Being Exposed To Another Std
Being successfully treated for chlamydia, gonorrhea, or another STD does not protect you from other STDs In fact, many people become infected with STDs over and over again because they continue to have unprotected sex with partners who have untreated STDs.
If you’ve been treated for an STD and don’t want to get another one, the best thing that you can do is change your behaviors to decrease your risk. That means consistently practicing safe sex and always talking to new partners about STD risk before having sex.
How Is Chlamydia Infection Diagnosed
Doctors have several tests they can use to screen for chlamydia. Note that screening for chlamydia in the throat isnt a part of usual STI testing.
If youve had a sore throat that doesnt seem to go away or have a partner that youve had oral sex with who tested positive for chlamydia, you might want to ask your doctor about pharyngeal chlamydia screening.
Doctors can use urine samples to diagnose chlamydia, but that doesnt help them diagnose chlamydia in the throat.
As a result, a doctor may swab your throat to test for chlamydia there. They send this swab to a laboratory, which tests the specimen for the presence of DNA from the bacteria that cause chlamydia.
This test is a little tricky because the Food and Drug Administration hasnt approved a swab test for pharyngeal chlamydia. Your throat contains a lot of bacteria, and this can make it hard to pinpoint chlamydia bacteria.
When a doctor uses a swab to test for chlamydia in the throat, its possible theyre doing so in an off-label fashion. This means the FDA hasnt specifically given the OK to use the test for pharyngeal chlamydia, but some doctors think swabs can help in detection.
Do I Need To Get Tested Even Without Symptoms
If you are sexually active you should still get tested for chlamydia regularly even if you dont have symptoms. Passing on chlamydia can make any relationship or sexual encounter extremely awkward and can also have serious repercussions for the other persons health.
Even without symptoms chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease in women which can seriously hard reproductive health. It can also cause fertility problems for men. Testing regularly is the most straightforward way to protect both your health and the health of your future sexual partners.
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How Do You Get Chlamydia
Chlamydia is usually passed on through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex.
Chlamydia can be passed on through genital contact. This means you can get chlamydia from someone who has the infection if your genitals touch, even if you dont have sex or ejaculate .
You can also get chlamydia if you come into contact with infected semen or vaginal fluid, or get them in your eye.
Chlamydia cant be passed on through kissing, hugging, sharing towels or using the same toilet as someone with the infection.
Will Chlamydia Cause Infertility
If not treated, chlamydia can lead to damage to the reproductive system. In women, chlamydial infection can spread to the uterus or fallopian tubes and cause pelvic inflammatory disease , according to the CDC. PID can damage the fallopian tubes and uterus and cause chronic pain, infertility, and ectopic pregnancy.
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Can Chlamydia Be Cured
Yes, chlamydia can be cured with the right treatment. It is important that you take all of the medication your doctor prescribes to cure your infection. When taken properly it will stop the infection and could decrease your chances of having complications later on. You should not share medication for chlamydia with anyone.
Repeat infection with chlamydia is common. You should be tested again about three months after you are treated, even if your sex partner was treated.
Will I Need To Go Back To The Clinic
If you take your antibiotics correctly, you may not need to return to the clinic.
However, you will be advised to go back for another chlamydia test if:
- you had sex before you and your partner finished treatment
- you forgot to take your medication or didn’t take it properly
- your symptoms don’t go away
- you’re pregnant
If you’re under 25 years of age, you should be offered a repeat test for chlamydia 3 to 6 months after finishing your treatment because you’re at a higher risk of catching it again.
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Testing Before The Incubation Period
Every STD test has an advised date from which a test becomes accurate. This is because the bacteria needs enough time to multiply within your body in order for it to reach a detectable level when taking a chlamydia test. For chlamydia this is often 14 days. If you test before that 14 days is over, you may test negative, but you could still pass the bacteria on following your test.
What Can I Do
Use a condom during vaginal intercourse and anal intercourse.
Use a condom or oral dam during oral sex.
There is no vaccine to protect against chlamydia.
The only way to know for sure whether or not you have chlamydia is to get tested. A doctor or nurse can do the test. The test involves a swab of the genitals, rectum or throat or a urine sample. Tell the doctor or nurse about all the different kinds of sex you are having so they can test all the right parts of your body.
It is a good idea to get tested for other sexually transmitted infections , including HIV, when you get tested for chlamydia. Other STIs can be passed on in the same way as chlamydia. Talk to your healthcare provider about how often you should test for chlamydia and other STIs.
If you are diagnosed with chlamydia, a public health staff person will talk to you about informing your sex partners that they might have been exposed to chlamydia and encouraging them to get tested. Your identity will not be revealed.
Chlamydia can be cured with a single dose or a short course of antibiotics. If you are given a single dose to treat the infection, you should wait for seven days after taking it before having sex again. If you are given pills to take for seven days, you should wait until you have taken all the pills before having sex again. If you have a regular partner or partners, they should also be treated before you have sex with them.
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What If I Don’t Get It Treated
If chlamydia is left untreated it can become a serious threat to your health.
Chlamydia can spread from your cervix to your uterus and fallopian tubes. It can cause pelvic inflammatory disease , which can damage and block your tubes. You may not be able to get pregnant if both tubes are blocked because sperm are unable to reach the egg. If you have had PID you are more at risk of having an ectopic pregnancy or long-term pelvic pain.
Chlamydia can spread from your penis to your testicles and cause painful swelling. You can become infertile.
How Soon Can I Have Sex Again
Dont have oral, vaginal or anal sex, or use sex toys, until you and your partner have both finished the treatment and any symptoms have gone. This is to help prevent you being re-infected or passing the infection on to someone else.
If youre given antibiotic treatment called azithromycin, youll still need to avoid sex for seven days after starting the treatment as thats how long it takes to work.
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Can Chlamydia Cause Infertility Forever
Untreated, about 10-15% of women with chlamydia will develop PID. Chlamydia can also cause fallopian tube infection without any symptoms. PID and silent infection in the upper genital tract may cause permanent damage to the fallopian tubes, uterus, and surrounding tissues, which can lead to infertility.
How Long Before Chlamydia Does Damage
Symptoms usually appear within one to three weeks after being infected and may be very mild. If not treated, chlamydia can lead to damage to the reproductive system. In women, chlamydial infection can spread to the uterus or fallopian tubes and cause pelvic inflammatory disease , according to the CDC.
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Chlamydia Treatment For Women
Chlamydia can be easily cured with antibiotic therapy. Antibiotics may be given as a single dose or a 7-day course. Women should abstain from sexual intercourse during the 7-day course of antibiotics or for 7 days after the single dose treatment to avoid spreading the infection to others.
Can You Get Chlamydia In Your Throat
Its possible, but not likely, that you could get chlamydia in your throat. To understand how or why it could happen, its important to consider how chlamydia is transmitted.
A person can get chlamydia when their mucus membranes, such as those of the vagina, penis, or rectum, come in contact with chlamydia bacteria. These bacteria enter the mucus membranes and multiply.
Chlamydia doesnt always cause symptoms. However, if not treated, the infection can result in damage that cant be reversed.
The most common way chlamydia is spread is through unprotected anal or vaginal sex. The bacteria typically infect and cause symptoms in the location they first entered the body.
Its possible that chlamydia can be transmitted to your throat if you give oral sex to a partner who has contracted a genital chlamydia infection.
Additionally, getting oral sex from someone who has contracted a chlamydia infection of the throat can potentially transmit the bacteria to your genitals.
You cant get chlamydia mouth-to-mouth kissing.
For a reason doctors dont fully understand, chlamydia bacteria more easily infect the groin area, such as the vagina, penis, or rectum, than the mouth.
- mouth sores that dont heal
- sores around lips and mouth
However, you can contract the infection in both the throat and genital area. In addition to a sore throat, you may have chlamydia symptoms in your genitals.
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What Happens If I Get Chlamydia When I’m Pregnant
- Chlamydia during pregnancy has been associated in very rare cases with problems such as premature birth, and infection of the uterus lining after the birth.
- It can be passed to the baby during the birth and before the baby is born. This can cause inflammation and discharge in the babys eye and/or pneumonia.
- You may be offered a chlamydia test as part of your antenatal care.
- Chlamydia can be treated with antibiotics when youre pregnant and when youre breastfeeding. The antibiotics wont harm the baby, but do tell the doctor or nurse that youre pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Youll be advised to have another test after you complete your treatment.
What Does Chlamydia Infection Mean For My Health
Chlamydia can be treated and cured easily, but that doesnt mean that chlamydia infection isnt potentially dangerous. If chlamydia isnt diagnosed and left untreated, it can cause serious complications.
Untreated chlamydia infections in women may lead to:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease , a serious infection of the reproductive organs . Left untreated, PID can cause infertility , chronic pelvic pain, or ectopic pregnancy.
- A condition called mucopurulent cervicitis, characterized by a yellow discharge from the cervix
Untreated chlamydia in men may lead to:
- Scarring of the urethra
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Chlamydia Can Live In Your Gut And Reinfect You After Youre Cured
Doctors have known that chlamydia can reappear, but until now theyve been stumped as to how exactly it happens
Chlamydia is the most commonly reported sexually transmitted diseases in the United States. Thankfully, its also curable. But new research suggests that for some people, curing chlamydia doesnt prevent reinfection, even if theyre not exposed to it again. Apparently the disease can live inside your gut, and reinfect you out of the blue.
Apparently doctors have known that chlamydia can reappear in cured patients for about 80 years, but theyve been stumped as to how exactly it happens. This study points out that, in many animals, chlamydia has been found to live in the gastrointestinal tract. Thus, if gastrointestinal infection occurs in most hosts, the authors write, then it is very likely that gastrointestinal infection occurs in humans as well.
The study in question doesnt actually test this theory on any human beings. Instead it looks at data in animal models about reinfection, and the failure of certain drugs to treat chlamydia when it lives in the gut. From there, they propose that women who are infected with chlamydia could see the same kind of issues: the drugs theyre given might cure the disease genitally, but not gastrointestinally, leaving the bug to live inside waiting for the right time to strike.
Who Should Be Tested For Chlamydia
You should go to your health provider for a test if you have symptoms of chlamydia, or if you have a partner who has a sexually transmitted disease. Pregnant women should get a test when they go to their first prenatal visit.
People at higher risk should get checked for chlamydia every year:
- Sexually active women 25 and younger
- Older women who have new or multiple sex partners, or a sex partner who has a sexually transmitted disease
- Men who have sex with men
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How Chlamydia’s Passed On
Chlamydia is usually passed from one person to another through sexual contact.
You can get the infection if you come into contact with the semen or vaginal fluids of someone who has chlamydia.
Chlamydia is most commonly spread through:
- vaginal or anal sex without a condom
- sharing sex toys that arent washed or covered with a new condom each time theyre used.
It can be spread by giving or receiving oral sex with someone who has chlamydia. The risk can be lowered by using a condom or a dam to cover the genitals.
If infected semen or vaginal fluid comes into contact with the eye it can cause conjunctivitis (infection or irritation of the eye.
If youre pregnant its possible to pass chlamydia to the baby .
Its not clear if chlamydia can be spread by transferring infected semen or vaginal fluid to another persons genitals on the fingers or through rubbing vulvas together.
You cant get chlamydia from kissing, hugging, sharing baths or towels, swimming pools, toilet seats or from sharing cups, plates or cutlery.
Symptoms Can Differ For Men And Women
By and large, most cases of chlamydia are asymptomatic they are picked up by screening, which is why it’s so important to have good screening programs in place, notes Dr. Stoner. Men or women who have chlamydia symptoms may experience painful urination.
Women may also have these symptoms:
- Smelly discharge from the cervix
- Pain during sex
And men may have these symptoms:
- Discharge from the penis
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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Getting Chlamydia
The only way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting chlamydia:
- Be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results
- Use latex condoms the right way every time you have sex.
I Was Treated For Chlamydia When Can I Have Sex Again
You should not have sex again until you and your sex partner have completed treatment. If your doctor prescribes a single dose of medication, you should wait seven days after taking the medicine before having sex. If your doctor prescribes a medicine for you to take for seven days, you should wait until you have taken all of the doses before having sex.
What Are The Symptoms Of Chlamydia
Many people with chlamydia dont have any symptoms. If you do get symptoms, you may not notice them until several weeks after infection. Other people might not have any symptoms for several months.
Signs of chlamydia in women include:
- increase in vaginal discharge
- pain or burning when urinating
- pain during sex and/or bleeding after sex
- pain in the lower stomach especially when having sex
- bleeding between periods and/or heavier periods.
Signs of chlamydia in men include:
- white, cloudy or watery discharge from the penis
- pain or burning when urinating
- pain and/or swelling in the testicles.
You can also get chlamydia infection in your anus, eyes and throat. For both men and women, this can cause pain, discharge or bleeding in the anus, or inflammation of the eye . Chlamydia in the throat does not usually have any symptoms.
Can A Treated Std Come Back
Monique Rainford, MD, is board-certified in obstetrics-gynecology, and currently serves as an Assistant Clinical Professor at Yale Medicine. She is the former chief of obstetrics-gynecology at Yale Health.
Chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and trichomoniasis can all be treated, and often cured, with antibiotics. While it’s important that you find treatment for your STD, having your STD treated is not a guarantee that it will never come back. You have to use your medication as directed, and you also have to be careful about prevention so you won’t get re-infected.
What Happens If I Dont Get Treated
The initial damage that chlamydia causes often goes unnoticed. However, chlamydia can lead to serious health problems.
If you are a woman, untreated chlamydia can spread to your uterus and fallopian tubes . This can cause pelvic inflammatory disease . PID often has no symptoms, however some women may have abdominal and pelvic pain. Even if it doesnt cause symptoms initially, PID can cause permanent damage to your reproductive system. PID can lead to long-term pelvic pain, inability to get pregnant, and potentially deadly ectopic pregnancy .
Men rarely have health problems linked to chlamydia. Infection sometimes spreads to the tube that carries sperm from the testicles, causing pain and fever. Rarely, chlamydia can prevent a man from being able to have children.