Chlamydia in women
Infection in women
There are an estimated 4,000,000 infections from Chlamydia trachomatis each year. Of the 4 million 1.2 million are reported to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The graph below shows that the majority of infections are occurring in women not men.
More prevalence numbers
It was found in military recruits that the chlamydia rate was about 9 percent. At a University 1149 women were screened and the rate was 2.3 percent. Surprising, the rate of chlamydia at a middle school was 16 percent and in an urban family clinic 5.4 percent. Worldwide rates have varied from as high as 28.5 percent to 2.6 percent. Sex workers carried the highest rate of infection in Dakar, Senegal a western African Country at 28.5 percent.
What puts women at higher risks of infection?
Women should be especially careful if they follow under any of these categories.
1) Are an adolescent or young adult
2) Have multiple sex partners, a parter with other partners in the last three months or a recent new sex partner
3) Are inconsistent in use of barrier contraceptives
4) Have evidence of mucopurulent cervicitis
5) Are unmarried
6) Have a history of prior sexually transmitted diseases
7) Are of lower socioeconomic class or education not beyond high shchool
8) Have cervical ectopy
9) Are black
10) Those that douche
11) Have had two or more sex partners within the last year
12) have never had a child
Am I Infected with Chlamydia?
A vast amount of infections will be asymptomatic meaning there will be no obvious signs that something is wrong. The most common infection associated with chlamydia in women is cervical infection aka cervicitis. If signs and symptoms are present they will be vaginal discharge, (smelly) intermenstrual bleeding and pain during sex. Sometimes the upper genitals are involved and this is indicated if there is abdominal pain or lower abdominal pain. Upon a physical examination of the cervix (necessary during checkup) there can be mucopurulent discharge, cervical friability (cervix is easily irritated and could be bleeding) and cervical edema (swelling of the cervix by fluid).
Chlamydia can also manifest as urethritis which is infection of the female urethra and usually accompanies cervicitis (see above). Women with urethritis complain of pain during urination, lower abdominal pain and sometimes of pus in the urine. Symptoms are typical of those with a urinary tract infection (UTI).
What can result from infection with chlamydia?
One infected with chlamydia can develop perihepatitis (Fitzhugh-Curtis syndrome). This is inflammation of the liver capsule and adjacent peritoneal surfaces. It is most commonly seen in patients with pelvic inflammatory disease, occurring in up to 5-15 percent of cases.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) will develop in approximately 30 percent of women that don’t get treated for chlamydia. It is most important to get treated right away for chlamydia because pelvic inflammatory disease can lead to infertility.