Benefits Of Early Detection And Treatment
The USPSTF reviewed 4 trials and concluded that screening was associated with reduced risk of PID vs no screening.49-52 One recent large, good-quality trial of men and women in primary care clinics found that screening for chlamydia was associated with a reduction in risk of hospital-diagnosed PID compared with usual care , but the absolute difference was small . No differences were seen in rates of PID or epididymitis in clinics.52 No studies reported the association between screening and disease acquisition or transmission or between screening and clinical outcomes other than PID or epididymitis.19
The USPSTF previously found fair-quality evidence that treatment of chlamydial infection during pregnancy is associated with improved outcomes for infants and mothers.53,54 The USPSTF reviewed large cohort studies of screening at the first prenatal visit in pregnant women at increased risk for infection. These studies found that treatment of chlamydial infection was associated with significantly lower rates of preterm delivery, early rupture of membranes, and infants with low birth weight compared with no treatment or treatment failure.53,54 No subsequent studies met inclusion criteria for the current USPSTF review.19,32
How Is Chlamydia Treated
If your chlamydia test results come back positive, the next step is to receive treatment for this STD.
In general, oral antibiotics are prescribed to treat the infection. Itâs important to finish the full course of antibioticsâeven if your symptoms go away early on during treatment. Also, your healthcare provider may recommend that your sexual partner receives treatment for chlamydia, as well.
If you have any specific questions about your treatment, be sure to ask your healthcare provider for more information.
It Is Easy To Get Tested For Chlamydia
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection that can affect both men and women. While both genders can be affected, the specific effects and method of diagnosis for the bacterial infection differs between male patients and female patients. We looked at the methods used to assist in the diagnosis of chlamydia among men in this post, as well as some particular factors that are unique to a male patient with this condition.
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How Common Is Chlamydia
CDC estimates that there were four million chlamydial infections in 2018.3 Chlamydia is also the most frequently reported bacterial sexually transmitted infection in the United States.4 However, a large number of cases are not reported because most people with chlamydia are asymptomatic and do not seek testing. Chlamydia is most common among young people. Two-thirds of new chlamydial infections occur among youth aged 15-24 years.3 It is estimated that 1 in 20 sexually active young women aged 14-24 years has chlamydia.5
Disparities persist among racial and ethnic minority groups. In 2019, reported chlamydia rates for African Americans/Blacks were nearly six times that of Whites.4 Chlamydia is also common among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men . Among MSM screened for rectal chlamydial infection, positivity has ranged from 3.0% to 10.5%.6,7 Among MSM screened for pharyngeal chlamydial infection, positivity has ranged from 0.5% to 2.3%.7.8
Gonorrhea And Chlamydia: Knowing The Difference
Medically reviewed by Neka Miller, PhD on March 26, 2020. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
Both gonorrhea and chlamydia are sexually transmitted infections that share a number of similarities. Theyâre both very common STIs . Their symptoms often resemble each other. And they can both have long-term health consequences if they arenât treated. So whatâs the difference between these two?
Keep reading for a closer look at the symptoms of chlamydia vs. gonorrhea, how they can affect your health, and how you can check for both STIs with a single chlamydia and gonorrhea test you can take at home.
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Why Should I Test For Both
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are both caused by bacteria, display similar symptoms, and often occur together. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are also recognized as co-existing infections, which means that the occurrence of one infection may put you at risk of having the other. This is why we suggest that you be tested for both.
Chlamydia And Gonorrhea Symptoms
The symptoms of chlamydia and gonorrhea overlap, so it can be difficult to differentiate between the two unless you visit your healthcare provider or take a test for chlamydia or gonorrhea.
The overlapping symptoms for chlamydia and gonorrhea in men and women include:
- A burning sensation during urination
- Abnormal genital or rectal discharge
- Pain in the rectum
- Sore throat
With both chlamydia or gonococcal infections , men might also experience swelling and pain in the testicles and/or scrotum.
In women, both a gonorrhea and chlamydia infection might be mistaken for a yeast infection. Women may also experience painful periods, bleeding between periods, pain during sex, or abdominal pain.
Although the symptoms overlap, the discharge caused by chlamydia vs. gonorrhea can vary slightly. For a chlamydia infection, a womanâs vaginal discharge might have a strong odor and yellowish tint. Men might have a cloudy or clear discharge. With gonorrhea, both women and men may experience green, yellow, or white discharge.
If you’re a woman experiencing abnormal vaginal discharge or a man with abnormal penile discharge, be sure to consult your healthcare provider as soon as possible as this is a common sign of an infection.
Can Chlamydia Turn Into Gonorrhea
No, chlamydia on its own cannot turn into gonorrhea as they are caused by two different bacteria.
It does happen that people contract and carry both chlamydia and gonorrhea bacteria, so you can have them at the same time. Also, having one increases your likelihood of contracting another thus, it is always important to be treated for both.
What Are The Symptoms Of Chlamydia
Chlamydia is known as a silent infection because most infected people are asymptomatic and lack abnormal physical examination findings. Estimates of the proportion of chlamydia-infected people who develop symptoms vary by setting and study methodology two published studies that incorporated modeling techniques to address limitations of point prevalence surveys estimated that only about 10% of men and 5-30% of women with laboratory-confirmed chlamydial infection develop symptoms.21.22 The incubation period of chlamydia is poorly defined. However, given the relatively slow replication cycle of the organism, symptoms may not appear until several weeks after exposure in those persons who develop symptoms.
In women, the bacteria initially infect the cervix, where the infection may cause signs and symptoms of cervicitis , and sometimes the urethra, which may result in signs and symptoms of urethritis . Infection can spread from the cervix to the upper reproductive tract , causing pelvic inflammatory disease , which may be asymptomatic 23 or acute, with typical symptoms of abdominal and/or pelvic pain, along with signs of cervical motion tenderness, and uterine or adnexal tenderness on examination.
Men who are symptomatic typically have urethritis, with a mucoid or watery urethral discharge and dysuria. A minority of infected men develop epididymitis , presenting with unilateral testicular pain, tenderness, and swelling.24
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Symptoms Of Gonorrhea And Chlamydia
Sometimes someone with gonorrhea or chlamydia does not show any symptoms.
In fact, 75% of women and 50% of men with chlamydia exhibit no symptoms.
It is unclear how common it is with gonorrhea, but some estimates are that the majority of men and women show no symptoms.
Even with no symptoms, it is still possible to transmit the disease and damage the reproductive system. The key signs of gonorrhea and chlamydia can appear within one to three weeks after having sex with a partner with the STD.
There are some differences in how both STDs present in men vs women, but in general the most common reported symptoms in both men and women are:
- Discharge For chlamydia, women may have vaginal discharge that has a strong odor or is yellowish, and men may have cloudy or clear discharge around the tip of the penis. For Gonorrhea, women and men may have discharge from the vagina or penis that is green, yellow, or white.
- Burning sensation while urinating Also called dysuria, this symptom is common with other STDs and is an important sign to get tested.
- Painful, burning sensations in infected area For both STDs, this is most common inside the vagina for women and the penal opening for men. Additionally, throat infections from oral sex are common and can result in swollen glands in the throat.
Women can also have painful periods, bleeding between periods, pain during sex, abdominal pain, or a fever.
- Rectal pain
How Do You Get Chlamydia And Gonorrhea
Engaging with numerous sexual partners in a single year The more accomplices who connect with, the almost certain you will be presented to a contaminated individual and agreement a STD.
- Having unprotected sex Condoms can decrease the probability of you getting a STD nonetheless, condoms are rarely 100% compelling. In the event that you are concerned you may have a STD, you ought to get tried whether or not you utilized a condom in your last sexual experience.
- More youthful than 24 Individuals more youthful than 24 will in general practice unprotected sex more regularly than other age gatherings and are less inclined to be tested.
- Past conclusion of a STD Having just gotten a STD expands your bodys defenselessness to getting another STD. It very well may be regular for the individuals who have contracted chlamydia to be in danger of contracting gonorrhea or HIV. In the event that you contract gonorrhea, you are at a more serious danger of contracting HIV.
Male Complications Of Untreated Chlamydia
These are just some of the most common complications of untreated chlamydia, which is why its important to get medical attention right away. Most people who get treatment quickly have no long-term medical problems.
How Is Each Condition Transmitted
Both STIs are caused by bacterial infections that are transmitted through unprotected sexual contact, meaning sex without using a condom, dental dam, or another protective barrier between you and your partner during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
Its also possible to contract the infection through sexual contact that doesnt involve penetration. For example, if your genitals come into contact with the genitals of someone whos contracted the infection, its possible to develop the condition.
Both STIs can also be contracted through protected sex with a condom or other barrier if you dont use protection properly, or if the barrier breaks.
Either STI can be contracted even if you arent showing visible symptoms. Both STIs can also be transmitted to a child at birth if the mother has either condition.
Youre at increased risk for developing these and other STIs if you:
- have multiple sexual partners at one time
- dont properly use protection, such as condoms, female condoms, or dental dams
- regularly use douches which can irritate your vagina, killing healthy vaginal bacteria
- have contracted an STI before
Sexual assault can also increase your risk of both chlamydia or gonorrhea.
Both STIs can be diagnosed using similar diagnostic methods. Your doctor may use one or more of these tests to ensure that the diagnosis is accurate and that the right treatment is given:
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Accuracy Of Screening Tests And Risk Assessment
The USPSTF found convincing evidence that clinicians could identify sexually active women at increased risk for chlamydial and gonococcal infections. It found adequate evidence that clinicians could identify sexually active men at increased risk for chlamydial and gonococcal infections. Seven new fair-quality studies with more than 93,000 participants were included in the analysis.34-39 In asymptomatic individuals, 3 studies with 71,636 participants that used a risk score to identify persons with chlamydial or gonococcal infections reported an area under the curve of 0.64 to 0.73.34-36 One study showed that age alone had accuracy similar to that for the use of more extensive risk criteria.39
Complications From Chlamydia And Gonorrhea
Because these two diseases often have no symptoms, some people go untreated.
Even with those who have symptoms, stigma, access, or other reasons get in the way of getting medical attention.
Not receiving prompt and proper treatment can create serious health problems.
For women, chlamydia and gonorrhea that goes untreated can spread through your uterus to your fallopian tubes.
Fallopian tubes connect the ovaries to the uterus and transport fertilized eggs during pregnancy. If untreated bacteria that cause gonorrhea and chlamydia spread to this area, the result is pelvic inflammatory disease , affecting around 5% of women in the US.
Pelvic inflammatory disease, similar to chlamydia and gonorrhea, can have no symptoms or just some pelvic or abdominal pain initially.
Unfortunately, PID can do permanent damage to a womens reproductive system, including:
For men, gonorrhea and chlamydia can also lead to serious health problems.
It is uncommon for either to cause infertility in men, but sometimes the infection can spread past the penis causing fever or pain.
One difference is that chlamydia can also spread to the urethra, causing Non-Gonococcal urethritis, which is an infection of the tube that carries urine resulting in inflammation, pain, and fever.
This cannot be caused by the bacteria that causes gonorrhea. However, for both diseases, it is possible for either to cause:
For both women and men, chlamydia and gonorrhea can develop into a form of arthritis:
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Harms Of Screening And Treatment
The USPSTF reviewed several studies, including 4 recent studies , assessing harms of site-specific chlamydia and gonorrhea testing as well as harms of collection methods in women. The false- positive, false-negative, false alarm, and false reassurance rates varied by anatomical site but were overall generally low across all NAATs and specimen types.19,32
How Do The Symptoms Compare
Both men and women can get chlamydia or gonorrhea and never develop any symptoms.
With chlamydia, symptoms may not appear for a few weeks after youve contracted the infection. And with gonorrhea, women may never experience any symptoms at all or may only show mild symptoms, while men are more likely to have symptoms that are more severe.
A couple of the most telltale symptoms of these STIs overlap between the two , such as:
- burning when you pee
- abnormal, discolored discharge from the penis or vagina
- abnormal discharge from the rectum
- pain in the rectum
- bleeding from the rectum
With both gonorrhea and chlamydia, men may also experience abnormal swelling in their testicles and scrotum, and pain when they ejaculate.
You may also develop symptoms that affect your throat if you engage in oral sex with someone who has one of these conditions. This can cause mouth and throat symptoms, including sore throat and a cough.
Who Is At Risk For Chlamydia
Any sexually active person can be infected with chlamydia. It is a very common STD, especially among young people.3 It is estimated that 1 in 20 sexually active young women aged 14-24 years has chlamydia.5
Sexually active young people are at high risk of acquiring chlamydia for a combination of behavioral, biological, and cultural reasons. Some young people dont use condoms consistently.15 Some adolescents may move from one monogamous relationship to the next more rapidly than the likely infectivity period of chlamydia, thus increasing risk of transmission.16 Teenage girls and young women may have cervical ectopy .17 Cervical ectopy may increase susceptibility to chlamydial infection. The higher prevalence of chlamydia among young people also may reflect multiple barriers to accessing STD prevention services, such as lack of transportation, cost, and perceived stigma.16-20
Men who have sex with men are also at risk for chlamydial infection since chlamydia can be transmitted by oral or anal sex. Among MSM screened for rectal chlamydial infection, positivity has ranged from 3.0% to 10.5%.6.7 Among MSM screened for pharyngeal chlamydial infection, positivity has ranged from 0.5% to 2.3%.7.8
Am I At Risk For Gonorrhea
Any sexually active person can get gonorrhea through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
If you are sexually active, have an honest and open talk with your health care provider and ask whether you should be tested for gonorrhea or other STDs. If you are a sexually active man who is gay, bisexual, or who has sex with men, you should be tested for gonorrhea every year. If you are a sexually active woman younger than 25 years or an older woman with risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners, or a sex partner who has a sexually transmitted infection, you should be tested for gonorrhea every year.
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What Measures Can I Take To Prevent These Conditions
The only way that you can completely prevent yourself from catching chlamydia, gonorrhea, or another STI is by abstaining from sexual activity.
But there are also plenty of ways you can reduce your risk of contracting or transmitting these infections: