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What is a Chlamydia Test?

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  • Written By: Kathy Heydasch
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A chlamydia test may be ordered by a doctor if there is a suspicion of the presence of the most common form of sexually transmitted disease caused by bacteria. The test will include a swab of the infected area and typically a culture test. There is a method called a nucleic acid amplification test, which analyzes the DNA in chlamydia trachomatis, but it is not admissible in court. Other types of a chlamydia test include a direct fluorescent antibody stain and a DNA probe which is slightly less sensitive than the nucleic acid amplification test.

The bacteria which causes chlamydia is known as chlamydia trachomatis. Signs of chlamydia may be unusual vaginal discharge or abdominal pain in women and penile discharge or pain during urination in men. Risk factors that warrant a chlamydia test include new or multiple sexual partners.

Most people infected with chlamydia never show symptoms of the infection. For this reason, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends testing for any sexually-active female under the age of 25, any women over 25 with new risk factors, and all pregnant women, since chlamydia can be passed from mother to daughter during childbirth. The age of 25 is stated because under this age, the cervix is not fully developed and is more susceptible to infection.

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Because the symptoms of chlamydia closely resemble the symptoms of gonorrhea, a chlamydia test should be ordered anytime a test for gonorrhea is performed. This is because the two infections require very different treatments with antibiotics. Screening for all sexually transmitted diseases is recommended if symptoms are witnessed or if new or multiple sexual partners are introduced.

Chlamydia is one of the diseases described as a silent disease because its symptoms are masked so well. The majority of people with chlamydia do not even know they have it. If it is left untreated, however, it can have disastrous effects on a woman’s reproductive system.

Pelvic inflammatory disease occurs in 10 to 15 percent of women who have untreated chlamydia. This can lead to problems with the fallopian tubes, the uterus and surrounding tissues. It can even eventually lead to infertility. Untreated chlamydia in men poses far fewer risks, but men can experience pain during urination or develop an infection of the tube that carries sperm.

Pregnant women should be screened for chlamydia since the infection can be passed from mother to child during vaginal childbirth. In addition, chlamydia can cause infections of the eyes and respiratory system of the newborn. Untreated chlamydia infections can possibly lead to premature births.

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