How Is Chlamydia Transmitted
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection caused by Chlamydia trachomatis. Itâs also considered a sexually transmitted infection , which means that it can spread between sex partners through any kind of sexual contact. This contact is not limited to vaginal intercourse you can also contract oral chlamydia through oral sex, although it is a less common cause of Chlamydia trachomatis infections. Because sexual contact increases your risk, itâs a good idea to know if you have an STD before you have intercourse with a new partner.
In short, there are many different ways you can contract or spread chlamydia. To protect your sexual health and the health of your sexual partner, get tested for chlamydia before beginning any new relationship.
Home Remedies For Chlamydia Symptoms
You may still experience painful or uncomfortable symptoms while youre taking chlamydia antibiotics.
Here are some home remedies for reducing your pain and other symptoms while youre waiting for the antibiotics to work:
- pain medications, such as ibuprofen to reduce pain
- cold pack to help limit swelling and inflammation
- goldenseal to reduce inflammation and potentially make symptoms less severe
- echinacea to bolster your immune system against the infection and reduce your symptoms
- turmeric containing an ingredient called curcumin to reduce inflammation and make symptoms less severe
No studies support the effectiveness of these supplements specifically for chlamydia, so take them with caution.
And theres no substitute for antibiotics when treating chlamydia. Only try these remedies if youre already taking antibiotics or if you plan to go to the doctor.
Probability Of Chlamydia Transmission
If someone knows or suspects they have been exposed to chlamydia, they should get tested as soon as possible, so that they can have the infection diagnosed and treated if necessary. They should also abstain from sexual activities until they have been tested and received the all-clear.
That said, if someone has had unprotected sex with an infected person, it does not necessarily mean they definitely have chlamydia.
Estimated transmission rates tend to vary and, as discussed above, the likelihood of infection depends on the sexual act performed but Professor Victoria von Sadovszky, an expert from the Ohio State University College of Nursing, states that the transmission rate from a single unprotected exposure is thought to be around 25 percent.
Other estimates put the male-to-female transmission rate from one sexual instance at 40 percent and the female-to-male transmission rate at 32 percent.
Obviously, the more someone has sex with an infected person, the higher the chances of transmission become.
Using barrier protection can reduce the chances of picking up the infection dramatically. Provided they are used accordingly, condoms are thought to be 99 percent effective at reducing the transmission of STIs.
Find out more about preventing chlamydia transmission on our information page.
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What Can I Do
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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Signs And Symptoms Of Chlamydia In Men
The first thing to be aware of is that chlamydia does not always cause symptoms. It is estimated that 50% of all men who become infected with chlamydia suffer no symptoms at least to begin with. If chlamydia is left untreated it can lead to serious complications such as the infection spreading to the testicles and surrounding tissues resulting in pain and possible reduced fertility.
When chlamydia does cause symptoms, they can be very similar to other STIs such as gonorrhoea. Male symptoms of chlamydia include:
- Pain when urinating
- Itching or burning in the urethra
- Pain and swelling in the testicles
Chlamydia can also infect the throat, eyes and rectum. This means that men can also experience:
- Redness, pain and discharge in the eye
- Discharge from and pain in the rectum
If you notice these kinds of symptoms in yourself, you should get tested as soon as possible. If you notice these kinds of symptoms in a male sexual partner its best to refrain from any sexual activity until they have been tested and received treatment.
In female sexual partners, look out for pain when urinating, abdominal pain, pain during sex and bleeding after sex as these can indicate chlamydia infection.
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Chlamydia Is Really Common
Chlamydia is a SUPER common bacterial infection that you can get from sexual contact with another person. Close to 3 million Americans get it every year, most commonly among 14-24-year-olds.
Chlamydia can be easily cleared up with antibiotics. But if you dont treat chlamydia, it may lead to major health problems in the future. Thats why STD testing is so important the sooner you know you have chlamydia, the faster you can cure it. You can prevent chlamydia by using condoms every time you have sex.
How To Get Tested For Chlamydia
This article was medically reviewed by . Dr. Ziats is an Internal Medicine Physician, Researcher, and Entrepreneur in biotechnology. He received his PhD in Genetics from the University of Cambridge in 2014, and completed his MD shortly thereafter, at Baylor College of Medicine in 2015.There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 15,173 times.
Chlamydia is a relatively common sexually transmitted infection caused by a bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis.XResearch source In 2012, there were 1.4 million reported cases of chlamydia.XResearch sourceCenters for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance, 2012. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services December 2013. Both genders can contract chlamydia , although itâs difficult to know if youâre infected because it doesnât often cause obvious symptoms. As such, itâs important to get tested for chlamydia on a regular basis if youâre at high risk for getting infected because itâs easy to treat, but potentially devastating to your health if left untreated.
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Where Can I Get A Test
There are a number of services you can go to. Choose the one you feel most comfortable with.
A chlamydia test can be done at:
- a genitourinary medicine or sexual health clinic
- your general practice
- contraception and young peoples clinics
- some pharmacies.
Abortion clinics, antenatal services and some gynaecology services may also offer a chlamydia test.
In England, if youre a woman aged under 25 years old, you may be offered a chlamydia test as part of the National Chlamydia Screening Programme when you visit some service for other reasons, for example at a pharmacy or your GP.
The NCSP aims to identify people without symptoms to reduce the complications of untreated infection. If chlamydia is not treated, it can cause health complications, especially in women. Untreated chlamydia in women can cause pain in the pelvis, ectopic pregnancy and infertility .
If you are a woman aged under 25 years old and you are offered a chlamydia test as part of the NCSP you should consider taking it.
In many areas, free home self-sampling tests for chlamydia are available to order online. This is where you take your own sample and send it to be tested. See www.nhs.uk
Its also possible to buy a chlamydia test to do at home. The accuracy of these tests varies. Some types are very accurate when carried out according to the instructions, others can be less reliable. If you buy a testing kit make sure you get advice from a pharmacist or your doctor.
Who Does Chlamydia Affect
Anyone whos sexually active can get chlamydia. The bacteria that causes chlamydia gets transmitted through vaginal fluid and semen, which means that people of all genders who have sex can become infected with chlamydia and infect their partners, too. If youre pregnant and have chlamydia, you can pass it on to your newborn.
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How Long Does It Take To Get The Results Of An Std Test
STI test results can take between five and 10 days. If you have testing done at Planned Parenthood, well contact you ONLY if your results are positive. If this is the case, well give you a call to ask you to come back for follow up. Planned Parenthood does not contact patients if the results are negative.
How To Treat Chlamydia In Men
When the infection is caught early, chlamydia is easy to treat with a short course of antibiotics. Over 95% of people will be cured if they take the antibiotics correctly. The two types of antibiotics most commonly used to treat chlamydia are:
- Azithromycin: Taken as 24 tablets all at once.
- Doxycycline: Taken as 2 capsules each day for a week.
If your doctor is concerned about complications from chlamydia , they might prescribe a longer course of antibiotics.
Youll be advised not to have sex until you and your current sexual partner have finished treatment for chlamydia, or until a week after the 1-day treatment. Its also important to contact any other sexual partners who could have been exposed to infection. A sexual health clinic can help you contact people anonymously, if thats what youd prefer.
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Can You Get Rid Of Chlamydia
Chlamydia can be cured with antibiotics. The best way to cure chlamydia and keep from infecting your partners, is to avoid sex for seven days, until the antibiotics have done their job. If you do end up having sex while the antibiotics are still working it is really important to use a condom or else it is likely the medicine you took wont work. If you got medication to take at home make sure you take all of the pills, even if you start to feel better otherwise the infection might not go away completely.
Causes And Risk Factors
Chlamydia is an STI caused by a specific strain of bacteria known as Chlamydia trachomatis.
Chlamydia is more common in women than in men. In fact, its estimated that the overall rate of infection is for women than men in the United States.
Some of the other risk factors for infection include:
- not using barrier methods like condoms consistently with new sexual partners
- having a sexual partner who is having sex with other people
- having a history of chlamydia or other STIs
Can Chlamydia Be Left Untreated
Chlamydia does not go away on its own and should not be left untreated. Why? Because not getting treated leaves you open to a myriad of risk factors.
Men who dont get treated risk several complications, including swollen testicles , reactive arthritis, and infertility.
Chlamydia may also cause problems with the reproductive system. For example, women who go without treatment run the risk of infection spreading to the uterus and fallopian tubes, resulting in pelvic inflammatory disease and even infertility.
Moreover, the infection in pregnant women can pass to the child during delivery via the birth canal. It can cause pneumonia, eye infections, preterm labour and low birth weight.
Chlamydia screening and treatment for chlamydia during pregnancy can prevent these complications. This is not part of the routine NHS antenatal screening but your midwife or GP can arrange a simple swab test.
Common antibiotic treatments like doxycycline cannot be taken during pregnancy, but azithromycin is safe and effective. If you think you have chlamydia and you are pregnant, you should see your doctor for treatment.
Can I Mistake The Visible Signs For Another Infection
Yes, with chlamydia, its very easy to find these symptoms misleading. The problem is that the bacteria will take time to affect the system, and until 1 to 3 weeks after youve been exposed, you might start to experience the symptoms. So, there is a high chance that the symptoms you are experiencing are caused by a different infection.
What Happens If Chlamydia Isn’t Treated
Only some people who have chlamydia will have complications. If chlamydia is treated early, its unlikely to cause any long-term problems. But, without proper treatment, the infection can spread to other parts of the body. The more times you have chlamydia the more likely you are to get complications.
- If you have a vulva, chlamydia can spread to other reproductive organs causing pelvic inflammatory disease . This can lead to long-term pelvic pain, blocked fallopian tubes, infertility and ectopic pregnancy .
- In people with a vulva, chlamydia can also cause pain and inflammation around the liver, though this is rare. This usually gets better with the correct antibiotic treatment.
Diagnosis And Tests For Chlamydia
Getting a chlamydia test is easy and is the only way to find out if you have chlamydia you can get the test whether or not you have symptoms. Its a good idea to get tested regularly, especially if you have more than one sexual partner, sometimes have unprotected sex, or if youre planning to become pregnant.
If you are aged under 25, live in England and are sexually active, it is recommended that you get tested for STIs every year or every time you have a new sexual partner.
When should I get tested?
Getting tested as soon as possible will reduce the risk of complications caused by chlamydia. You can have a test at any time. Your nurse or doctor may recommend getting another test if your first test is performed less than two weeks after having sex. This is because the test does not always detect chlamydia in the early stages.
You should get tested if:
- A condom split when you were having sex
- A sexual partner tells you they have an STI
- You are concerned that you have an STI
- You are pregnant or trying to get pregnant
- You have had unprotected sex with a new partner, or you or your partner have had unprotected sex with other people
- You or your partner has any chlamydia symptoms
What does the chlamydia test involve?
If you visit a sexual health clinic or your GP refers you to one, they may test for more than one type of STI.
The swab test
In men, a swab can be taken from the urethra.
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Who Is Most Likely To Get Chlamydia
Chlamydia is most common among:
- People under age 25
- People who have more than one sexual contact
- People whose sexual contact have more than one sexual contact
- People who do not use condoms
- People with a history of STIs
Talk to your health care provider if you think you might be at risk for chlamydia.
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:
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How Is Chlamydia Spread How Easy Is It To Get Chlamydia
You can get chlamydia by having vaginal, rectal, or foreplay with a person that has chlamydia.
If you have actually had chlamydia and were dealt with in the past, you can still get contaminated once more. This can happen if you have vulnerable sex with a person who has chlamydia.
If you are expectant, you can give chlamydia to your infant during childbirth.