What You Need To Know:
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection caused by bacteria. Chlamydia is spread during oral, vaginal, or anal sex. The infection most often affects the urethra, rectum, or throat. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from your bladder to the outside of your body. Anyone with multiple sex partners is at higher risk for chlamydia. Your risk is also increased if you have another STI, such as gonorrhea.
What Happens If Chlamydia Goes Untreated
If a person is not treated for chlamydia, complications may occur. Women frequently develop pelvic inflammatory disease . PID can cause infertility , chronic pelvic pain, tubal pregnancies, and the continued spread of the disease. In men, untreated chlamydia can cause urethral infection and complications such as swollen and tender testicles. Chlamydia infection during pregnancy may result in premature rupture of membranes, preterm delivery and possible tubal pregnancy in a small percent of women. In addition, chlamydia can cause conjunctival and pneumonic infection in the newborn. Persons with a chlamydia infection have an increased chance of getting other infections such as gonorrhea or HIV.
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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How Is Chlamydia Screening Done
A person can test for chlamydia at home or in the lab. They can take either a urine sample or a swab.
- Females can take a swab, place it in a container, and send it to a laboratory.
- Males will usually use a urine test.
A doctor can advise individuals on the best option. They may also recommend rectal or throat testing, especially for people who are living with HIV.
Home screening tests are available, but it is not always easy to do them correctly at home. A healthcare provider will usually recommend following up on any home tests by visiting a doctors office.
The person will likely need to provide a urine sample for a test to confirm a diagnosis. After treatment, they will need to retake the test to ensure that the treatment has worked.
If anyone wishes to try home testing, chlamydia screening test kits are available for purchase online.
What Are The Symptoms Of Chlamydia In Women
Women may take several weeks to exhibit any symptoms. Many times, there may be no symptoms. Some common symptoms of chlamydia in women include:
- Burning or stinging sensation during urination
- Painful urination
- Infection in the anus
- Throat infection throat pain, cough and fever
Infection can spread to the fallopian tubes, resulting in a serious condition called pelvic inflammatory disease . This is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical attention. Symptoms of PID include:
What Are The Symptoms Of Chlamydia Infection
Symptoms of chlamydia infection often go unnoticed. Some people experience symptoms within a few weeks of exposure , whereas for others, symptoms may take months to appear. Sometimes, the symptoms disappear on their own, but the infection persists .
The symptoms include the following:
Symptoms in females
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.
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What Are The Prominent Chlamydia Symptoms In Men
Actually, no one can easily ensure that his body has some trouble due to the silent infection because its symptoms are rarely reflected. But once if they start occurring then they can be easily noticed even within few weeks. Medical doctors say that symptoms of Chlamydia in men can be random and infrequent so most of the time patients are not able to know if they are in contact with the infection.
Some of the most common signs of Chlamydia in men include:
- Very small cloudy or clear Chlamydia discharge in men from penis tip.
- It can cause painful urination.
- Leads to itching and burning sensation around penis openings.
- Swelling and pain in the area surrounding testicles.
Major symptoms of Chlamydia are observed for genitals but in few cases it can affect rectum, eyes and throat. Note that, the actual effect varies with type of transmission. Few uncommon symptoms of chlamydia in men can include:
- Throat infections.
- Rectal bleeding, discharge or pain.
Chlamydia Symptoms All Women Should Know
Chlamydia, an STI caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis, is most prevalent in women under 25, but any sexually active person is at risk. Its actually really common in both men and women, and can be spread via vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Unfortunately, chlamydia symptoms can be easy to miss.
The STI is sometimes called a silent infection, meaning that most people dont experience symptoms, according to the CDC. This is especially problematic for women. If chlamydia is left untreated, it can spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes and cause pelvic inflammatory disease. Both PID and untreated chlamydia can cause permanent scarring in the reproductive organs, blocking sperm and eggs from meeting and leading to infertility. In fact, about 25 percent of infertility cases are due to obstructed fallopian tubes, Meike L. Uhler, M.D., a reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist at the Fertility Centers of Illinois, tells SELF. In some cases, this can be fixed surgically. In others, it cannot be reversed.
Pregnant women with chlamydia are more likely to deliver prematurely, and can pass the infection to their babies, causing eye infection or pneumonia.
Lots of things can change how your discharge looks, smells, and feels. A smelly, yellow-green color can be an indication of an infection like chlamydia.
Especially if the infection has been left untreated for a while and has caused PID, you may experience lower abdominal pain.
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Can You Recognise Chlamydia From Pictures
Can you tell you if have chlamydia by comparing your visible symptoms with pictures?
No. You cannot tell if you have chlamydia just from the appearance. While you might notice some irritation of the genital area, swelling or discharge, these symptoms can also be caused by other infections. The only way to know that an infection is caused by chlamydia is to have a test.
Could a doctor tell you have chlamydia by looking at visible symptoms?
No. The only way to find out if you have chlamydia is to get tested. After a physical examination your GP may suspect you have chlamydia, but they wont be able to confirm a diagnosis without proper testing.
Could the visible symptoms of chlamydia be mistaken for something else?
Yes, but in many cases chlamydia is symptomless. Symptoms may not occur until 1-3 weeks after you have been infected. The symptoms can also be random and infrequent which can lead individuals to overlook that an infection may be causing the symptoms. It could be that your visible symptoms are a result of a different infection.
Follow Up With Your Doctor As Directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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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
- Occasionally, Reiters syndrome
- Urethritis inflammation of the urethra with a yellow discharge appearing at the tip of the penis. Untreated urethritis results in narrowing of the urethra which leads to painful urinating and can cause kidney problems
What Are The Symptoms Of Chlamydia In Men
Men usually dont notice the symptoms of chlamydia, and most men dont exhibit any symptoms at all. Symptoms may appear one to three weeks after contracting the infection. Some common symptoms of chlamydia in men include:
- Burning or stinging sensation during urination
- Pain during urination
- Milky or yellow pus discharge from the penis
- Infection in the anus
- Throat infection throat pain, cough and fever
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How Does Chlamydia Affect A Pregnant Woman And Her Baby
In pregnant women, untreated chlamydia has been associated with pre-term delivery,34 as well as ophthalmia neonatorum and pneumonia in the newborn. In published prospective studies, chlamydial conjunctivitis has been identified in 18-44% and chlamydial pneumonia in 3-16% of infants born to women with untreated chlamydial cervical infection at the time of delivery.9-12 Neonatal prophylaxis against gonococcal conjunctivitis routinely performed at birth does not effectively prevent chlamydial conjunctivitis.37-39
Screening and treatment of chlamydia in pregnant women is the best method for preventing neonatal chlamydial disease. All pregnant women should be screened for chlamydia at their first prenatal visit. Pregnant women under 25 and those at increased risk for chlamydia should be screened again in their third trimester. Pregnant women with chlamydial infection should be retested 3 weeks and 3 months after completion of recommended therapy.40
How Common Is Chlamydia
Chlamydia is the most common STI caused by bacteria. Nearly 2 million cases of chlamydia were reported to the CDC in 2019. The number of infections is likely even higher. When compared to previous years, 2019 infection rates increased among people of all genders, all races and ethnicities, and in every region of the U.S. Most cases of chlamydia are asymptomatic, which means there are no signs or symptoms of an infection. Many of these cases likely go unreported.
Certain demographic characteristics may make you more likely to get diagnosed with chlamydia. Youre more likely to get diagnosed if youre:
- A teen or young adult aged 15 to 24. More than half of all diagnosed chlamydia cases in the U.S. occur in this age group.
- A cisgender woman aged 15 to 24. Young women in this age group are targeted for chlamydia screenings, and the rate of infection among those who are tested is high.
- A man who has sex with men . Chlamydia infections disproportionately affect men who have sex with men.
- Black and non-Hispanic. Chlamydia infections disproportionately affect non-Hispanic Black populations.
What Is A Uti
A urinary tract infection, or UTI, refers to a bacterial infection in any part of your urinary system, including the urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys. Most UTIs affect the lower urinary tract, comprising the urethra and bladder. UTIs can become more severe as they reach the kidneys.
Symptoms of a urinary tract infection include:
- A frequent, persistent urge to urinate
- Burning sensation or pain when urinating
- Frequently passing small amounts of urine
- Urine appearing cloudy, red, bright pink, or cola-colored
- Urine that has a strong smell
- Pelvic pain
What Happens If Chlamydia Goes Untreated For 2 Years
In most cases, chlamydia symptoms will occur within weeks of exposure. Chlamydia symptoms usually appear within one to three weeks after being infected. They can range in severity levels.
Different cases of chlamydia can progress at different rates. If left untreated, some cases of chlamydia could cause important symptoms and even complications in just a few months, while others could take a longer time such as 2 years before any complications appear and cause damage to the reproductive system.
Chlamydial infections in women may spread to the uterus or fallopian tubes and cause pelvic inflammatory disease which may damage the fallopian tubes and uterus and cause chronic pain, infertility, and ectopic pregnancy. Women who have chlamydia also are at much greater risk for becoming infected with HIV. In men, complications from chlamydia are rare.
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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.
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 Is Chlamydia Treated
Chlamydia can be cleared up with antibiotics in about a week or two. But dont stop taking your medication just because your symptoms improve. Ask your provider about what follow-up is needed to be sure your infection is gone after youve finished taking your medicine.
Part of your treatment should also include avoiding sexual activities that could cause you to get re-infected and ensuring that any sexual partners who may be infected also get treatment. You should:
- Abstain from sex until your infection has cleared up. Starting treatment doesnt mean that youre in the clear. Take all your medication as your provider directs, and avoid all sexual contact in the meantime.
- Contact all sexual partners. Tell any sexual partners from the last 3 months that youre infected so that they can get tested, too.
- Get tested for other STIs . Its common to have multiple STIs, and its important to receive treatment thats tailored to each infection.
Antibiotics can get rid of your infection, but they cant reverse any harm the bacteria may have caused to your body before treatment. This is why its so important to get screened regularly for chlamydia, to see your provider at the first sign of symptoms, and get treatment immediately if youre infected.
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
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Chlamydia Symptoms In Women:
- testicular pain and/or swelling
- swollen skin around the anus
Depending on the localization of the infection, women, men and children may experience inflamed rectum, urethra or eyelids. The symptoms of mouth and throat infections are rare although a person can suffer a sore throat. Eyes infected with chlamydia can be itchy, swelled, cause painful sensations or produce discharge similar to conjunctivitis. Infection in the rectum results in bleeding, chlamydia discharge and pain.
How Is It Treated
Antibiotics are used to treat chlamydia. It’s important to take all of the medicine as directed. Otherwise the medicine may not work. Both sex partners need treatment to keep from passing the infection back and forth.
As soon as you find out you have chlamydia, be sure to let your sex partners know. Experts recommend that you notify everyone you’ve had sex with in the past 2 months. If you have not had sex in the past 2 months, contact the last person you had sex with.
Having a chlamydia infection that was cured does not protect you from getting it again. If you are treated and your sex partner is not, you probably will get it again.
Some people who have chlamydia also have other STIs, such as gonorrhea.
Finding out that you have an STI may make you feel bad about yourself or about sex. Counseling or a support group may help you feel better.
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