Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). It is caused the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. Chlamydia may be transmitted through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Apart from sexual partners, it can also be transmitted by an infected mother to her baby during childbirth. Any person who is sexually active can get infected with the bacterium.
Symptoms of Chlamydia
Most males and females are unaware that they are infected with chlamydia. If symptoms do occur, they may appear within one to three weeks after exposure to infection.
Symptoms in women may include:
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Low back pain
- Pain in lower abdomen
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Bleeding between periods
Symptoms in men may include:
- Testicular pain
- Swelling in testicles
- Pain in lower abdomen
- Burning during urination
- Green or yellow discharge from penis.
Can Chlamydia cause infertility in women?
Chlamydia can lead to infertility in females if not detected early. If left untreated for long, chlamydia infection can become severe and reach the fallopian tubes, thereby blocking the tubes at their ends. This condition is referred to as hydrosalpinx.
Scarring or webbing may also develop around the area of the fallopian tubes, making it difficult for them to capture eggs during ovulation. If left untreated Chlamydia can also cause PID (pelvic inflammatory disease). Adhesions and scarring in fallopian tubes may also occur due to repeated episodes of PID.
Every month an egg reaches the uterus from the ovary via the fallopian tube and fertilization takes place in fallopian tubes. A female can still get pregnant with blockage of one fallopian tube, if the ovulation is taking place in the other ovary regularly. However, infertility occurs, if both tubes gets blocked.
How to detect tubal damage caused by chlamydia
Tubal Obstruction can be detected by performing a hysterosalpingogram during which a dye is injected into the uterus. If the liquid spills through the ends of the fallopian tubes, it means your tubes are open. However, it indicates blockage if the liquid fails to come out of the other end. Pelvic adhesions can be detected by doing a laparoscopy in which a telescope with a small camera at its one end is inserted through a small incision in the abdomen under anesthesia.
READ ALSO: Female Infertility: 7 Main Causes
When to see a doctor
You should visit a physician regarding your fertility problems if:
- You are trying to conceive for one year or more.
- You are trying to get pregnant for 6 months or more and you are older than 36 years.
- You have suffered from pelvic inflammatory disease in the past.
- Your fallopian tubes are blocked.
Treating blocked fallopian tube caused by Chlamydia may be done in two methods. The doctor may perform a procedure that is minimally invasive to clear the blockage of the fallopian tube. Then the pregnancy will either be allowed to happen naturally or with the aid of an oral medicine.
The couple can also use IVF, which does not require the fallopian tube. The choice of treatment in a particular situation is dependent on the condition of the female and her preferences.
Can Chlamydia cause infertility in Males?
Chlamydia may reach the epididymis and testicles of a man, causing them to be painful and swollen. The condition is known as epididymoorcyitis or epididymitis. This irritation of testes is treated using antibiotics. It may cause infertility in men if left untreated for long.
Chlamydia causes fragmentation of DNA in sperms, according to a new study. This causes infertility in males. However, appropriate treatment with antibiotics can help in restoring the DNA of the sperms and fertility. Also, men can protect themselves from developing infertility due to Chlamydia by getting regular screenings for the disease.