How Can Taking An At-Home Chlamydia Test Affect Your Pregnancy?


Taking an at-home chlamydia test if you are trying to conceive can only affect your pregnancy in a positive way by either ruling the infection out, offering peace of mind, or equipping you with the relevant information in ensuring that you have a happy and healthy pregnancy.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you get tested for chlamydia during your first prenatal examination. The disease puts you at a higher risk of experiencing pre-mature birth, still-birth or miscarriage.

There is also an increased risk that your baby will be born at a low weight, suffer from conjunctivitis or pneumonia.

This week, LetsGetChecked tells you everything you need to know about chlamydia, at home chlamydia testing and how chlamydia affects your fertility. LetsGetChecked is joined by Michelle Ali who speaks of her experience with chlamydia while pregnant.


Contents


What Should I Know About Chlamydia Before Taking An At Home Chlamydia Test?


  • HPV is the most prevalent sexually transmitted disease worldwide, however, chlamydia is the most commonly reported sexually transmitted disease.
  • Chlamydia can be passed on by oral, anal and penetrative sex, as well as intimate skin to skin contact.
  • The risk of contracting chlamydia increases with the number of sexual partners one may have.
  • Chlamydia can infect the mouth, throat, vagina, penis and anus.
  • Rates of chlamydia have increased by 98% between 2000 and 2016 in the U.S.
  • For straight men, chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease.
  • Women who become infected with chlamydia are five times more likely to contract H.I.V if they are exposed to the infection.
  • Chlamydia can be easily treated with antibiotics.

Watch this short video with Dr. Dominic Rowley to find out everything you need to know about chlamydia:


How Do At Home Chlamydia Tests Work?


Chlamydia infections may be tested through analyzing a urine sample or by a swab analysis taken from the vagina, penis, anus, mouth or throat.

In urine tests, the presence of chlamydia trachomatis bacteria is analysed in your sample. If you receive a negative result, it means that the chlamydia causing bacteria was not found in your urine. If you receive a positive result, it means that chlamydia bacteria is present in your urine and you have contracted the infection.

Swab tests may also be used in men and women. In females, the swab is used to scrape discharge from the cervix. It is then tested in a culture or undergoes antigen testing which indicates the presence of a chlamydia infection. For men, a urine sample is all that is necessary to detect chlamydia. In instances where patients are worried about symptoms that are attached to anal chlamydia, the swab test may also be used to test the anus.

Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease with 4-8 million new cases in the United States each year. An At-Home Chlamydia Test does exactly what it says on the tin. With the advance of medical technology, you can now test yourself for a range of sexually transmitted diseases from the comfort of home. The LetsGetChecked STD tests cover a range of infections including bacterial conditions that other home test providers do not, including trichomoniasis, gardnerella and mycoplasma.


How Can Taking An At-Home Chlamydia Test Affect Your Fertility?


According to the American Sexual Health Association , undiagnosed sexually transmitted diseases are the cause of infertility in 24,000 women each year in the U.S.

One of the biggest risks associated with chlamydia is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), PID affects all aspects of the female reproductive system including the womb, ovaries and fallopian tubes. Inflammation of reproductive tissues may lead to scarring, blocking the release of the egg and hindering a woman’s ability to ovulate. PID may also lead to an infection in the fallopian tube which inhibits ovulation.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease may cause ectopic pregnancies, chronic pelvic pain and premature birth. Untreated chlamydia may cause waters to break early and low birth rate in newborn babies.

Pregnant women who are diagnosed with chlamydia are given antibiotics to clear the disease, this treatment is safe to take when you are pregnant and will greatly reduce pregnancy risks.

It is recommended that all women take another test three months following their diagnosis to ensure that the disease has not recurred.

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(Source: American Sexual Health Association)


Chlamydia & Pregnancy: Michelle's Story


LetsGetChecked is joined by Michelle Annesa Ali. Michelle tells LetsGetChecked of her experience with chlamydia, the diagnosis of which she received two months into her current pregnancy.

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When did you find out that you had chlamydia?

Last March, I was two months pregnant. I was really sick with hyperemesis. I was throwing up non-stop and this really scared me because I didn’t have these issues with my first pregnancy. During my first pregnancy with my son I was in University and I was working. I was fine physically. I couldn’t understand why all of a sudden I was so so sick.

Chlamydia can increase your chances of a miscarriage, low birth rate and pelvic inflammatory disease. I was worried. I was so sick for the first two months and couldn’t get to the doctor. My partner and I tried a public clinic. My partner went there 3 times and he couldn’t get seen, each time they would reach their daily capacity. I had to find a private clinic because I was pregnant but even when I went there, it was a huge headache with how sick I was and needing to return to the clinic to get my results and childcare.

What was the first thing that went through your mind on finding out that you had chlamydia?
Those who have been cheated on are the victims here, I didn't know he would behave this way, I am not to blame for my diagnosis.

I wasn’t surprised. I was very aware of my partner and what he had done.

What was your perception around sexually transmitted diseases before you received your diagnosis?
The body can heal, there are things we can do, without affecting our fertility in a negative way. For me it wasn’t anything to be embarrassed about.

What was your perception around your partner following your diagnosis?
There is another stigma of being cheated on but there shouldn’t be.

My partner was totally apologetic and embarrassed. He was disgusted with himself. I wanted to raise awareness around the condition - and I decided to do so with my family and his family.

What was your reaction to the chlamydia treatment Zithromax?
I had diarrhea and constant vomiting. I was so sick and because I couldn’t keep it down for 24 hours, I couldn’t be sure if it was going to work. I didn’t know I was allergic to anything before then. We then had to go back to the doctor to make sure my pregnancy was still healthy and safe.

Why do you think there is a stigma connected to sexually transmitted diseases?
I think there is a stigma attached to STDs because there is an idea that if you have an STD you promiscuous or dirty.

It’s the same as young pregnancies, that was a stigma as well, people assume you might be promiscuous, which is not the case.

What do you think can be done to break down the stigma around sexually transmitted diseases?
Just like anything else, don’t deal with it quietly. There is life after chlamydia and a life after an STD, there is nothing to shy away from, you can heal, you can fix it and you can ensure that your friends and family don’t have an STD. Chlamydia can affect your fertility for years and years, even if you don’t think you have it, you need to get checked. It’s easier to get an STD than it is to get pregnant.

Why did you take the Standard 5 Test with LetsGetChecked?
Following the first diagnosis, I was told I would need to wait another 6 months before getting tested. I wanted to check for Hep B and I wanted to check for chlamydia following advice from a nurse.

I wanted to ensure the health of the staff who would be dealing with my placenta as I decided I wanted to have a placenta encapsulation.

How does the LetsGetChecked process compare to the traditional method of going to your doctor?
LetsGetChecked saves so much time, effort and hassle, even when it comes down to things like parking and childcare, when my partner was having trouble getting seen to, I actually opted for a test that you can get online, with immediate results following taking the test, and they said I was clear, I should have known.

LetsGetChecked gives you the best of both worlds by letting you take a clinical test and receive support from home. If you’re taking a sexual health test, you need to get it professionally seen to and sent to a lab. I did make appointments at the doctors but it took two months before I could actually go.

I was also surprised that you could provide a urine sample. I didn’t know you could get tested for chlamydia that way.

What advice would you give to someone who has just found out they have chlamydia?

“Health is health. Bodies are bodies. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about.”

People need to be aware of what they are going through and what they are about to go through if they want to get through it. People keep things quiet and don’t want to talk about their body, especially around sexual health. Sex sells, sex is everywhere so why don’t we talk about both sides of it? We never talk about our bodies and the physical aspect of sex. People will spend money on certain aspects of their life but not their health and it baffles me. It needs to change.


Should You Take An At Home Chlamydia Test?


The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you get tested for chlamydia if you are a sexually active and aged 25 or younger. Those aged between 15-24 are at the highest risk of contracting chlamydia. 50% of young adults will contract an STD before the age of 25.

Each time, you embark on a sexual relationship with someone new, it is important to get tested.

Most people have more than one sexual partner, however if you do you are at a higher risk of catching chlamydia, and other sexually transmitted diseases if you are having sex with more than one person on an ongoing basis. Always wear a condom regardless of your situation to ensure that you are at a lower risk catching an STD.

Finally, it is recommended that you are tested for chlamydia if you are pregnant, during your first prenatal examination, and again later in your pregnancy to ensure that you have a healthy pregnancy.

LetsGetChecked offer an at-home chlamydia test to analyze your urine for the presence of chlamydia from the comfort of your home, with online results available in 5 days.


Written by Hannah Kingston | Approved by Medical Director Dr. Dominic Rowley