Chlamydia trachomatis, IgM antibodies
Why this test?
To determine the stage of the disease with symptoms of chlamydial infection.
To establish the fact of infection with chlamydia in the past (as elucidation of the causes of diseases that may be a consequence of chlamydia infection: infertility, ectopic pregnancy).
In what cases is it prescribed?
With symptoms of chlamydial infection.
In case of women, this is discharge from the genital tract, burning, itching in the genital area, pain in the lower abdomen.
In case of men - burning during urination, discharge from the urethra, pain, itching in the genital area.
If it is necessary to establish the stage of chlamydial infection.
If it is necessary to establish the fact of chlamydia infection (for diseases that may be a consequence of chlamydia infection: infertility, ectopic pregnancy.
Chlamydia trachomatis, IgM, are antibodies (immunoglobulins, immune factors) that are produced during chlamydial infection.
Chlamydial infection, or chlamydia, is a group of diseases caused by microorganisms of the genus Chlamydia.
Chlamydia is a type of bacteria. Their feature is that in the course of their evolutionary development, they lost a number of metabolic functions necessary for independent life, and can reproduce only inside other biological cells. In this regard, they are classified as intracellular parasites.
The chlamydia life cycle consists of two phases. The first phase is extracellular, when chlamydia are in a spore-like form and are called elementary bodies (they are insensitive to antibiotics). After penetrating inside the chlamydia cells, they turn into reticular bodies - a biological form that actively reproduces; during this period, chlamydia are sensitive to antibacterial therapy. This feature explains the propensity of this type of infection to a long chronic course.
The disease in humans is caused by four types of chlamydia, one of them is Chlamydia trachomatis. This species has several varieties (serotypes), each of which is prone to damage one or another organ. Chlamydia trachomatis infects certain types of cells covering the mucous membrane of the urethra, the inner surface of the cervix in women, the back wall of the pharynx, the mucous membrane of the rectum, the conjunctiva of the eyes, and the respiratory tract in children in the first months of their lives.
Infection with chlamydia occurs as a result of direct contact of the mucous membranes with the pathogen, usually during unprotected sexual intercourse. Newborns can become infected during the birth canal.
The incubation period from the moment of infection to the appearance of the first symptoms of the disease lasts from 7 to 20 days or more. Sometimes visible signs do not develop. This is either an asymptomatic carrier, or cases when the symptoms of the disease are imperceptible, but at the same time the structures and functions of the tissues are slowly disturbed (persistent form of the disease).
In women, chlamydial infection most often occurs in the form of inflammation of the cervical canal, from where it passes into the uterine cavity and fallopian tubes. Inflammation of the fallopian tubes (salpingitis) is the most common complication of chlamydia and can lead to obstruction of the fallopian tubes and ultimately infertility or tubal (ectopic) pregnancy. The peculiarity of chlamydia of the appendages of the uterus lies in the tendency to the absence of specific symptoms of the disease and a long course. In some cases, the infection spreads higher, to the organs of the abdominal cavity.
In men, chlamydia can be present as inflammation of the urethra (urethritis), vas deferens (epididymitis). Sometimes inflammation of the prostate gland (prostatitis) occurs.
From 5 to 20% of pregnant women have a chlamydial infection of the cervical canal. About half of the children born to them are infected during childbirth. Half of the infected children develop chlamydial conjunctivitis, 10% get pneumonia.
During sexual contact, chlamydial infection can cause an acute inflammatory disease - venereal lymphogranuloma. As the disease progresses, the lymph nodes increase and the feeling of well-being is impaired. In the future, complications related to changes in the genitals and rectum are possible.
Infection with chlamydia is accompanied by the production of antibodies (immunoglobulins) in the body: IgM, IgA, IgG. The production of each of them is associated with a certain stage of the infectious process, so that the stage of the disease can be judged by their appearance and amount in the blood.
Antibodies of the IgM class appear at the very initial stage (5 days after infection), before other immunoglobulins. The presence of IgM in the absence of other types of antibodies (IgA, IgG) indicates a primary chlamydia infection that occurred no more than 2 weeks ago. This property of IgM is of particular value in the diagnosis of chlamydia in newborn children, as antibodies of this type penetrate through the placental barrier into the child's body from the mother's blood. This means that IgM can appear in the child's body only as a result of the beginning of an active infectious process. After 2-3 months from the moment of infection, IgM antibodies disappear from the bloodstream, regardless of whether the disease is treated or not. Thus, the absence of IgM against a high concentration of IgA and IgG indicates that the disease has been going on for more than 2-3 months.