100 million of you have it. It often has no symptoms. Chlamydia might still be lurking…
Everything’s looking all happy and normal down there, right? You don’t need to go for a sexual health check, right? Wrong! If you’re sexually active, you might just have chlamydia!
Among sexually transmitted infections (STIs), chlamydia is recognised as one of the global biggies. In the UK, for example, it’s the most common STI and is particularly rife among younger adults.
So what is Chlamydia?
It’s a bacterial infection that lurks in semen and vaginal fluids. The vagina, penis, rectum, and eyes can become infected, depending on which of your body parts have come into contact with infected substances.
Around half of men show some symptoms. In men, symptoms include pain when urinating, a discharge from the penis or rectum, or pain in the testicles. Even fewer symptoms occur in women—only 20 to 30% will experience pain when urinating, discharge, bleeding between periods or after sex, or pain in the lower abdomen.
If you don’t get treatment for chlamydia, things can get nasty. In women the disease can spread to the uterus, resulting in pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause infertility or miscarriage. Men can also get complications like infertility.
So, it’s worth getting checked for chlamydia. Getting tested is so easy—all it takes is a quick wizzle in a pot or a little swab down below.
If you’ve got chlamydia, it’s no biggy. All you need to do is take some antibiotics to kill the bacteria (but you’ve got to take the antibiotics exactly how the doctor says, otherwise some of the bacteria survive, and will come back with a vengeance!).
To avoid picking up chlamydia, slap on a condom when you’re having vaginal or oral sex and whip out a dental dam if your planning on going down on a woman.