This is how you can test for chlamydia
Chlamydia are pathogenic bacteria that can affect the urogenital tract, the respiratory tract and the conjunctiva of the eye. They can cause serious complications, such as sterility. For this reason, early diagnosis and initiation of therapy are particularly important.
The peculiarity of chlamydia is that they only occur within the cells. This makes diagnosis more difficult, but it can be carried out reliably using molecular genetic methods.
These test procedures exist
Various test methods for diagnosing chlamydial infection have been established. The gold standard nowadays is the nucleic acid amplification test. But other methods also allow a diagnosis of the bacterium. These procedures are in place:
- The nucleic acid amplification test
- The urine test
- The antibody detection
- The cultivation of cell cultures
- The quick test
- The biopsies for pneumonia
Find out all about the topic here: The chlamydial infection.
The testing procedures for women
Chlamydia infection is asymptomatic in most women. Infection can, however, lead to serious complications. The fallopian tubes and ovaries can become inflamed and stick together. This can lead to infertility. For this reason, early diagnosis is essential.
For the examination, a cell smear can be taken from the urethra and the uterus. In addition to a cell smear, the secretion from this area can also be used for diagnostics. The cell smear or secretion can now be examined using a nucleic acid amplification test. The DNA of the bacterium is detected and multiplied. This test allows a reliable statement to be made as to whether an infection is present or not. The material obtained from the cell smear or the secretions can also be used to grow a cell culture. However, this process is very complex and takes a long time.
A urine test can also be performed. If there is an infection, the DNA of the bacterium can be detected. The urine test is mainly used for screening. In addition to this method, a blood test can also be carried out, which enables antibodies to be detected. However, this procedure does not allow a distinction between an acute and a healed infection.
The symptoms of chlamydial infection? Find out more about this here.
The testing procedures for men
The chlamydia tests for men are basically the same procedures that are used for women. Chlamydia infection can also lead to sterility in a man. However, the chlamydial infection is painful in a man, so they are more likely to see a doctor and the diagnosis can be made early.
A urine test is suitable for diagnosis. For this, the patient has to hand in morning urine in the laboratory or in the practice. In the laboratory, the urine is examined for components of the bacterium (DNA). A swab can also be taken from the urethra. The cell material can be analyzed more precisely using a nucleic acid amplification test. This procedure is the gold standard for the detection of a chlamydial infection. The cell material can also be used to grow a cell culture. However, since cultivation is tedious, it is rarely carried out. In addition, antibodies against the bacterium can be detected in the blood. In the case of an acute infection, they are initially negative and only become positive after a few days.
This article might also interest you: Chlamydia in men and You can recognize a chlamydial infection in men by these symptoms
Which doctor will do the tests?
Various doctors can be seen in case of a chlamydial infection. Women can visit their gynecologist or, alternatively, a dermatologist (dermatologist). Dermatologists are also very familiar with STDs and their treatment. Men can also see a dermatologist. Another option for men is to see a urologist.
Which doctor is ultimately chosen is an individual decision. If you are already receiving treatment from a gynecologist or urologist, it is advisable to visit them.
The duration of the test results
The time it takes to get a result can vary somewhat depending on the test method. If you do a quick test, the duration is about 15 minutes. Other test procedures take a few days and may differ depending on the laboratory evaluating the test.
The cost of the test
No general statement can be made about the cost of the test. The costs depend on the test procedure and the laboratory that created the evaluation. The costs are usually between € 30 and € 100. You should ask your doctor for more information.
Does the health insurance company cover the costs?
The cost of the test for young women up to the age of 25 is covered by the health insurance. If you want to take the test after the age of 25, you will unfortunately have to pay the costs yourself
An exception is the order from a doctor. If the doctor is of the opinion that the clinical picture is caused by chlamydia, the test is also paid for by the health insurance.
How safe is such a test?
The safety of the test depends on the method that has been selected. A quick test bought online is not as reliable as a test done in a laboratory. If you suspect a chlamydial infection and the rapid test should still be negative, it is still advisable to consult a doctor. If the test result is positive, you should go to a doctor anyway, as a chlamydial infection must be treated with antibiotics.
The cultivation of the bacteria and the investigation of the nucleic acid (nucleic acid amplification test) are methods with a high sensitivity and specificity and are to be assessed as very safe. An examination of the blood with an antibody detection is a safe procedure. However, you have to consider that the antibodies are only formed a few days after the infection and the test can turn out negative, especially during this time.
Also read the article: Treatment of chlamydial infection.
Can the test also be false-positive or false-negative?
It is entirely possible that the test procedures give an incorrect result. The test can be false-negative, especially with immunological detection methods. The body needs a few days to produce the antibodies when infected. Because of this, infections can be overlooked, especially in the early stages. The pathogens can also be overlooked when a rapid test is carried out, so that these procedures also turn out to be false-negative.
The cultivation of bacteria (so-called cell culture) and the nucleic acid amplification test are, however, methods that hardly give false results. They are very reliable methods.
Can I also buy an over-the-counter test at the pharmacy?
There are many test procedures available that can be purchased and performed independently at home. These tests can be bought online and in pharmacies without a prescription. However, you should find out beforehand which test is suitable or provides reliable results.
Should I get a chlamydia test before pregnancy?
Chlamydia infection is often asymptomatic in women. As a result, women are not even aware that they are infected. The infection can cause various complications. It can cause premature birth or it can be passed on to the child during the birth process. As a result, the newborn can develop conjunctivitis, otitis media or even pneumonia. Transmission to the child is also possible during breastfeeding.
For these reasons, it is particularly important to clarify a chlamydial infection. The examination is part of maternity care and should be carried out before pregnancy and in the 32nd week of pregnancy.
Find out all about the topic here: The chlamydial infection.