Chlamydial Urethritis

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April 29th, 2014

Are you experiencing a painful burning sensation when you go to urinate? Are you have trouble urinating? If you’ve experienced tender or swollen testicles, a discharge from the penis, itching, and swelling or redness at the hole in the tip of the penis, you may be experiencing chlamydial urethritis (nih.gov). Chlamydia is a very common sexually transmitted infection (STI). Colloquially it is sometimes called “the clap.” The bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis causes the disease. Chlamydia is passed on from person to person through sexual contact, generally from unprotected sex. This disease often goes hand-in-hand with gonorrhea. The difference is that symptoms will remain even after the treatment for gonorrhea has been administered. Those who have many sexual partners are at the highest risk of contracting these diseases. Chlamydia can often cause the urethra or the tube which exits the penis at the tip (a vessel for semen and urine) to swell. This is called chlamydial urethritis. There are different strains of this bacteria and each causes a different infection. One infects the eyes, another the lungs, another the genitals and still another the lymph nodes. A woman who gives birth to a child and has chlamydia of her cervix may give the child a lung or eye infection, for instance.

There are many tests that can be administered by your healthcare provider in order to determine whether you indeed have chlamydia. A simple urine test, genital fluid testing such as testing the urethral discharge, and something called a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) which is taking a sample from the patent’s penis and sending it to a lab. A culture will be done to determine which microbe is present. Luckily the treatment for chlamydia is merely oral antibiotics. The common types prescribed are Erythromycin, Azithromycin, Tetracyclines and Quinolones. Both or all partners must be treated, even those who do not show symptoms of the disease as each partner will continue to re-infect the other if left untreated. One possible complication that can occur is called strictures or a narrowing of the urethra. Surgery may be required to reverse this issue. If your sexual partner or partners remain untreated or you do not take the medication as prescribed, the infection can return. If you are diagnosed with chlamydia, it’s important to get a screening for HIV, syphilis and other sexual transmitted infections as well. Monogamy is often recommended. Using a condom properly each time and with each partner can prevent the contraction of chlamydia.

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