Chlamydia ugh! After a few weeks of discomfort, you’ve finally got the lab results back. You’ve tested positive for chlamydia but what happens now?
Testing positive for chlamydia is no laughing matter, especially when you’re a mom. The good news is that this sexually transmitted infection is curable. Nonetheless, you’ll still need to seek treatment, take antibiotics to prevent spreading the bacteria to partners and your children and if you’re blindsided by this diagnosis, have a REAL conversation with your partner about your relationship.
Once you’ve been diagnosed with chlamydia, it’s best you lay off any sexual activity for a while to avoid infecting your partner or reinfecting yourself. This abstinence should last as long your medication, or until symptoms have completely cleared up.
The First 24 Hours
In the first 24 hours after a chlamydia diagnosis, you may experience a wide range of emotions. From anger, anxiety and guilt, to relief and apathy. This can be an especially frustrating time if you’ve got little ones at home.
Just take a deep breath, and remember that these heightened emotions are normal when dealing with an STD. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, one in two Americans will contract an STD/STI in their lifetime.
How long does treatment take?
There is no definite treatment schedule, as the period can span anywhere from a few days to more than a week. In the best case scenario, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics, usually azithromycin (Zithromax) or doxycycline. They may also recommend your partner(s) get tested & treated to prevent reinfection. After treatment, the infection takes about a week or two to disappear completely. Even though chlamydia is spread through sexual contact, try to keep your toilet seats, doorknobs, faucets, and other fixtures clean during treatment so that your children aren’t exposed to the bacteria.
Side effects from chlamydia & treatment antibiotics
For a number of people chlamydia can occur without any visible symptoms whatsoever. Apart from seemingly ordinary discomfort, the infection may take time to announce itself. The sooner you are treated, the better. However, side effects can persist after a round of medication.
In rare cases, you may experience side effects such as:
- Urination accompanied by a burning sensation
- Abnormal genital discharge
- Fever and/or nausea
There are few long term complications that chlamydia may cause proving detrimental to fertility such as tubal or ectopic pregnancy (where the fetus attaches to the walls of the fallopian tube rather than the cervix). In such cases, a pregnancy may have to be terminated to save the mother’s life. At this stage, the STD begins to impact the emotional and mental health of your family, so it’s important to get tested and treated early to avoid complications.
Chlamydia and Pregnancy
Like many other sexually transmitted infections, chlamydia can be passed on from mother to child through the exchange of body fluids during childbirth.
Consequently, an active chlamydia infection in the mother at birth can cause the newborn to experience complications such as pneumonia or eye infections. Pregnant women infected with chlamydia have an increased risk of their waters breaking prematurely, causing the baby to be born premature.
However, chlamydia can be treated pretty quickly. Pregnant mothers can rest easy if their due date is several weeks or months away.
Can you contract chlamydia again?
Normally when you get over an illness, your body develops an immunity to ensure you won’t contract the same virus in the future. However, chlamydia is a rapidly evolving bacteria which can reinfect you, almost immediately after treatment.
Chlamydia is the most frequently reported sexually transmitted disease in the United States with stats showing close to 3 million new cases each year. It’s a legal requirement for testing centers to alert authorities if you test positive during a screening.
Thus, it’s advisable to practice safe sex, and always use protection. It is common to contract this STD more than once if you are sexually active.
A Word of Advice
STDs pose health risks if left untreated, you have an obligation to tell your partner about your diagnosis – even if you’re taking antibiotics. It’s recommended you urge your partner to go in for screening themselves. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, as chlamydia is a common and curable STI. If you are not in a long term monogamous relationship it is advised to always use a condom when being sexually active. If you need a quick 101 on how to use a condom check out this video we made for you.