Is Discharge In Men A Sign Of Chlamydia
Pre-ejaculate and ejaculate are considered to be normal discharge for males. Pre-ejaculate is a clear fluid that is secreted from the tip of the penis during sexual arousal to help prepare for sex. Ejaculate is white, cloudy and contains sperm. It comes out of the penis when you orgasm.
However, if you have a white, cloudy and or watery discharge from the tip of the penis at times when you are not sexually aroused, then you could have chlamydia. This type of discharge is one of the most common chlamydia symptoms in males. Discharge can also appear yellow in colour, and can have a foul smell.
The Health Risks Of Chlamydia
For up to 40 percent of infected women, untreated chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease . PID effects include abdominal pain, fever, internal abscesses and long-lasting pelvic pain effects also include scarring of the fallopian tubes, which can cause infertility and increase the chance of potentially life-threatening ectopic or tubal pregnancies.
Men can develop scarring of the urethra, making urination difficult and occasionally causing infertility. Although rare, both sexes are at risk of a type of arthritis known as Reiter’s Syndrome that causes inflammation and swelling of the joints.
If a pregnant woman has chlamydia, her baby may be born prematurely, have eye infections or develop pneumonia.
What Increases Your Risk
Risk factors for getting chlamydia include:
- Having unprotected sex .
- Having more than one sex partner.
- Having a high-risk partner or partners. This includes people who have more than one sex partner or sex partners who have chlamydia.
- Starting sexual activity before age 18.
Any child with chlamydia needs to be seen by a doctor to determine the cause and to assess for possible sexual abuse. For more information, see the topic Child Abuse and Neglect.
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Treating Chlamydia In Men
If you are exhibiting symptoms or you have a sexual partner who has already tested positive, you will likely be given treatment for chlamydia even before your test results come back .
Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics, often a single dose of azithromycin . If there is a concern for a possible co-infection with gonorrhea, youll also get a single injection of an antibiotic called ceftriaxone . This is typically the case when treatment is presumptive .
An alternative first-line treatment regimen is a 7-day course of doxycycline . This replaces the single dose of azithromycin. If you have additional issues, like epididymitis or LGV, you may need a longer treatment course .
What Are The Causes Of Chlamydia
Chlamydia can be spread from one person to the other in the following cases:
- Unsafe vaginal sex with an infected person
- Unsafe anal sex with an infected person
- Unsafe oral sex with a person suffering from the infection
- Genital contact with a person suffering from the infection
Since chlamydia does not show any signs and symptoms in almost 70% of cases, there is the high probability of infected persons passing the disease on to their sexual partners without being aware of it.
A pregnant woman who has chlamydia can transfer the infection to her newborn baby during childbirth. The newborn baby may suffer from certain complications due to this infection, for instance, pneumonia.
Chlamydia cannot be spread through the following:
- Using a toilet used by a person who has this infection
- Sharing a sauna or swimming pool with a person suffering from this infection
- Physical contact with the surface an infected person has touched or coughed on earlier
- Sharing space with an infected person
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What Can Happen If Chlamydia Isnt Treated
Untreated chlamydia can put your health at risk. Make an appointment with your provider immediately if you notice any symptoms of chlamydia, and get regular STI screenings to avoid complications later.
Complications of chlamydia for people with vaginas
Untreated chlamydia can cause:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease . PID is a serious condition that requires hospitalization. It can occur when an untreated STI, like chlamydia, damages your reproductive organs. PID can lead to infertility and chronic pelvic pain. It can also cause an ectopic pregnancy,which is life-threatening for the fetus and potentially deadly for the mother or gestational parent, too.
- Pregnancy complications. An untreated infection can lead to pre-term delivery. Also, if youre pregnant and have chlamydia, you can pass the infection on to your newborn. Babies born with chlamydia may have pneumonia or conjunctivitis that could lead to blindness if not treated.
Complications of chlamydia for people with penises
Untreated chlamydia can cause:
- Epididymitis. Infection can spread to the testicles and the tube that carries sperm to your testicles , causing symptoms like pain, swelling and tenderness in your testicles.
- Reduced fertility. Chlamydia can harm your sperm, negatively impacting your ability to conceive.
Complications of chlamydia that can affect all genders
Untreated chlamydia can:
When To See A Doctor
If a person has symptoms of chlamydia after testing and treatment or thinks that they have come into contact with chlamydia again, they should see their doctor.
Females are less likely than males to have symptoms of chlamydia, so testing is especially important for them.
The recommend chlamydia testing every year for the following groups of people:
- sexually active females under the age of 25 years
- females over the age of 25 years who have new or multiple sexual partners
- anyone with a sexual partner who has an STI
- sexually active gay and bisexual males
Pregnant women should have a chlamydia test early on in their pregnancy.
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What Happens If A Man Doesnt Treat His Chlamydia
If chlamydia is left untreated, it can become a more severe infection. Its also possible for it to have long term effects, including on fertility.
Chlamydia can affect the whole of the male reproductive system, causing inflammation in the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles, as well as the testicles themselves and the prostate gland. If this inflammation isnt treated, it may lead to scarring, which can have an effect on fertility.
There have also been some studies that suggest the infection itself can affect sperm being produced properly, but the evidence around this isnt conclusive at the moment.
Chlamydia can also cause a condition called reactive arthritis. This is when there is inflammation that affects the eyes, joints, and the urethra . The knees, feet, toes, hips, and ankles are also commonly affected. Its unclear exactly why this happens, but it may be related to the body overreacting to the infection. The symptoms can take months to recover, and you should treat this with anti-inflammatory medicines.
Treating chlamydia is also very important because it can easily be passed on to other partners, even if you dont have symptoms.
Testing For Chlamydia In Men
Diagnosing chlamydia in men involves getting a sample from every area at risk of infectionthis will depend on the type of sex you engage in or the symptoms you are experiencing. In men, this usually means a urine sample. Healthcare providers often specify that this should be a first catch sample to indicate that urine from the beginning of the stream should be evaluated in the chlamydia test.
If you have engaged in oral sex or receptive anal sex, you can ask your provider to check a throat swab or rectal swab, respectively.
Screening can help detect chlamydia, especially since most people dont develop chlamydia symptoms. Men who have sex with men should be screened as frequently as every 36 months. However, the United States Preventive Services Task Force states that there isnt enough evidence to support or reject screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea in other sexually active men .
If you are interested in getting screened, talk to your healthcare provider. In the meantime, staying aware of the symptoms of chlamydia and how it spreads is an excellent step for your sexual health.
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How Do You Treat Chlamydia In Men
If you test positive, the chlamydia treatment youll be prescribed is an antibiotic called doxycycline, or an alternative one if youre allergic to this. Its very important that you contact all previous partners and make them aware that they, too, may have contracted chlamydia. If youve been diagnosed with chlamydia, you can order your treatment online from our discreet service and have it delivered.
Increased Chance Of Other Infections
Untreated chlamydia can increase a persons chances of contracting another sexually transmitted infection. According to the CDC, when a chlamydia infection doesnt receive the correct treatment, it can potentially increase a persons chance of acquiring or transmitting the human immunodeficiency virus .
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In Men Untreated Chlamydia Can Lead To:
- Epididymitis painful inflammation of the inner structures of the testicles, which may cause reduced fertility or sterility. A rare complication of Epididymitisis reactive arthritis, which causes pain in the inflamed joints that can be disabling
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How Does Someone Get Chlamydia
Chlamydia is passed through oral, anal, or vaginal sex. Chlamydia can be passed from one person to another even if the penis or tongue does not go all the way into the vagina or anus.Eye infections can occur when discharge caries the disease into the eye during sex or hand-to-eye contact.
Chlamydia can also be passed from mother to newborn as the baby passes through the infected birth canal. This can result in eye infections, pneumonia or other complications.
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How To Avoid Catching Chlamydia
Anyone who has unprotected sex is at risk of contracting chlamydia. As many people with chlamydia donât notice symptoms, you may not always know if a current or potential sexual partner is carrying the infection. It is therefore recommended to practice safe sex using barrier contraceptive methods, and test regularly. If you have a new sexual partner or do not use barrier contraception, such as a condom, when having sex, you are at a higher risk of catching chlamydia.
To try to avoid catching chlamydia you should:
- use a condom every time you have vaginal and anal
- use a condom to cover the penis during oral sex
- use a dam to cover the female genitals during oral sex or when female genitals rub together
- not share sex toys. If you do share sex toys, wash them after each use or cover them with a new condom each time they are used.
Whilst all of our content is written and reviewed by healthcare professionals, it is not intended to be substituted for or used as medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please speak to your doctor.
Why Is Azithromycin Not A Chlamydia Treatment Anymore
The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV recently released guidelines explaining that Azithromycin is no longer an effective treatment for chlamydia. This is because of increasing levels of bacterial resistance to azithromycin. Instead, the recommended first-line treatment is now only doxycycline.
What To Think About
Some people who have chlamydia may also have gonorrhea. In that case, treatment includes antibiotics that kill both chlamydia and gonorrhea. For more information, see the topic Gonorrhea.
Reinfection can occur. Symptoms that continue after treatment are probably caused by another chlamydia infection rather than treatment failure. To prevent reinfection, sex partners need to be evaluated and treated.
Repeated chlamydia infections increase the risk for pelvic inflammatory disease . Even one infection can lead to PID without proper treatment. Make sure to take your antibiotics exactly as prescribed. Take the full course of medicine, even if you feel better in a couple of days.
Some doctors recommend retesting 3 to 12 months after treatment to reduce the risk of complications from reinfection.footnote 4
If you have chlamydia, your doctor will send a report to the state health department. Your personal information is kept confidential. The health department may contact you about telling your sex partner or partners that they may need treatment.
Frequently Asked Questionsexpand All
- What is a sexually transmitted infection ?
A sexually transmitted infection is an infection spread by sexual contact. There are many STIs. This FAQ focuses on chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. These STIs can cause long-term health problems and problems during pregnancy. Having an STI also increases the risk of getting human immunodeficiency virus if you are exposed to it.
- What is chlamydia?
Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STI in the United States. Chlamydia is caused by a type of bacteria, which can be passed from person to person during vaginal sex, oral sex, or anal sex. Infections can occur in the mouth, reproductive organs, urethra, and rectum. In women, the most common place for infection is the cervix .
- What are the risk factors for chlamydia?
The following factors increase the risk of getting chlamydia:
Having a new sex partner
Having more than one sex partner
Having a sex partner who has more than one sex partner
Having sex with someone who has an STI
Having an STI now or in the past
Not using condoms consistently when not in a mutually monogamous relationship
Exchanging sex for money or drugs
Chlamydia usually does not cause symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they may show up between a few days and several weeks after infection. They may be very mild and can be mistaken for a urinary tract or vaginal infection. The most common symptoms in women include
yellow discharge from the vagina or urethra
yellow vaginal discharge
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How Did I Get Chlamydia If I Didnt Cheat
You can get chlamydia if your partner had vaginal, oral or anal sex with someone who was infected and then had sex with you. People in relationships may have different ideas about what kinds of sexual contact counts as cheating, and this miscommunication can lead to infections. Communicate honestly with your partner about what sex youre having and what sex theyre having. Practice safer sex to reduce your risk of catching chlamydia, and get regularly screened to be sure.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
It can be embarrassing to talk about anything sex-related with your healthcare provider, including STI prevention. But your sex life is an important part of your health that your provider needs to know about to care for you. Not getting the treatment you need for chlamydia can pose serious risks to your health. Speak with your provider about getting regularly screened for chlamydia and other STIs to reduce your risks of complications. Practice safer sex to prevent the spread of chlamydia.
How Is Chlamydia Prevented
You already know chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection. Therefore, the safest and easiest way to prevent chlamydia is sexual abstinence. Other ways chlamydia can be prevented in men and women are
- Use condoms for intercourse
- Get your male or female sexual partners tested for the infection
- Recheck for chlamydia infection after 5 weeks of treatment
- Avoid intercourse while on chlamydia treatment
- Use adult toys with condoms
Now its your turn. Do you have any chlamydia symptoms? Let us know if we can help.
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What Happens If One Does Not Get His Chlamydia Treated
Chlamydia should not be left untreated since it can lead to various health issues. If this infection is diagnosed in the early stages and treated in a timely manner, the risk of various complications is avoided. One can avoid complications with the help of regular screening and medical care as soon as symptoms manifest.
Untreated chlamydia in men is likely to harm their sperm and cause damage to their reproductive tracts, and thus cause permanent infertility.
Some of the complications of untreated chlamydia in men are as follows:
- Urethritis: This is the infection and inflammation of the urethra, which is the tube through which urine passes from the bladder right to the penis. A symptom of this condition is a discharge of mucus with yellow pus or clear mucus from the opening of the penis.
- Epididymitis: This is an infection of the epididymis, which is the structure within the scrotum, that is, the sac that holds the testicle gets inflamed. The symptoms of this condition are redness and inflammation of the scrotum , testicular pain, tenderness, and sweling , painful and frequent urination, painful intercourse and ejaculation, swollen lymph nodes in the groin, discharge from the penis, and blood in semen.
- HIV infection: Untreated chlamydia can increase the risk of getting infected with HIV.
Can Chlamydia Make Men Infertile
Yes, untreated chlamydia may make men infertile in rare cases.
Chlamydia can spread to a manâs testicles and the tubes which carry sperm from the testicles, called epididymis. Both the testicles and epididymis can become painful and swollen. This is a condition known as epididymitis or epididymo-orchitis. It is very rare. Chlamydia infections in testicular tissue may affect a manâs fertility, due to a lower sperm count and lower quality sperm. Antibiotics can treat the infection effectively.
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What Causes Chlamydia In Males
Chlamydial urethritis in men is an infection of the urethra caused by the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia. The urethra carries urine from the bladder, through the penis, and to the outside of the body. This condition often causes swelling and inflammation of the urethra, accompanied by penile discharge.
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What Are The Symptoms
Often people with chlamydia will have no symptoms and will not know that they have the infection.
A chlamydia infection in the rectum may cause discharge from the anus, rectal pain, mucous with stools, painful bowel movements and redness in the anal area.
For men, symptoms can include:
- Clear or mucous-like fluid from the penis
- Pain or a burning feeling when urinating
- Itching or irritation in the urethra the tube that urine passes through
For women, symptoms can include:
- Change in amount and/or colour of fluid from the vagina
- Pain or a burning feeling when urinating
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding or spotting between periods or after sexual intercourse
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Pain during vaginal sex
Chlamydia infection may occur in the throat but does not usually cause symptoms.
Symptoms may appear 2 to 3 weeks after exposure to the bacteria. Sometimes it can take as long as 6 weeks for the symptoms to appear, if at all.