Chlamydia is by far the most common sexually transmitted disease in Finland. It can be spread through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex. Almost all chlamydia infections are asymptomatic. The incubation period of chlamydia is approximately 10–14 days. If chlamydia remains untreated for a long period, it may cause infertility.
Symptoms of chlamydia
• pain and burning sensation with urination
• slight mucous discharge from the urethra
• painful urination
• frequent urination
• increased leucorrhoea
In female patients, chlamydia can also cause the inflammation of internal reproductive organs that may include lower abdominal pain, menstrual disorders and increased body temperature as symptoms.
Chlamydia can be reliably detected approximately a week after the infection. The easiest way to do so is to analyse a urine sample. Patients are required not to urinate for at least two hours before the sample is collected. Chlamydia tests can also be performed on cotton swab samples collected from the urethra of male patients or the cervix of female patients.
Treatment of chlamydia
Chlamydia can be treated with a single dose of an antibiotic (azithromycin). It is also possible and advisable to treat the patient’s possible partner simultaneously. In addition to a prescribed course of antibiotics, it is important to not have sex during the first week of treatment and to wear a condom in all forms of intercourse until the disease has been treated.
The sequelae of chlamydia can be problematic. These include complications with pregnancy and infertility due to blocked fallopian tubes. In the case of a single infection, the risk of sequelae is small, but it increases significantly if the infection recurs.