The pathophysiology of chlamydia comes with many questions, and in this article, it will be made clear.
Chlamydia is a venereal disease caused by a gram-negative bacterial pathogen called chlamydia trachomatis.
This pathogen belongs to the genus chlamydophila that replicates within eukaryotic cells.
It is the most common bacterial venereal disease in the US and the world at large.
Introduction to the pathophysiology of chlamydia
Chlamydia trachomatis affects mostly young women, but it can occur in both men and women and in all age groups. It’s not difficult to treat, but if left untreated it can lead to more serious health complications like pelvic inflammatory disease, urethritis, epididymitis, and others.
primarily, this infection spreads from infected individuals to their sexual partners via unprotected vaginal, oral, or anal sexual intercourse.
Sharing unwashed sex toys or those that are not covered with a new condom may also lead to the spread of the infection.
This infection can also spread when one comes in contact with the sexual bodily fluid of an infected person for instance If the eyes come into contact with infected fluids, an eye infection called trachoma may develop, which is the leading cause of blindness in the world.
An infected mother can transmit this infection during birth when the baby passes through the vaginal canal a mode called vertical transmission.
Pathophysiology of chlamydia
In the pathophysiology of Chlamydia, the pathogen chlamydia trachomatis is unique among bacteria, having an infectious cycle and two developmental forms.
These include the infectious form called the elementary body (EB) and the reticulate body (RB). The EB is metabolically inactive and is taken up by host cells. Within the host cell, the EB will differentiate into the metabolically active RB.
The reticulate body will then use host energy sources and amino acids to replicate and form a new elementary body, which can then infect additional cells.
Chlamydia trachomatis targets the squamocolumnar epithelial cells of the endocervix and upper genital tract in women, and the conjunctiva, urethra, and rectum in both men and women.
Prevention of chlamydia
In the pathophysiology of chlamydia, the below are the preventive measures to take:
The surest way to prevent chlamydia infection is to abstain from sexual activities.
Use a male latex condom or a female polyurethane condom during each sexual contact. Condoms used properly during every sexual encounter reduce but don’t eliminate the risk of infection.
Limit your number of sex partners-
Having multiple sex partners puts you at a high risk of contracting chlamydia and other sexually transmitted infections.
Get regular screenings-
If you’re sexually active, particularly if you have multiple partners, talk with your doctor about how often you should be screened for chlamydia and other sexually transmitted infections.
Douching decreases the number of good bacteria in the vagina, which can increase the risk of infection.
Diagnoses of chlamydia
Chlamydia can be detected through culture tests or nonculture tests.
The main nonculture tests include fluorescent monoclonal antibody tests, enzyme immunoassays, DNA probes, rapid Chlamydia tests, and leukocyte esterase tests.
whereas the culture tests include
A urine test-
A sample of your urine is analyzed in the laboratory for the presence of this infection. The rapid Chlamydia tests use antibodies against the MOMP, the leukocyte esterase tests detect enzymes produced by leukocytes containing the bacteria in the urine.
For women, your doctor takes a swab of the discharge from your cervix for culture or antigen testing for chlamydia.
This can be done during a routine Pap test. Some women prefer to swab their vaginas themselves, which has been shown to be as diagnostic as doctor-obtained swabs.
For men, your doctor inserts a slim swab into the end of your penis to get a sample from the urethra. In some cases, your doctor will swab the anus.
If you’ve been treated for initial chlamydia infection, you should be retested in about three months.
Symptoms of chlamydia
The early stage of this infection is usually asymptomatic although when signs and symptoms occur, they’re often mild, making them easy to be neglected.
like other venereal diseases like gonorrhea, Signs, and symptoms of Chlamydia trachomatis infection can include:
- Painful sexual intercourse in women
- Painful urination
- Vaginal discharge in women
- Bleeding between periods and after sex in women
- Testicular pain in men
- Discharge from the penis in men
Treatment of chlamydia
Chlamydia trachomatis is treated with antibiotics. You might receive a one-time dose, or you might need to take the medication daily or multiple times a day for 5 to 10 days.
The antibiotic for the treatment of uncomplicated urogenital chlamydia infection is azithromycin.
Doxycycline is an alternative, but azithromycin is preferred as it is a single-dose therapy. Other alternatives include erythromycin, levofloxacin, and ofloxacin.
In most cases, the infection resolves within one to two weeks. During that time, you should abstain from sex.
Patients should have partners identified and tested. They should also be counseled on high-risk behaviors, avoid sexual activity for one week after initiating therapy, and should consider testing for HIV.
Verification of cure should occur three weeks after treatment completion, and retesting should be performed three months after treatment.