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Forum Name: Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Question: Chlamydia diagnoses - timings and implications?


 too confused - Sun Mar 29, 2009 3:45 pm

I have been having post coital bleeding, painful intercourse, and increased discharge since the summer of 2007. I went for pap smears and internal exams, and the doctors all said I had cervical erosion which was causing the symptoms, and that I should get cauterization done to cure it. However, a friend who is a GP said that my symptoms sound like chlamydia, and that I should get tested. I was an 18 year old virgin when I got married, and my husband was 27. He had dated people. but he told me he was also a virgin for religious reasons.

So you can imagine my surprise when the test came back positive. IF we only ever slept with each other, where did it come from?

After two days of arguing, he finally admitted that he had slept with a few girlfriends before marriage, this would have been over 8 years ago. So he says that he has had it since then, and thus I must have gotten it around the same time. I am skeptical because I had two pregnancies and it never came up (although apparently that's not a routine test - I had my pregnancies in Pakistan, where they do not screen for it), plus, the symptoms distinctly showed up in 2007.

We were - not seperated - but having a rough patch in May 2007, during which he was in London for a month, and repeatedly told me things were over. I asked him what happened at that time, and he admits that he was seeing someone, but said that he realized he couldn't have a physical relationship while married, and told her he was coming back to me to either get back together or finish things.

We are going to counselling and he is swearing that the physical relationships he had were before we married.

Is it possible that we have had chlamydia for all that time, and the symptoms only showed up later, after 7 years, in me? Or am I right in thinking he had an affair in May of 2007, which is why I had the symptoms in the summer of 2007?

I want very much to beleive that it is from before marriage, but I don't want to be stupid also. Does anyone know of reliable sources that say that yes, you can be asymptomatic for years and then the symptoms crop up after 7 years? Or is there absolute proof that it is only possible that I got it in 2007?

The answer has serious implicaitons for our marrige - ie did he cheat or is it from before - and I would like to know what the medical evidence points towards.
 Debbie Miller, RN - Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:54 pm

User avatar Hello,
The problem is that women do not always have symptoms. This would mean it is possible for you to have had it for a while and since you have not been tested, you would have no way of knowing. Up to 85% of women and 40% of men may be undiagnosed because they do not have symptoms. Given the scenario you describe, we would have to assume you were both asymptomatic for quite a while, even if the infection occurred in 2007. But, untreated infection can attack other pelvic organs such as fallopian tubes and cervix. Since you do have cervical problems, it could have been that the infection was actually present for a while.

To complicate things, false positive testing is also a possibility, if only slight. Assigning blame can be difficult so I'm afraid I can't help you much on this one. Since this is complicated, I will refer this to other team members as well in case someone else has more information.

Good luck in dealing with your relationship. These events complicate life and erode at trust but can be overcome if you both have the desire and are willing to commit to working it out.

Best wishes.
 too confused - Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:26 pm

Thanks for your reply, but I am afraid it didn't really clear things up.

I have been told by my gynaecologist, that EITHER you are symptomatic, or you are not. Thus, had I gotten it when first married, we both would have symptoms from that point (ie 8 years ago) - or would not have developed them at all, and it would probably have been discovered due to infertility problems.

If we were symptomatic, we/I would get the symptoms within about a month of contracting the disease - they would not be dormant for the first 7 years, and then start appearing after 7 years of being asymptomatic. As my symptoms started in the summer of 2007, that would point to having contracted it at that time.

I would be interested to hear what your colleagues think about her diagnosis?

Thanks a lot for your time,
Too Confused
 Haseena Hamdani - Fri Apr 03, 2009 3:45 pm

Chlamydia is known as a "silent" disease because about three quarters of infected women and about half of infected men have no symptoms, it can cause silent damage to the genital organs in both sexes. If symptoms do occur, they usually appear within 1 to 3 weeks after exposure.
Though it may remain undiagnosed, but easily treated by a dose of antibiotics(preferably Azithromycin or Doxycycline to both partners). After treatment and abstinence for a duration of 1 month, we may retest to confirm complete cure. After cure it comes again, it is reinfection.
Chlamydia causes more damage in those women who had intercourse at young age, below 25 years of age.
My advice is to get complete treatment , and take preventive measures for reinfection. Be proactive. You must go for marriage counseling, and try your best to save it, but only if your husband is also willing to do that.
 Dan Abshear - Sun Apr 19, 2009 11:37 am

TC,

I'm sorry to hear about your chronic pain on many levels regarding these issues.

First tests can be false positives, so you may want to re-test for Chlamydia. Normally, with women, this disease does not present itself until the infection has spread thoughout various parts of your reproductive system. This is called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Since it appears that you have had symptoms for some time now, you may want to see your OB/GYN to determine if PID has occured.

Another possibility is that you have what is called vaginitis, which is common with women, and is not a sexually transmitted disease. The symptoms with both vaginitis and chlamydia are often similiar, and caused by a bacterial infection that can be cured with the right antibiotics prescribed for you to take.

Your OB/GYN doctor may be worth seeing again to diagnose you more accurately. Both diseases involve often different bacteria. So if your doctor does a culture from fluid in the area of concern, this will identify the bacteria causing the infection. Afterwards, an antibiotic can be better selected to rid you of what likely is an infection.

Good luck,

Dan

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