Here at Options for Women, we seek to share as much knowledge as we can with the women who enter our doors. We provide compassionate care that includes honest information about STDs, abortion, pregnancy and adoption.
One of the services we provide women who come to our clinic is selected STD screening. This is important for numerous reasons, but mainly to ensure the overall health of the woman, especially if she also happens to be pregnant. It is important for you to know if you have any STDs before you have an abortion procedure, so that you can reduce your risk of complications and protect your future reproductive health. Many STDs can be passed along to the baby during childbirth, so it is crucial that women receive a proper diagnosis, followed up by proper treatment.
Chlamydia is one such STD. It affects both men and women and can cause very serious, and permanent, damage to a woman’s reproductive system. Untreated Chlamydia can spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes. There, it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease. PID may also be without symptoms, but can cause permanent damage to the reproductive system. It can result in serious and long-term pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy and infertility. It can, in fact, make it very difficult and in some cases even impossible to conceive. Chlamydia can also cause ectopic pregnancies, which can be fatal.
Chlamydia is spread through having any form of sex – anal, vaginal or oral, with someone who is infected. Chlamydia can be spread even if your partner does not ejaculate and you can get it even if you’ve already had it.
The only certain way to avoid getting chlamydia is through abstaining from sex. However, if you are sexually active, be sure you practice safe sex, in a monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested for STDs.
How do you know if you are at risk for chlamydia? Sexually active young people are at a higher risk, both due to riskier behavior and biological factors. Sexually active women under 25 should be tested for chlamydia once a year.
If you are pregnant and have chlamydia, you can pass the infection along during delivery. Your newborn could get an eye infection or pneumonia. Additionally, chlamydia can cause premature labor. This is why it is essential that pregnant women be diagnoses and treated early in pregnancy.
But one of the problems with chlamydia is that many people do not display symptoms. But even if symptoms do pop up, they may not appear until weeks after the sexual encounter. Don’t be fooled, though. Even if you don’t experience symptoms, chlamydia can wreak havoc on your reproductive system.
Women may experience abnormal vaginal discharge or a burning sensation when urinating. The infection can also be found in the rectum, either from anal sex or from the infection spreading from the vaginal area. In this case, women may experience rectal pain, discharge or bleeding.
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor right away. Your doctor will test you using either a urine analysis or vaginal swab.
The good news is that chlamydia can be cured if you take all medication as prescribed. When taken as prescribed, the medication will stop the infection and decrease the risk of complications later.
Repeat infection is common, however. After your first diagnosis, the Center for Disease Control recommends getting tested again three months later, even if both you and your partner were treated.
You should not engage in sexual activity again until you and/or your partner have completed treatment as prescribed by your doctor.
If you choose not to get tested, or fail to follow the doctor’s orders as prescribed, it can result in serious health issues for you.
It can also increase your chances of getting or giving HIV.
It is estimated that 2.8 million people are infected with chlamydia each year and that half of those are ages 18-24.
If you have engaged in unprotected sex of any kind, it is important that you have an STD screening as soon as possible. For more information or to learn how we can help, call (863) 393-6988.