Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection that usually starts out with no symptoms at all, but it is very destructive in the long term, especially to women's reproductive systems. "Chlamydia is one of the most common causes of pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility," says H. Hunter Handsfield, MD, a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle and a nationally recognized STD expert. "All of those human interest stories about in vitro fertilization to get around blocked fallopian tubes? It's a high-tech, extremely expensive way to deal with a past STD."
Here are three things to remember about chlamydia.
1. Get tested
Chlamydia can be diagnosed through a swab of the penis or cervix or one of the newly available urine tests.Young, sexually active women should be tested once a year at leastbut you may need to ask.
2. It's easy to cure if you detect it early
When diagnosed before the infection becomes severe, chlamydia is especially easy to knock out with antibiotics.
3. Long-term damage can be serious
When it's not discovered early, chlamydia can ravage a woman's reproductive system.