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Chlamydia infections in women
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease caused by parasitic microorganisms. These microorganisms cause a wide range of infections in humans, including infections of the male and female genital tract, eye infections, and pneumonia.
Recently, infections with certain types of chlamydia have been associated with coronary heart disease.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Different strains of chlamydia cause genital, eye, lymph node, and respiratory infections. Chlamydia causes trachoma, which is the most common cause of blindness in the world.
In the developed world, infections due to chlamydia are a common sexually transmitted disease; in the U.S., approximately 50 women per 100,000 are infected annually, with women aged 15-24 at greatest risk. Risk factors include multiple sexual partners. Chlamydia is the most common reportable disease in the United States.
Sexually transmitted chlamydia infections can infect the the urethra, the rectum, and the throat. In women, the infection may lead to inflammation of the cervix . If untreated, infection may spread to the uterus or the fallopian tubes and cause pelvic inflammatory disease. This can cause infertility and can increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy.
Signs and tests
TreatmentChlamydia can be treated with a variety of antibiotics, including azithromycin, erythromycin, tetracyclines, ofloxacin, and amoxicillin. Erythromycin and amoxicillin are safe in pregnant women. Both sexual partners must be treated to prevent passing the infection back and forth between them, even though both may not have symptoms.
Expectations (prognosis)Antibiotic treatment is usually successful. Reinfection may occur if compliance with therapy is not good, or if both sexual partners are not treated.
Calling your health care providerCall for an appointment with your health care provider if symptoms of chlamydia occur.
PreventionA monogamous sexual relationship with an uninfected partner is the best way to avoid this infection. The proper use of condoms during intercourse decreases the risk of infection.
Update Date: 8/11/2003Daniel Levy, M.D., Ph.D., Infectious Diseases, Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT