Chlamydia: The burning sensation that signals the presence of the STI in men

NHS: Expert gives advice on treatment of chlamydia

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In men chlamydia can cause a burning or itching sensation in the urethra, pain when urinating, white, cloudy, or watery discharge, and pain in the testicles.

Women can also experience pain when urinating as a result of chlamydia alongside unusual vaginal discharge, pain the tummy or pelvis, pain during sex, bleeding after sex and bleeding in between periods.

In the same way the symptoms differ between individuals so too can complications.

Complications that men can experience if chlamydia is left untreated include swelling of epididymis, swelling of the testicles and a condition known as sexually acquired reactive arthritis.

Also known as SARA for short, this condition causes the joints, eyes, or urethra to become inflamed a few weeks after contracting chlamydia.

Although most common in men, women can also develop this form of arthritis that is carried through an infection.

While there is no cure for SARA, people normally recover within months through a combination of anti-inflammatory and pain-killing medication.

Complications of chlamydia for women are more extensive and serious.

Chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, a condition where chlamydia spreads to the womb, ovaries, and fallopian tubes (the tubes that carry male sperm to the eggs).

Pelvic inflammatory disease is particularly volatile as it can cause infertility in women, chronic pelvic pain, make it more difficult to become pregnant and increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy.

If the disease is treated early, traditionally with a course of antibiotics, the risk of infertility declines.

Nevertheless, it is important that if chlamydia is present in either gender that treatment is administered as soon as possible to avoid complications and the condition passing on.

The best way to stop an infection of chlamydia from occurring is by both sexual partners taking precautionary measures.

Meanwhile, in recent years STI rates have dropped due to the prevalence of COVID-19 preventing people from mixing.

However new data suggests that the opposite could be the case and that cases may have risen to new highs.

Scientists are warning that the reason for the drop in case rates during the pandemic was not down to fewer people mixing but down to fewer people reporting.

As COVID-19 hit the world’s hospitals, non-essential health services had to be shut in order to divert resources so people either didn’t have anywhere to go for treatment or didn’t report if something was wrong.

Associate professor of medicine and epidemiology Julie Dombrowski said” “It is completely implausible that we would have had such STI successes because of COVID-19.”

Evidence on whether there is a sharp rise of STIs will become clearer when data for 2021 is released later this year.

For more information on STIs contact the NHS or book an appointment with your local STI clinic.

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