Can Chlamydia Be Dormant? Reason We Call It Silent Disease

Posted: 2 years ago

Meta Description: Chlamydia is not only common it is also silent. It can lie dormant for years and then resurface. This makes detecting this disease and curing it difficult. 

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 Chlamydia is renowned for its capability to resurface after a period as long as 17 - 18 years. Can Chlamydia be dormant? Of course, but since chlamydia can be asymptomatic, it is difficult to find the exact number of cases. In the United States, there were 1,441,771 cases reported in the year 2014. However, it is estimated that the figure is more likely to be 2.87 million.

People who are more susceptible

This silent disease is more prevalent among young couples. Any sexually active person can become infected. There is more chance of this infection in people who indulge in an insertive coupling. If they have anal, vaginal or oral sex, they are likely candidates for an infection especially if one of the partners has any form of STD. If during urination you have any peculiar sensations like tingling or burning you should have a check-up. Same if you develop unusual sores. 

Bacterium responsible for infection

Chlamydia trachomatis is responsible for the infection. Urethritis, proctitis, and cervicitis are seen in women while only the first two diseases manifest in males. This bacterium can only exist in the cervix, the fallopian tube, the cornea of your eye, or the urethra. However, if you touch this with your hand or your buttocks, you will not become infected. Only when the specific conditions for its existence are fulfilled, it will infect you. The conditions in a swimming pool are not conducive since the amount of water is too large. In addition, there would be chlorine in the water that acts as a deterrent.   

Allied infection to Chlamydia

Of late in the developing world, a new kind of disease is emerging. Proctitis occurs mostly among males who have sex with males. The bacterium lymphogranuloma venereum is related to the one responsible for Chlamydia infection.  

Manifestations of the ailment

This sexually transmitted disease leads to more severe complications like chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease and tubal factor infertility. However, most people with the disease fail to show any physical signs of the ailment. This is why incubation period for Chlamydia is not defined with any degree of accuracy. Can Chlamydia be dormant? Yes, most certainly.  For those women who are affected and show signs, a whitish discharge will occur. This is while the infection is in the region of their cervix. Occasionally, this may be in the urethra. At the later stages, the disease will spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes. Now it is called pelvic inflammatory disease and even now there might not be any outward manifestations.  Those who have acute form of the disease will experience the following symptoms:Pain in the abdomen/pelvic region -- for womenTenderness of either or both uterus or cervix -- for womenWatery urethral discharge -- for menTesticular pain and swelling (in a few cases) -- for menOne of the complications arising from chlamydia in men and women is reactive arthritis. If this occurs when the woman is pregnant, then there is an increased chance for delivery that is preterm. The newborn might develop conjunctivitis or pneumonia.   

Diagnosis of this infection

Testing for Chlamydia is done either by self-examination or by a nurse in a clinic. Specimens are collected usually vaginal swabs or urine. Most common tests would comprise of these among others:
1. Cell culture
2. Nucleic acid amplification tests -- NAATs 

Treatment for the Silent Disease

Treatment consists of antibiotic course. This dose is given for a 7-day period. During this period, they have to abstain from sex. If symptoms reappear, then the person has to report to the clinic for re-evaluation. As already mentioned, the bacterium needs optimum conditions to spread. But there are chances of the person being asymptomatic. A flare up is possible after several years. Any severe illness that causes an alteration in the immune system of the person (cold, viral infection, cancer) could result in the flare up.