violation of the menstrual cycle;
- Pulling pain in lower abdomen;
- Chlamydial conjunctivitis that occurs when the eye is involved in the pathological process;
- General weakness and fever.
How to determine the presence of chlamydia in women?
Diagnosis of the disease is complicated by the fact that the symptoms characteristic of chlamydial infections are characteristic not only of them, but also of other sexually transmitted infections.
Taking a biomaterial (in this case a smear) and its laboratory research can give an exact answer to the question: is there chlamydia trachomatis in the body or not. But biological research gives conjectural information, and for an accurate diagnosis, a number of additional laboratory procedures are required.
Culture sowing (sowing on Wednesday MS-sou) is considered the main diagnostic method, giving the most accurate picture of the presence of chlamydial infection in a woman's body. It requires a long study and relatively high material costs, besides the method itself is quite time-consuming, but the accuracy of the result is worth the resources spent.
ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) and REEF (immunofluorescence reaction) can detect the disease and determine exactly at what stage of development it is. PCR or DNA - diagnosis reveals the presence of chlamydia with absolute accuracy even when the concentration of infection is still very low. DNA diagnostics, ELISA and REEF provide information not only on the presence of chlamydia at the moment, but also on whether the patient was previously ill or not.
Doctors gynecologists focus on a number of specific factors in order to calculate women who are particularly in need of conducting a study on STIs, including chlamydia:
- Patients who are in the process of treating inflammation (cervicitis) or cervical erosion;
- Women who are registered with the doctor for infertility for a year or more;
- Patients with a complication of pregnancy of various forms (prolonged fever of unknown origin, polyhydramnios, miscarriage, delayed fetal development in the prenatal period);
- Persons of a female, with the presence of a miscarriage, a non-developing pregnancy and a premature birth in the anamnesis.
Patients with similar problems should be screened for the presence of chlamydial infection, regardless of the smear pattern taken for analysis and conditionally pathogenic microflora. Even with a relatively normal picture of a general smear from the urethra and vagina, urogenital chlamydiosis is found in 80% of patients with suspicious symptoms.
Chlamydia treatment in women
After successful diagnosis and accurate diagnosis, the treatment of chlamydial infection is initiated.
Unlike other STI infections, the eradication of chlamydia trachomatis is a rather laborious process. They have the ability to adapt to the effects of drugs and to hide from the components of drugs designed to cleanse the body from chlamydia.
But, despite all the difficulties, the infection is treatable. It should be borne in mind that the sooner treatment is started, the more likely it is to completely get rid of chlamydia. The longer a woman does not seek help from a doctor, the more likely the disease becomes chronic.
Self-medication with drugs recommended by people without appropriate specialization and the hope of dubious folk methods not only fails to produce proper results, but is also dangerous for the occurrence of serious complications:
- Intrauterine infection of the child;
- The weakening of the body and disability.
Drawing up a treatment plan falls on the shoulders of a specialist doctor. It is individual for each patient, since there is no general treatment, and concomitant infections may be found.
It is advisable the appointment of combination therapy to get rid of chlamydia:
- Purpose of broad-spectrum antibiotics (azithromycin, penicillin, tetracycline).
- Immunostimulants designed to correct the body's defenses (intramuscular or intravenous administration of cycloferon), since infections and antibiotics reduce immunity.
- Complex vitamins (komplivit, alphabet, etc.).
- Compliance with the diet with the mandatory rejection of the admission of alcohol and smoking.
- Temporary rejection of sexual relations with a partner.
- A course of laser blood irradiation is prescribed as an additional measure. It helps to increase the level of effectiveness of antibacterial drugs and has a positive effect on the female immune system.
If a woman has a permanent sexual partner, both need treatment. Getting rid of the infection of one of them does not make sense, since during the first unprotected sexual contact the infection will occur again.
After the end of treatment, you need to pass a control analysis after a couple of weeks, and then after a month and two months. If the result is negative every time, we can safely say that there is no chlamydia.
Possible consequences of chlamydia infection
To avoid the negative effects of chlamydia, you should promptly consult your doctor if you have the slightest complaints about the condition of the urinary organs. It is advisable to visit a gynecologist about two times a year, even if it seems that the state of health is ideal in order to catch the disease in its early stages.
In view of the fact that the disease is manifested by scanty symptomatology or is not manifested at all, it easily passes into an advanced chronic stage. In this case, a woman may experience the following serious complications:
- Cervicitis or inflammation of the cervix;
- Hemorrhagic cystitis , which is activated when a chlamydial infection hits the mucous membrane lining the bladder;
- Urethritis - inflammation in the urethra;
- Endometritis - inflammation of the endometrium (layer of the mucous membrane lining the uterus);
- Inflammation of the Bartholin glands, which are located at the entrance to the vagina;
- Diseases of various organs located within the small pelvis (ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus) and obstruction of the fallopian tubes;
- Chronic pain in the pelvic area;
- Infertility problem;
- Possible transition of the pathological process to the liver;
- The narrowing (stricture) of the urethra with a long course of chlamydia;
- The occurrence of conjunctivitis during the transmission of infection from the infected areas into the eyes by hand;
- Inflammatory process in the mucous membrane of the rectum with genital-anal sexual contact;
- Reiter's syndrome, which occurs in people genetically susceptible to infection with chlamydial infections. They have simultaneously or sequentially affected chlamydia with the urinary organs, joints, skin and eyes. The syndrome develops on the background of reduced immunity.
Infection with this infection and its complications may be accompanied by headaches, prolonged fever, and an increase in regional (located near the site of injury) lymph nodes.
During the period that chlamydia is parasitic in humans, it becomes more vulnerable to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Chlamydia during pregnancy
Infection with chlamydia trachomatis during the childbearing period is dangerous not only for the mother, but also for the fetus. Depending on the location of the source of inflammation, the child may become infected during fetal development or in the process of childbirth - during the passage of the birth canal.
Even after birth, parents can infect their children through everyday objects. There are cases when as many generations in one family suffered from chlamydia, because they used shared towels, washcloths and bed linen.
The clinical picture is often uninformative or manifests nonspecific symptoms.
Complications of chlamydia during pregnancy can be:
- The threat of termination of pregnancy;
- Ectopic pregnancy;
- Freezing pregnancy;
- Danger of preterm labor;
- Endometritis after abortion or childbirth during illness;
- Possible premature rupture of amniotic fluid.
Do not forget that the child is also exposed to danger, which also may cause complications from chlamydia infection:
- Infection of the nasopharynx;
- Various health problems;
- Pneumonia (an infectious inflammatory process in the lungs);
- CVS (cardiovascular diseases);
- Diseases of the central nervous system (central nervous system);
- GI tract pathology (gastrointestinal waste);
- The occurrence of infertility at an early age.
Treatment of a pregnant woman infected with chlamydia requires special care. She is prescribed antibiotics that are not able to pass through the placenta and harm the baby. Accordingly, the treatment is carried out after the placenta has matured - in the second trimester of pregnancy.
The course of taking antibiotics should be short, as there is no certainty that they will not harm the child in one degree or another.
During research, scientists have found an interesting fact: taking oral hormonal contraceptives reduces the risk of infection with chlamydia, as it makes the mucous membrane in the cervix more resistant to the effects of a bacterial agent.
Preventive measures against chlamydia
Like any other disease, chlamydia is better and easier to prevent than to cure.
The main rule, of course, is personal hygiene and discriminating sex life. A regular healthy partner is a guarantee of protection against chlamydia infection through sexual contact. Do not fully rely on barrier methods of contraception as a protective factor. Of course, it is preferable to use a condom, but it does not give an absolute certainty that infection will not happen. In favor of your health, it is desirable to abandon casual sexual relationships, and at the slightest suspicion of the presence of the disease - contact a specialist doctor.
Regular examination by a gynecologist (at least twice a year) allows detecting chlamydia infection at an early stage and, accordingly, making the treatment process easier and more effective.
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- Chlamydia: symptoms and treatment
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- Chlamydia in men