In the sexually active population, infections with the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis are relatively common; Up to ten percent of the total population is infected. In Germany alone, about 80, 000 infertility cases are attributable to the extremely versatile bacteria. In addition, the species Chlamydia pneumoniae was discussed as a hot candidate for the infectious triggers of angina and heart attack.
Chlamydia bacteria: smallest organisms
The Chlamydia bacteria are among the smallest organisms that are described on Earth. Their genotype is so limited that these bacteria rely on the metabolism of host cells for survival. Chlamydiae can not be bred on artificial nutrient media for this reason, as is the case with most other bacteria; this fact makes diagnosis of chlamydia infections difficult.
Development of Chlamydia infections
During sexual intercourse, the Chlamydia enter the human organism via the mucous membranes of the genital tract. They multiply in the host cells and are thus difficult to reach for the immune system, but also for antibiotics.
In the infectious phase, however, these bacteria can be fought very successfully. After a day or two you may experience mild discomfort such as urinary tract infections. However, the Chlamydia infections in approximately 75 percent of infected women and in about 50 percent of all infected men are completely without symptoms or nonspecific mild symptoms.
Consequences of a Chlamydia infection
An unrecognized and therefore untreated Chlamyda infection can lead to severe abdominal disorders in young women. There is a risk of infertility due to the gluing of the fallopian tubes. So-called ectopic pregnancies can be the result; The fertilized egg outside the uterus nestles, for example, in the fallopian tube or in the abdominal cavity.
Chlamydia infection in pregnant women
Pregnant women suffering from Chlamydia infection have more frequent abortions or premature rupture of the amniotic sac. In premature rupture of the bladder there is a risk that the unborn child is still infected in the womb with the Chlamydia bacteria. But also infections of the eyes of the unborn child can occur during the birth process, when the child comes into contact with the infected mucous membranes of the mother. In rare cases, pneumonia of the newborn may occur.
Diagnosis and treatment of chlamydial infections
Today, modern molecular biology methods are used to detect the genome of the pathogen in smears of the urethra, cervix or urine. These procedures are very fast and extremely sensitive. For therapy, antibiotics from the class of tetracycline are usually administered over a period of one week to ten days. In pregnant women, however, erythromycin is used because tetracyclines can damage the unborn child and therefore are not approved for therapy during pregnancy.
However, it is crucial that both / all sexual partners are examined and treated at the same time to be able to rule out the mutual new infections - the so-called ping-pong effect. The antibiotic treatments are very efficient; Consequential damage can therefore usually be ruled out.
Protection against chlamydia
If you change your sexual partner frequently, practice safer sex and use condoms. Of course, the condoms protect you from the far more dangerous HIV infections and other sexually transmitted diseases. If in doubt, please consult your doctor. Please bear in mind that your partner must also be examined and, if necessary, treated.