Whether you’re sifting through your genetics or trying to tell if you’re pregnant, there is a test that you can take in the comfort of your home. And while this is great news, genetics and pregnancies aren’t the only things that worry people these days. You also need to be on the lookout for STIs.
To prevent the spread of diseases such as chlamydia, it helps to check yourself regularly. But if you are feeling a little shy or are uncomfortable about going to a clinic, there are alternatives you can try such as an at-home chlamydia test. So, what is chlamydia? And why should you get checked for this disease in particular?
What is Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is one of many sexually transmitted diseases/infections (STDs/STIs). This disease occurs when someone is infected with the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. Many of these cases result from people having unprotected vaginal, oral, and/or anal sex. Women who are already infected with chlamydia can also pass on the infection to their newborn during childbirth.
Chlamydia infections can also happen between partners who share sex toys or anything that comes in contact with the genitals or fluids of the infected partner.
While it is easy to contract the disease, chlamydia is curable. Those infected with the disease are prescribed antibiotics. But if you have reoccurring infections, you may run the risk of having an antibiotic-resistant form of chlamydia. This is why it is important to not only treat the disease early but also avoid getting reinfected with said disease multiple times.
With all this in mind, it also helps to know just how common this disease is. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
How Common is a Chlamydia Infection?
There are many STIs such as gonorrhea, syphilis, HPV, HIV/AIDs, hepatitis B and C, and herpes to name a few. Chlamydia, however, is the most reported out of all the different types of STIs. And while it is common, it is not commonly detected until you take an STI test.
This is because chlamydia is one of the more trickier STIs since symptoms are often non-existent in both men and women. 50% of men and 70% of women will not exhibit symptoms which means this disease can spread rapidly if not caught early. People can have a chlamydia infection for many years without ever knowing too.
No matter where you live, new cases of chlamydia are on the rise. According to the World Health Organization and CDC, millions of new infections are occurring every day. It is safe to say the odds of getting chlamydia is fairly high.
Since some cases of chlamydia do show symptoms, it’ll help to familiarize yourself with what you should look for exactly.
Symptoms of a Chlamydia Infection
Before you rush to check yourself, there one factor you should be aware of. Chlamydia will only start showing symptoms after an incubation period of several weeks. And you may not see all of the symptoms either.
Common symptoms of chlamydia infection in women are:
- Pain during vaginal and/or anal intercourse
- Abnormal vaginal discharge, yellowish
- Abnormal vaginal discharge smell, chlamydia can cause a strong odor
- A painful burning sensation during urination
- Frequent urination
- Lower abdominal pain
- Bleeding between periods
Due to how chlamydia is contracted, symptoms may differ between men and women. Men are less likely to show symptoms when compared to their female counterparts.
In any case, men can show the following symptoms when infected with chlamydia:
- Swollen or tender testicles
- Pain or discharge around the anus
- Watery discharge in a milky color
- Painful, burning sensations during urination
If you notice any of the following symptoms in either yourself or your partner, seek out medical attention as soon as possible. You’ll want to provide your health care provider with a list of past sexual partners so that they may also be notified of any positive STI results.
Complications of a Chlamydia Infection
The importance of treating chlamydia quickly stems from the fact that complications can be severe. Women can suffer from pelvic inflammatory disease and ectopic pregnancy due to blocked or scarred fallopian tubes. Men can suffer from epididymitis of the testicular tubes. Chlamydia that is left untreated can also increase one’s risk of contracting HIV and other STIs.
Complications are easy to avoid with early detection and treatment. So let’s see how chlamydia is detected in men and women.
How Is a Chlamydia Diagnosed?
There are a wide variety of methods used to determine whether a person has chlamydia or not. In most cases, a chlamydia test will only require a vaginal swab from women and a urine sample from men. Other tests for chlamydia may involve either an oral swab or a rectal swab. This is because chlamydia can be contracted either orally or anally as well.
Diagnosing chlamydia isn’t hard, which is why there are now at-home chlamydia test kits.
What Is an At-Home Chlamydia Test Kit?
An at-home chlamydia test kit can help you test for chlamydia and many other STIs depending on the type of kit you buy. These kits come with a swab and a test tube. All you have to do is use a swab or provide a urine sample as directed and look for a visual change. Some test kits will allow you to send your sample to a lab for analysis.
Are At-Home Chlamydia Tests Accurate?
Yes, at-home chlamydia tests are extremely accurate. Some test kits can be more accurate than some STI tests conducted in clinics.
Is an At-Home Chlamydia Test Worth It?
At-home chlamydia tests are always worth doing for anyone sexually active. People of all ages can benefit from having easy access to testing and quick results. These tests, however, do not replace medical guidance and you will still need to see a doctor should the test come back with positive results. All follow up treatment must be handled by your health care provider.