Last Updated December 20th, 2021
What are Chlamydia antibodies?
Anti-Chlamydia immunoglobulin or IgG antibodies are antibodies that can live in the human body for years and are an important marker for detecting Chlamydia trachomatis infection, the most common sexually transmitted bacterial infection in humans. Anti-Chlamydia antibodies are present in the body fluids and protect us from infections caused by the virus Chlamydia. The presence of Chlamydia antibodies indicates that there have been past infections and are important markers for diagnosing the disease.
What is Chlamydia Antibody testing or CAT?
Chlamydia Antibody Testing or CAT is often done as a part of fertility-workup on infertile females or to detect the Chlamydia infection in both male and female patients. The test can be done in the form of:
– A blood test where a blood sample is withdrawn.
– ELISA or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
– MIF or micro-immunofluorescence serology test for screening tubal pathology that results in infertility in women.
– Vaginal mucosal samples that can also prove past Chlamydia infections.
– Swab cultures.
– Urine samples.
What are the other names for Chlamydia testing?
The other names for Chlamydia testing are:
– Chlamydia trachomatis testing.
– NAAT or NAT or Chlamydia Nucleic Acid Amplification Test.
– Chlamydia culture.
– Chlamydia/GC STD Panel.
What is the importance of the Chlamydia Antibody Test?
Chlamydia trachomatis is a common STD or sexually transmitted disease that can be contracted during unprotected oral, vaginal, and anal sex. The disease can be asymptomatic and can remain dormant for years or have mild symptoms that are difficult to detect.
In the U.S, the disease has been recognized as one of the most common STDs and about 75% of women and 50% of men are infected every year. Women are found to be more prone to the disease. Individuals between the age of 15 to 25 are likely to be more infected by Chlamydia. If the disease remains untreated for years, it can cause serious complications in both men and women.
Complications due to Chlamydia in men include:
Impair sperm quality.
In women, Chlamydia can cause complications like:
Infection and inflammation of the cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.
Pelvic inflammatory disease or PID.
Scarring of the fallopian tubes and ovaries due to bacterial damage.
Acute pelvic pain.
Difficulty in attaining pregnancy.
If untreated, Chlamydia infection can reach the upper part of the reproductive system and affect the pelvic region, cervix, ovaries and even the fallopian tubes and can cause infertility, PID, and other diseases. Chlamydia increases the chances of getting HIV which can cause AIDS. Infected pregnant women can even pass on the infection to their unborn babies which can be fatal at times.
Untreated men can even become infertile. Early diagnosis of the disease can help regulate the symptoms and eradicate the disease before doing any serious damage to the patient.
How can I get infected by Chlamydia?
The Chlamydia infection spreads through sexual contacts like unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal sex. The infection can also spread to other parts of the body and can cause eye infection or conjunctivitis through touch or transfer of genital fluids. A person who was previously treated for Chlamydia is not completely immune and can get the disease again.
When do I get tested for Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is asymptomatic, and sometimes the symptoms and signs are so mild that it is difficult to detect the disease. Here are a few noticeable symptoms of Chlamydia.
Symptoms of Chlamydia in women include:
– Abnormal vaginal discharge.
– Odorous vaginal discharge.
– Pain or burning sensation while urinating.
– Bleeding that occurs between periods.
– Pain during periods.
– Pain while having sex.
– Irritation, itching, or a burning sensation in and around the vaginal area.
– Abdominal pain.
– Pain or bleeding from the rectum.
– Pain during urination.
Symptoms of Chlamydia in men include:
– Discharge from the tip of the penis.
– Discomfort while urinating.
– Pain or inflammation in and around the penis.
– Rectal bleeding or pain.
Who can get Chlamydia?
Young women are more susceptible to Chlamydia than men as the cervix is still developing and can easily contract the disease. It has been found that the disease is more common in sexually active young people within the age group of 14 to 24. People with multiple sexual partners or with a previous history of sexually transmitted infections are at risk of getting the chlamydia infection.
How is the Chlamydia Screening Test done?
Swab cultures and urine tests are the most recommended test methods for Chlamydia detection. The urine samples are recommended for both men and women. The first-catch urine that is the initial urine stream should be collected in a collection cup and sent to the laboratory for testing.
Swab cultures for women include:
– Vaginal swab.
– Rectal swab.
– Throat swab or pharyngeal swab for throat infection.
– Conjunctival swab for an eye infection.
For men, a swab can include:
– Rectal swab.
– Male urethral swab.
– Throat or pharyngeal swab.
– Conjunctival swab.
During vaginal or male urethral swabs, a small brush or swab is used to collect genital secretions during a pelvic examination. An individual can also collect his or her sample and send it to the laboratory for testing.
What preparations do I need before the test?
For urine samples:
– You may be asked not to urinate one or two hours before the urine sample is taken.
– Only first-catch urine should be taken. If you include more urine in the collection cup, this may dilute the urine sample.
For vaginal swabs:
– You may be asked to avoid using vaginal creams if you use any.
– Patients should not clean the labial area before giving the sample.
– If you are using any special antibiotics, drugs, or medicines, you must inform your medical practitioner before conducting the test.
How long does a Chlamydia test take to perform?
The test can take a few minutes to perform.
When will I get my test reports?
You will get your test reports within 2 to 3 days. Culture reports will take 5 to 7 days.
Is the Chlamydia blood test equally effective?
A Chlamydia blood test is done which shows the presence of the antibodies for the chlamydia trachomatis bacteria in your blood. However, the results are not conclusive. It may show false results. The test may come out false positive and can show the presence of antibodies which may be due to a past infection.
Blood tests may fail to give definitive results of whether the person had the infection during the time of the test or whether he had it in the past. So, blood tests for chlamydia are not so effective and may not give the correct prognosis for the infection.
What does my test result mean?
A positive test report means you have the infection and require immediate treatment. A negative test report indicates that you do not have the infection during the time of the test. Re-infection is very common mostly among teenagers. So, individuals with a previous history of chlamydia or who are at risk of the infection may undergo annual screening tests or routine checkups. If you are tested positive, your sexual partner may also have to undergo a routine chlamydia screening test to rule out any infection.
What is the treatment for Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics. Patients are advised to restrain from any sexual contact or activities. Recent sexual partners are also advised to get tested. After the completion of the antibiotic course of treatment, the patient should be retested after three months to see if there has been any new onset of the infection. In severe cases, patients can be hospitalized and intravenous antibiotics along with pain medication can be administered.
Can the test be taken during pregnancy?
Yes, any pregnant woman who is sexually active or is at risk of contracting the infection can take the test during pregnancy. Pregnant women are very susceptible to the infection especially if they have:
– Multiple sexual partners.
– A partner with the previous history of STDs.
– A new partner.
– Unprotected sex.
– Have a previous history of Chlamydia.
A pregnant woman can be asked to do a Chlamydia screening test along with prenatal screening test during the first trimester. This will ensure an early treatment before the disease is transmitted to the developing child. If untreated, the newborn child may develop inflammation of the eyes or pneumonia which can be life-threatening. A woman with a history of Chlamydia planning to get pregnant can also get tested for the infection.
Can a child have Chlamydia?
Newborns, children, and adolescents can get chlamydia. The infection is generally transmitted to newborns during childbirth and should be treated immediately. Parents can transmit the infection to their children through contact. Chlamydia can cause eye infections and pneumonia in babies which can be fatal. Symptoms of eye infection include:
– Eye discharge.
– Swelling of the eyes.
– Symptoms of pneumonia include:
– Difficulty in breathing.
– Excessive sleepiness.
Parents should contact their doctor immediately if any of the above symptoms arise. For eye infection, a clean washcloth should be used to keep the eyes clean and dry. Doctors will suggest an ointment, eye drops, or medicines. For pneumonia, oral antibiotics are usually prescribed for newborn babies and children.
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