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Chlamydia in Women

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What is chlamydia?

Chlamydia is the most commonly reported sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the U.S. It is an infection with the bacteria known as Chlamydia trachomatis. Chlamydia is very similar to gonorrhea in its symptoms and pattern of transmission. It is important to note that many people (both women and men) who are infected with chlamydia do not have any symptoms and may not be aware that they have the infection. Chlamydia infection can cause permanent damage to the fallopian tubes in a woman and can lead to future infertility and an increase risk of ectopic pregnancy. Chlamydia infection during pregnancy also increases a woman's risk of preterm labor and of having a baby with low birth weight.

Lymphogranuloma venereum is another type of STD that is common in the developing world and is caused by a different strain of Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria.

What causes chlamydia?

Chlamydia is an infection with Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria. When an infection is present, the bacteria can be present in the cervix, urethra, vagina, and rectum of an infected person. It can also live in the throat. Any type of sexual contact with an infected person can spread the infection.

Young people who are sexually active are at high risk for chlamydia. Estimates suggest that 1 out of every 15 sexually active teen women aged 14 to 19 is infected. Infection with chlamydia is also common among men who have sex with men. Overall, an estimated 2.86 million infections occur every year in the U.S.

An infected mother can also spread the infection to her baby at the time of birth as the baby passes through the vaginal canal. The most common complications of chlamydia acquired through the birth canal are eye damage and pneumonia in the newborn.

Even after a person has been treated for chlamydia, it is possible to get the infection again. With chlamydia, repeat infection is common.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/17/2013

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Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/chlamydia_in_women_overview/article.htm

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