Screening for Chlamydia and other sexually transmitted diseases should be done after every new partner is found in order to reduce a woman’s chances of developing pelvic inflammatory disease, researchers indicate.
A recent study of 2500 students was undertaken in which the screening was done at the beginning of the study and a year later. Thos who were found to have Chlamydia reduced the risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease by 80 percent. Pelvic inflammatory disease or PID is a common cause of infertility in young women who have no obvious symptoms for pelvic inflammatory disease.
Because there are no symptoms, researchers indicate that the woman should be tested after she has begun having sex with a new sexual partner. Another option would be to test the men for Chlamydia, although men tend to have more symptoms and seek medical attention when they get Chlamydia. Either way, the partnering of two new people is a good time for Chlamydia testing.
In the research study, out of St. George’s in the University of London, concluded that many cases of Chlamydia and PID occurred in women who did not have the disease the year before when they were initially screened for the disease. The findings were published in the British Medical Journal and suggested that many women were infected during the twelve month period from initial testing to follow up testing. The having of a new sex partner was a risk factor for showing up with the new case of the disease.
Cases of Chlamydia are steadily rising and result in inflammation of the Fallopian tubes that, in turn, results in closing off and scarring of the Fallopian tubes and eventual sterility due to inability of the egg to pass through the Fallopian tube.
Testing is recommended for all women between the ages of 16 and 27 and testing can be done on women who are in high school, college or during a routine Pap test. In the study, all women were screened for infertility with a hysterosalpingogram, which tests the patency of the tubes. If the tubes were patent, it was assumed that no PID existed.
Most cases of pelvic inflammatory disease were found in women who tested negative for the organism at the time of initial testing. The crucial message, researchers say, is that each new sexual partner means the woman needs to be retested for Chlamydia and PID so as to avoid infertility and increased risk for ectopic pregnancy. The study indicated that testing for Chlamydia needs to be more accessible those at highest risk and that kits need to be given out to those in high risk populations.