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by James Thomas, Saturday, 06 January 2018 | Categories: Sexual Health

Staying Safe in the Bedroom

Christmas and New Year is a time for revelry and fun, with plenty of food and drink... as well as more private activities. The downside to the increased sexual activity at this time of the year is the corresponding rise in the number of sexually transmitted infections, which then have to be treated in the first few months of the New Year. We are already starting to see an uptick in patients presenting with symptoms of an STI. The most common bacterial sexually transmitted infection encountered by us is chlamydia trachomatis.

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is a potentially serious infection that can result in infertility in women, as well as the potentially lethal condition known as ectopic pregnancy, if it is not detected and treated as soon as possible.

Chlamydia will normally take around 14 days to appear in a test result but it can produce a positive result earlier. Any negative result prior to 14 days will need to be repeated at the appropriate juncture.

Testing

Not everyone who contracts the chlamydia infection will experience obvious symptoms, and screening tests can be done from self taken vaginal swabs or urine samples. 

If a woman is experiencing urinary symptoms then it is probably a better idea to test for chlamydia with a urine sample, rather than a vaginal swab. Urine samples need to be collected at least two hours after the last time urine was passed to ensure an accurate result. 

Sexually active people below the age of 25 should be tested once a year for the infection or every time they acquire a new sexual partner, or in the event of experiencing any symptoms such as pain during urination, painful sex, abdominal pain, or abnormal discharges or bleeding from the vagina. The rest of us need to be tested when we change sexual partner or experience symptoms.

Treatment

The good news is that chlamydia can be effectively treated either with a single one gram dose of azithromycin or a twice daily seven day 100 mg course of doxycycline. Both of these treatments come with their own advantages and disadvantages.

Doxycycline should not be used in pregnancy.

Anyone who receives any form of treatment should make sure they are tested again from 6 weeks after treatment commenced, in order to make sure the infection has been cured and to avoid the possibility of false results. 

All recent partners from within the last three months should also be given treatment irrespective of their own chlamydia test results. You and your current partners should be simultaneously treated with antibiotics, while abstaining from sex during treatment, even with a condom. 

Long-term complications from a chlamydia infection are much more likely in people who contract the infection numerous times, so anyone who is infected should take additional precautions in the future, in order to make sure that it does not happen again. The use of condoms is vital, and is the only method to protect against infection – but it is not 100% effective and regular screening is still recommended.




by James Thomas, Saturday, 07 May 2016 | Categories: Sexual Health

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection that is spread through genital fluids. In 2014, chlamydia was the most commonly diagnosed STI in the UK, followed by genital warts, gonorrhoea and genital herpes.

The good news is that chlamydia is a bacterial infection, which means it can be easily treated with a course of antibiotics. The bad news? As reported at the start of this month by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, rates of chlamydia infection in Europe increased by 5% between 2010 and 2014.

Contracting Chlamydia

Because chlamydia is transmitted through infected genital fluids, it can be spread through vaginal, anal and oral sex. You can also catch it from sharing sex toys, intimate bodily contact, and even getting infected semen or vaginal fluid in your eye.

The really troubling thing about chlamydia is that it often comes with no symptoms. It’s thought that at least 70% of all women and 50% of all men infected with chlamydia do not initially experience symptoms. The problem with this is that the disease can lead to serious health complications if left untreated.

Those people who do notice symptoms are likely to experience pain when urinating, unusual discharge from the penis or vagina, and pain in the testicles or pelvis. Women may also experience pain during sex and irregular bleeding.

If you start suffering from any of these symptoms, you should seek medical advice as soon as possible.

The Complications of Chlamydia

Chlamydia becomes a problem when it goes untreated. The complications tend to be less serious for men; however, chlamydia in men can lead to inflammation of the testicles and reactive arthritis.

In women, chlamydia infection can spread to the womb, ovaries and fallopian tubes, causing a serious condition called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can in turn cause fertility problems and chronic pelvic pain, and is thought to increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy (where a fertilised egg implants outside of the womb). Untreated chlamydia can also be a problem for women who are already pregnant, as it can cause an infection in the unborn baby. It can also increase the risk of a low birth weight, premature birth, and even miscarriage and stillbirth.

Because of the serious nature of these complications, it’s a good idea to get regular STI tests if you're sexually active and think you may be at risk of contracting chlamydia.

Chlamydia Diagnosis & Treatment

To diagnose chlamydia, men are usually required to produce a urine sample, while women will be asked to provide a swab taken from their vagina. These samples are examined in a lab and results usually made available within a few days. A test through the NHS will typically take longer than a private test.

You can get tested for chlamydia by visiting your GP or a sexual health clinic. Alternatively, if you wish to avoid seeing a doctor face-to-face, or if you don’t have time to make an appointment, you can order a postal chlamydia test kit from a regulated online service such as TheSTIClinic.com.

If you take a test for chlamydia and the results come back positive, then you’ll require a short course of treatment. In the UK, the two most common treatments for chlamydia are the antibiotics azithromycin and doxycycline. Azithromycin is given in one dose, while doxycycline must be taken every day for a week.

Staying Safe

The best way to avoid spreading or contracting chlamydia in the future is to be open and honest with sexual partners, and to use adequate protection. If you aren’t 100% sure that your sexual partner is STI-free (and remember, they may be infected but not have any symptoms) you should always use condoms for penetrative sex, and dental dams or condoms for oral sex.

The STI Clinic is a confidential and discreet private medical service. You can order a chlamydia test kit for home use from The STI Clinic and have it delivered to your by next day delivery. You will provide a sample and send this to our lab in a prepaid envelope. Your results will be made available through a private online profile, and can normally be processed within 24 hours.




by Alicia Ni Ghrainne, Saturday, 22 November 2014 | Categories: Sexual Health

Only recently have we been talking about the possible relationship between gum disease and Alzheimer’s, but two more recent studies have also highlighted a strong association between the herpes simplex virus and this terrible disease of the brain, which causes memory loss. Two studies by Swedish researchers show why these associations have been made.

The first study found that when the HSV1 virus (the strain of herpes virus that often causes the common cold sore) was dormant in a body, and then became reactivated, the HSV1 reacted with certain proteins, forming the same chemicals that cause the Alzheimer’s disease to develop. It is thought that the proteins helped the herpes virus travel via the nerves to the brain. In turn, the proteins were not being transported and distributed as they normally would, the proteins then forming amyloid plaques, a known cause of Alzheimer’s.

Another recent study by the Swedish team involved 3,432 people who were tested for the disease roughly 11 years after their blood samples had been taken and showed that the risk of Alzheimer’s doubled in individuals who carried HSV1 in their blood. It is thought that the herpes virus might be weakening the immune system, allowing the virus to spread to the brain, kick starting the process of the brain’s decline towards dementia.

There might come a time when the antivirals used to treat herpes are further developed to stave off the dreaded Alzheimer’s too. However, this is only if a causal relationship is confirmed. The Swedish researchers are convinced that the herpes virus causes a substantial portion of all Alzheimer’s cases, as many as 40-50%, but, so many of the population will carry the HSV virus and not go on to develop Alzheimer’s at all. Only further study will confirm this relationship, despite initial proposals and concerns being raised back in the 1980s. This research will potentially inspire another wave of research in an area that has been relatively dormant in the scientific community until, Hugo Lovheim at Umea University, and his team, began these studies in 2009.

Currently, antivirals such as Aciclovir are prescribed for difficult cold sore outbreaks. These treatments can help with outbreaks but do not get rid of the virus. They can help to shorten the period of the outbreak and help ease the pain of the blisters that form.

You can read more about this study here.




by Robert MacKay, Wednesday, 11 September 2013 | Categories: Sexual Health

We are happy to report that Warticon Cream is finally back in stock and available for immediate dispensing.  Warticon had been out of stock for over a year and fortunately we have had a steady supply of Condyline – the alternative treatment – to take up the slack.

Warticon is prescribed for patients with genital warts and is highly effective in eradicating the warts in around 4 weeks. If you have warts and they are larger than 4 mm in diameter then you need to see a doctor face to face. For smaller warts, we can help. To get a prescription for Warticon or any of the alternative treatments for genital warts, please click on the free consultation button below.

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In the past we have written about DVD-players being developed to test for HIV, and how useful it would be if they entered the market. Now it appears that another device is being developed that could help diagnose chlamydia and gonorrhoea in 30 minutes.

The device recently won The Royal Academy of Engineering ERA Foundation Entrepreneurs Award.

According to the inventor, the advice is able to detect anomalies from a blood sample taken from a finger prick and works via a low-cost, disposable microchip that sends ultrasonic waves across the chip.  The waves then agitate the blood sample to perform various functions such as opening cells to release their DNA. Although the chip enables multiple ways of agitating the sample, it appears to only be able to do it for one pathogen at a time. However, it now hoped that the investment received from The Royal Academy of Engineering will help the inventor develop the device for multiple and simultaneous pathogen testing.

Once this is done, and if it is done successfully, then it is expected to be another two years before the device gets out on the market. You can read more about this development at The Engineer website.




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