A new research study, released earlier this month, suggest that women who suffer from chronic chlamydia infection can double their risk of ovarian cancer compared to women with no history of chlamydia. While the full details of the study have not yet been released, the authors are expected to share their findings at a meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research some time in April. This study is further evidence that untreated or undiagnosed chlamydia infections can cause serious health concerns.
“Our data is lending support for there being a role of pelvic inflammatory disease in ovarian cancer and the prime cause of pelvic inflammatory disease, particularly in the U.S., is chlamydia infection,” the National Cancer Institute’s Britton Trabert told a briefing ahead of the meeting. “We are seeing a doubling in ovarian cancer risk with a prior history of pelvic inflammatory disease.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are over 20,000 women in the United States diagnosed with ovarian cancer each year. In 2014, the CDC reported that over 14,000 women died from ovarian cancer. Ovarian cancer causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.
Chlamydia is one of the most common STDs in America. This bacterial infection can be spread through vaginal, anal or oral sex. In women, chlamydia can cause a vaginal discharge or a burning sensation during urination. Symptoms are not always present when a person is infected with chlamydia.
Ovarian cancer is not the only potential health risk of untreated, undiagnosed or chronic chlamydia. Chlamydia infection can cause issues with pregnancy such as ectopic pregnancy. It can also be spread from mother to child during birth. Sometimes, chlamydia can cause enough damage to the reproductive system that it will render a person infertile. With all of these risks, it become more and more important to detect chlamydia early and treat it appropriately. Chlamydia can traditionally be cured with antibiotics.
If you believe that you have been exposed to chlamydia or any other STD, you should have STD testing performed right away. Since symptoms are not always present, this can be the best way to detect an infection. You can lower your risk of chlamydia by practicing safe sex with the use of latex condoms.