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Chlamydia: The Risks For Teens

Chlamydia is one of the most common venereal diseases in the U.S. and is found most often in sexually active adolescents between the ages of 15 and 19. Chlamydia is a disease that most teenagers know very little about, and don’t think to try to prevent. Second, it often has no symptoms at all, either in men or women. A recent study revealed that some 75% of those with chlamydia had no symptoms. The consequences of untreated chlamydia in both males and females can be reproductive tract infections that can cause infertility.

Males are more likely to have symptoms which include:

• Mild irritation or burning during urination.
• A thin, milky discharge from the penis, which is most
evident in the morning.

Women don’t usually have symptoms until damage has been done to their reproductive organs with pelvic inflammatory disease that can occur in untreated chlamydia.

Sexually active teens and young adults who do not use barrier contraceptives and have had intercourse with a new partner within the past few months should consult a physician to be tested for chlamydia before serious consequences are evident.

Dr. Wibbelsman, M.D., is an award-winning author and former “Dear Doctor” columnist for Teen magazine. Chair of Adolescent Medicine for the Permanente Medical Group, Northern California, he is chief of the Teen-Age Clinic at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Francisco, and an associate professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco Medical School. Dr. Wibbelsman is the news anchor for a Bay Area television series, “Medicine in the Nineties”.

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