Why common STI can easily go undetected

Chlamydia is a common STI.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

What you need to know:

  • Many infected people may live with the infection for months without symptoms.
  • Women may have abnormal vaginal discharge, pain while passing urine and lower abdominal pain.

Lola* called me in a panic. She was at the office but calling form the washrooms. The way she was whispering on the phone, you would be forgiven for thinking she was reporting an ongoing terror attack. I could not understand a thing she was saying until I had calmed her down.
Two hours later, Lola was on my examination table, no calmer than before. She came wearing a sanitary towel because she had developed anal bleeding at work. She had felt some mild discomfort on and off for the past few days but nothing remarkable. However, that afternoon, after a bowel movement, she noted blood while cleaning herself up. It had since been bleeding slowly but steadily.
Lola was supposed to be on the general surgeon’s table but she would hear none of that. So I took her history and then settled in for the examination. The anal bleeding was now minimal. She had mild pain, with moderate perianal inflammation. What was interesting though was that she had no obvious haemorrhoids, neither did she have anal fissures (a longitudinal tear on the anal opening).

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