Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) that has been on a steady rise since first reported in 1984 (1). According to CDC, in 2019, there were 1.8 million cases of chlamydia reported in the U.S, a 19% rise as compared to 2015 (2).
As it doesn’t have any distinct symptoms and often goes unnoticed, you might be concerned about how to get rid of chlamydia effectively. Further in this article, let’s understand the cause, symptoms, risks, and remedies for chlamydia, and what preventive measures you can take to help you deal with it better.
What Causes Chlamydia
Chlamydia is caused by a type of bacteria known as chlamydia trachomatis. This bacteria is usually found in soft and moist parts of the body such as your genitals, anus, eyes, and throat (3). Chlamydia can be transmitted through any sort of sexual activity with an infected person and women with chlamydia might pass it on to their newborns during childbirth (4). Although the disease is easily curable, it has no particular symptoms and hence tends to go undiagnosed leading to further complications thereafter.
Home Remedies For Chlamydia
Certain home remedies with antibacterial properties might be useful while dealing with the initial stages of the infection. If you doubt something is off, you can start with the below home remedies to get rid of chlamydia while you wait to consult your doctor.
Garlic contains active compounds such as allicin which is known to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects (5). Garlic when crushed or chopped and left for 10 minutes lets the enzymes form the antibacterial allicin. Garlic also has proven antifungal properties and has been shown to be effective against yeast infection that might be beneficial during antibiotic treatment for chlamydia as antibiotics increase the risk of yeast infections.
Echinacea is a flowering plant best known to be used as a natural remedy for snake bites, cold, cough, flu, pain, and intestinal upset (6). Echinacea has also been found to be effective against STDs, a natural cure for chlamydia and gonorrhea symptoms (7). Echinacea extract has been shown to boost immunity and help fight certain bacterial and viral infections. While it might help you calm certain symptoms of chlamydia, it is best done in conjunction with antibiotics.
Goldenseal is a known natural antibiotic that is used as an immune system stimulant. Goldenseal is rich in a plant alkaloid called berberine, which is known for its antimicrobial properties against bacteria (including chlamydia) and viruses (8) (9). Goldenseal pills or extracts can thus help relieve the symptoms of chlamydia.
Turmeric with its natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties has been shown to provide numerous health benefits. Curcumin, a plant chemical in turmeric, has many therapeutic properties (10). Studies have found that a topical ointment containing curcumin along with a few other plant compounds has inhibitory effects on chlamydia in lab tests (11). Hence, it can be used safely to relieve initial symptoms at home.
Your diet plays a vital role in building your immunity. A diet rich in probiotics, herbs, fruits, and vegetables helps build a strong immune system that keeps infections at bay (12). Also, what you eat before, after, and while taking antibiotics helps restore the healthy gut bacteria, and limit the side effects. Consuming probiotic-rich foods and drinks like kefir, kombucha, etc along with the other natural treatments for chlamydia would help relieve the symptoms faster (13).
While the natural ways to get rid of chlamydia might provide initial relief, you must get yourself checked by a doctor to avoid further complications. Antibiotics are usually the most effective line of treatment in curing chlamydia completely.
Chlamydia is easily curable and can be effectively treated with antibiotics based on the age of the person and type of infection. Below are a few of the antibiotics commonly prescribed for chlamydia treatment (14).
- Azithromycin 1 g
- Doxycycline 100 mg
- Erythromycin base 500 mg
- Erythromycin ethyl succinate 800 mg
- Levofloxacin 500 mg
- Ofloxacin 300 mg
You might be prescribed different antibiotics, if you have certain allergies or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. The course of antibiotics depends on the stage and progression of the infection as well. Since recurrence of chlamydia infection is common, it is advisable to get yourself and your partner retested again after 3 months of the treatment.
Chlamydia can affect anyone who is sexually active and can pass on from an infected person to their partner or from mothers to newborn infants during childbirth. Chlamydia as such doesn’t have any noticeable symptoms and hence might go undiagnosed for long. Therefore, it becomes important to be observant of any concerning changes wrt your private parts, discharge, or urine to have it diagnosed and treated at the earliest.
You might start to see these changes as the infection goes untreated or because of any other complications arising thereof. It’s therefore advisable to get a medical checkup done as soon as you notice any of the following:
- Pain or burning during urination
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Bleeding after intercourse
- Lower abdominal or back pain
- Intermenstrual spotting or bleeding (bleeding between periods)
- Abnormal vaginal discharge with a foul odor
- Fever and nausea
- Abnormal penile discharge such as pus or watery/milky fluid
- Swollen/sensitive testicles
- Pain in or around the anus
- Anal discharge or bleeding
- Redness, itching, or discharge from the eyes (if the eyes are infected) (15)
- Sore red throat (when the throat is infected)
You might have no symptoms with chlamydia or develop symptoms several weeks after contracting the infection. Getting yourself tested for STDs regularly is therefore of utmost importance in diagnosing chlamydia early on. If left untreated for a longer period, it may lead to other potentially serious complications over time.
Chlamydia Risk Factors
Since chlamydia has no specific symptoms, it often goes unnoticed and might lead to further complications (16). When left undiagnosed and untreated for a long time, it might lead to the following potentially serious conditions:
- Cervicitis: Painful inflammation of the cervix resulting in abdominal pain, vaginal discharge, and bleeding.
- Urethritis: Inflammation of the urethra that can be painful and cause abnormal discharge, pain during urination or intercourse, and occasionally blood in seen or urine.
- Salpingitis Inflammation of the fallopian tubes that might lead to infertility.
- Proctitis: Inflammation of the lining of the anus or rectum.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): Infection in the reproductive organs of women.
- Tubal Factor Infertility: PID or endometriosis can often lead to tubal factor infertility that is caused due to fallopian tube obstruction. Surgery or IVF treatments might be required to get conceive thereof.
- Ectopic Pregnancy: A fatal pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus, mostly in the fallopian tubes.
In addition to the above, maternal chlamydia can be passed on to newborns and might increase the chances of preterm birth, stillbirth, low birth weight, nasal infection, conjunctivitis, or pneumonia. Screening of pregnant women for chlamydia and other STDs is therefore very important.
The only way to prevent chlamydia for sure is to refrain from any kind of sexual activity. Though that might not be possible for most people, there are certain precautions that might help reduce the chances of contracting chlamydia.
- Using condoms and dental dams correctly while engaging in any kind of sexual activity.
- Preferring a mutually monogamous relationship.
- Getting yourself and your partner tested for any STDs at least once a year.
- Maintaining basic hygiene.
- Building immunity with a healthy balanced diet.
If you are being treated for chlamydia, you should wait for 2-3 weeks before resuming any sort of sexual activity. You should also get your partner checked and treated for the same even if there are no symptoms, as the infection tends to go back and forth. You should get yourself checked again in 3-4 months to make sure the infection has cleared up completely.
Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease caused by bacteria that can be easily transmitted from one person to another through any sort of sexual activity. It usually has no distinct symptoms and often goes unnoticed resulting in a delay in treatment. If you are wondering how to get rid of chlamydia at home, then try out the few chlamydia treatment home remedies listed above as soon as you feel something is off. But since prolonged infection can lead to certain complications thereafter, it’s always better to get a medical checkup done and get rid of chlamydia completely through a course of antibiotics as prescribed by the doctor.
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- Chlamydia – CDC Fact Sheet (Detailed)
- Reported STDs In The U.S. Reach All-time High For 6th Consecutive Year
- Chlamydia Trachomatis Infections: Screening, Diagnosis, And Management
- Chlamydia Trachomatis Urogenital Infections In Women. Best Diagnostic Approaches
- Allicin: Chemistry And Biological Properties
- Use Of Echinacea In Medicine
- Applications Of The Phytomedicine Echinacea Purpurea (Purple Coneflower) In Infectious Diseases
- Berberine And Its Pharmacology Potential: A Review
- Natural Products For The Treatment Of Trachoma And Chlamydia trachomatis
- Curcumin: A Review Of Its’ Effects On Human Health
- Potential Of A Novel Polyherbal Formulation Basant For Prevention Of Chlamydia Trachomatis Infection
- Health Benefits Of Probiotics: A Review
- Milk Kefir: Composition, Microbial Cultures, Biological Activities, And Related Products
- Chlamydia – Medical Microbiology
- Chlamydia Trachomatis Infections: Progress And Problems