Diagnosis of chlamydia trachomatis. Medical diagnosis is the process of identifying a disease or illness that affects a person. Diagnosis follows a set criterion that incorporates evaluation of signs, symptoms and laboratory test result(s).
Chlamydia trachomatis is diagnosed through several means, which include:
- Physical examination – This is the process which a physician examines a patient’s body for signs or symptoms of a disease that may be present. It involves interrogating a patient to ascertain what he/she feels or experiences. The physical examination result forms part of a patient’s medical history. In the case of chlamydia trachomatis, the physical signs that may be present including eye discharge (in case of trachoma), penile or vaginal discharge and other signs that may be present. While chlamydia trachomatis physical examination in women may not be that effective, it is effective in men.
- Pelvic examination – Pelvic examination is a kind of physical examination mostly performed in women. Pelvic examination may be internal or external. Internal pelvic examination involves the examination of the anatomy and presence of pelvic area skin lesions. Internal examination involves test for cervical motion, palpation, cervical swabs, vaginal swabs, Pap smear and any signs of vaginal discharge. Internal pelvic examination is in most cases uncomfortable for women, especially when a speculum is used, but it is an effective diagnosis procedure in identifying chlamydia trachomatis.
- Cell culture test – This is conducted in a controlled environment, typically in a laboratory setting. A patient’s cell samples are inoculated into a testing media then left to incubate. The bacteria grow for several days then other tests are run.
- Screening – Since chlamydia trachomatis does not present signs in most people, screening becomes an effective method of diagnosing it. Screening is undertaken on a large scale and is performed on people who do not show ant signs. The purpose for screening is to identify a disease that affects a large population.
- Urinalysis – This involves several tests conducted on a patient’s urine sample to establish the presence of chlamydia trachomatis bacteria. Most urinalysis tests are conducted through the use of dipsticks and colour changes mean different results.
- DFA – This is the Direct Fluorescent Antibody, which is a staining test conducted on samples taken from a patient.
- Nucleic acid amplification – These tests rely on the genetic material of chlamydia bacteria. These tests are very effective and private, unlike pelvic examinations. In terms of accuracy, they are more accurate than most tests.
Although diagnosis is an important step in the identification and treatment of chlamydia trachomatis, a number of problems do arise in the process. The main problems that do arise are misdiagnosis and over diagnosis.
Over diagnosis means identifying a disease correctly but over emphasising its impact on an individual, meaning increased treatment procedures that may turn out to be harmful to the individual.
Misdiagnosis means that the diagnosis produces results of a disease that a patient is not suffering from. This can be due to several factors including:
- Mix up of patient samples in the laboratory and keep health research etiquette.
- Use of wrong testing agents by the laboratory technician.
- Improper testing environment.