What Happens If Chlamydia Goes Untreated
If left untreated, chlamydia can live in the body and lead to a variety of complications. Some of the most common and serious include:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease : This can permanently damage the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and uterus.
- Infections in newborns: Pregnant women can pass chlamydia to their baby, who may develop an eye infection or pneumonia.
- Epididymis: This inflammation near the testicles causes pain and swelling that, if left untreated, could affect fertility.
- Sexually acquired reactive arthritis : This condition causes the joints, eyes, or urethra to become inflamed and is more common in men.
What Is It How Do I Get It How Common Is It
Several studies tell us MG is common, perhaps as common as chlamydia.
In research yet to be published, when we tested women who walked through the door of our sexual health service in Melbourne, 6% had MG, which was as common as chlamydia in women in the same study. Of women with MG, roughly the same number had symptoms compared to no symptoms. When we tested gay men without symptoms who attended our service, 10% had MG.
However, were not entirely sure how many people are infected with MG throughout Australia. Thats because Australia has yet to set up a formal surveillance network . MG is also not a notifiable disease yet. That means doctors or laboratories dont have to tell health authorities when they have a case.
How Long After Treatment Can I Have Sex Again
You should avoid being sexually active during treatment for chlamydia because you can still pass the infection to your sex partner during this time, even if you have no symptoms.
How long you should wait to have sex depends on the antibiotic you take.
If your doctor prescribes a single dose of antibiotics, wait until seven days after taking it. If you take a multi-dose antibiotic, wait until youve taken the full course of medication .
Because it is somewhat common to get a repeat infection of chlamydia, its a good idea to be tested for it again about three months after treatment.
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How Long Does It Take For Chlamydia Symptoms To Clear
When taking antibiotics , symptoms usually settle quickly. Pain on passing urine and discharge go within a week, pelvic or testicular pain can take two weeks and menstrual irregularities should improve by the next cycle. Always complete the full course of antibiotic.
Chlamydia is unlikely to go away without treatment. Although symptoms may subside temporarily, infection may persist in the body without treatment. It is important to seek diagnosis and treatment to get rid of the infection.
Can Chlamydia Be Prevented
The only way to prevent chlamydia and other STDs is to not have sex . If someone decides to have sex, they can lower their risk of getting an STD by:
- using a latex condom every time they have sex
- getting tested with any new partners before having sex
- only having sex with one partner
Anyone who is sexually active should get tested for STDs every year .
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Chlamydia Can Return Even After Antibiotic Treatment Because It Survives In The Stomach
Chlamydia, the most common sexually transmitted infection and often a symptom-less one, can usually be treated with antibiotics effectively. But new research shows that oftentimes chlamydia can return with a vengeance, even after treatment.
Research out of the Arkansas Childrens Research Institute has found that if chlamydia survives in the persons stomach, even after it has been cleared away from the genitals by antibiotics, it can re-infect the person.
It is possible that women, cured of genital infection by antibiotics, remain infected in the gastrointestinal tract and can become re-infected by auto-inoculation from that site, Roger Rank, the lead author of the study, wrote.
In a small percentage of recurrent infections, Rank said, infection cannot be attributed to reinfection from a partner or treatment failure so it would appear that in these cases, the organism has remained persistent in the individual. Based on the studies in animals and the experimental mouse model studies and evidence for gastrointestinal infection in humans, we propose that chlamydiae shed in the GI tract may infect the genital tract via auto-inoculation.
How Often Should I Get Checked For Chlamydia
Sexual health check-ups are recommended for anyone who is sexually active. Frequency of testing also depends on your STI risk:
- An annual sexual health check-up is highly recommended if you are sexually active especially if you are under 25.
- Get checked more often during the year if you frequently change sexual partners.
- Remember, you are at greater risk if you have sex without a condom with 1 or multiple sexual partners.
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What Happens If Chlamydia Is Untreated
In the long term, if chlamydia is untreated, the infection may spread across the reproductive system and other organs. Inflammation of the cervix causes odorous vaginal discharge, abnormal bleeding, and pain during intercourse. With more widespread infection involving the Fallopian tubes and uterus, a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease can develop.6
The chlamydia bacteria infects the Fallopian tubes causing swelling and scarring of the tissues. This leads to blockage, and prevents the movement of eggs into the uterus. For this reason, fertilisation becomes a problem, and chlamydia can be responsible for causing infertility.7 Other sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhoea, may also cause PID in the same way.
Scarring of the Fallopian tubes can increase the chance of ectopic pregnancy, where the fertilised egg implants somewhere other than the uterus, for example in the Fallopian tubes. When this occurs, the embryo begins to grow and the tubes can rupture, leading to sudden onset of severe pain and bleeding. This can be life threatening if the embryo is not surgically removed. Therefore, it is important to seek immediate medical attention if you have sudden severe tummy pain with a positive pregnancy test.
Chlamydia can be passed from pregnant women to their unborn child. As such, it is associated with pre-term births, infant eye infections , and lung infections . For this reason, it is important to receive treatment for chlamydia early.
Whats Chlamydia And What Are The Symptoms
The bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis, is the organism which causes chlamydia infection. It can affect the eyes , the joints, the mouth and the genitals of males and females. Chlamydia discharge with severe discomfort while urinating may be an early sign of illness.
It can also be contacted through the sharing of infected towels. Pregnant women with poorly treated infection may transmit chlamydia to their babies during delivery.
Chlamydia can be a silent disease because you can get infected without showing any signs. About 30 70 percent of infected men and women will not have common symptoms at all.
However, this does not rule out complication of chlamydia infection in the long-term. If left for a long time without treatment, chlamydia may cause pelvic inflammatory disease, tubal pregnancy, and difficulty conceiving.
Pelvic inflammatory disease is the upward spread of chlamydia affecting the womb, abdominal area, and Fallopian tubes. PID could potentially cause permanent damage to the Fallopian tubes ultimately causing infertility and ectopic pregnancy.
Short-term adverse effects of chlamydia in men include inflammation of the epididymis, with testes that are hurtful and swollen. This occurs very early after an infection and can contribute to infertility in men.
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How Do You Know If Chlamydia Is Gone After Treatment
If youve had treatment after testing and taking the right antibiotics, its always important to confirm chlamydia cure. You can wait till five weeks after medications and recheck for chlamydia to verify cure.
If you still test positive after five weeks, please let your health professional know right away
What Are Typical Symptoms Of Chlamydia
These are genitourinary symptoms. Men can experience pain, discomfort, or swelling of the testicles, a burning sensation when passing urine, or a genitourinary discharge. Half of infected men have no symptoms. Symptoms for women are a vaginal discharge, bleeding after sexual intercourse, or between periods, a burning sensation when passing urine, and pelvis or lower abdominal pain. Three quarters of infected women have no symptoms.
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How Long Does It Take For Chlamydia To Go Away After Taking The Medicine
In most cases, chlamydia disappears within one to two weeks. During this time, you should avoid sex in order to prevent the spread of the disease. It is possible for your doctor to prescribe a one-dose medication or a medication you will take every day for about a week. It is recommended that you wait 7 days before having sex again if you are prescribed a one-dose pill.
What Can You Do To Relieve Your Symptoms
No home remedy for chlamydia can replace antibiotics. Chlamydia is a bacterial infection, so you need to take antibiotics to cure it.
However, there are a few ways you can soothe symptoms while you wait for the antibiotics to get to work. For example:
- Use pain medications, such as ibuprofen to reduce pain
- Use a cold pack to soothe inflammation.
- A herb called goldenseal might reduce inflammation and other symptoms.
- Use an echinacea supplement aid your immune system.
Remember that these home remedies might soothe the symptoms of chlamydia, but they dont actually cure chlamydia in itself. The best way to soothe the symptoms is to use antibiotics.
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Why Is Treatment Of Chlamydia Important
When treated early, chlamydia does not cause any long-term complications. Left untreated, serious and permanent damage can occur.
It may lead to pelvic inflammatory disease . This is when female reproductive organs, found in your pelvis, become inflamed. PID may cause ectopic pregnancies , infertility or chronic pelvic pain.
If not treated, chlamydia can spread to testicles, leading to pain and swelling. Chlamydia may occasionally cause infertility in men. Sometimes chlamydia may trigger a condition called Reiter’s disease which causes inflammation of your eyes, skin and joints.
Chlamydia can be passed from mother to baby during birth. The baby may subsequently develop eye and/or ear infections or pneumonia.
How Do I Know If I Have Chlamydia
Chlamydia often has no symptoms, but it can cause serious health problems, even without symptoms. If symptoms occur, they may not appear until several weeks after having sex with a partner who has chlamydia.
Even when chlamydia has no symptoms, it can damage a womans reproductive system. Women with symptoms may notice
- An abnormal vaginal discharge and
- A burning sensation when peeing.
Symptoms in men can include
- A burning sensation when peeing and
- Pain and swelling in one or both testicles .
See a healthcare provider if you notice any of these symptoms. You should also see a provider if your partner has an STD or symptoms of one. Symptoms can include
- An unusual sore
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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 didnt take it properly
- your symptoms dont go away
- youre pregnant
If youre under 25 years of age, you should be offered a repeat test for chlamydia 3 to 6 months after finishing your treatment because youre at a higher risk of catching it again.
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What Happens If You Dont Seek Treatment
If you take your antibiotics as directed, chlamydia is likely to go away. But if its left untreated, it can cause a few complications.
For example, if you have a vulva, you could develop pelvic inflammatory disease . PID is a painful infection that could damage your uterus, cervix, and ovaries.
Untreated chlamydia can also lead to scarred fallopian tubes, which can cause infertility.
If youre pregnant, untreated chlamydia can be transmitted to the baby during vaginal delivery. Chlamydia can cause eye infections and pneumonia in newborns.
Untreated chlamydia can lead to epididymitis, which is when the epididymis becomes inflamed, causing pain.
Chlamydia can also spread to the prostate gland, which can lead to painful sex, lower back pain, and a fever.
Fortunately, treatment for chlamydia is relatively straightforward. And if its treated quickly, youre unlikely to experience any long-term complications.
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What Do I Need To Know If I Get Treated For Chlamydia
If youre getting treated for chlamydia:
- Take all of your medicine the way your nurse or doctor tells you to, even if any symptoms you may be having go away sooner. The infection stays in your body until you finish the antibiotics.
- Your partner should also get treated for chlamydia so you dont re-infect each other or anyone else.
- Dont have sex for 7 days. If you only have 1 dose of medication, wait for 7 days after you take it before having sex. If youre taking medicine for 7 days, dont have sex until youve finished all of your pills.
- Get tested again in 3-4 months to make sure your infection is gone.
- Dont share your medicine with anyone. Your nurse or doctor may give you a separate dose of antibiotics for your partner. Make sure you both take all of the medicine you get.
- Even if you finish your treatment and the chlamydia is totally gone, its possible to get a new chlamydia infection again if youre exposed in the future. Chlamydia isnt a one-time-only deal. So use condoms and get tested regularly.
How Common Is Chlamydia
In 2017, greater than 1.7 million cases of chlamydia were reported to the Centers for Condition Control and Prevention . Nonetheless, lots of instances go unreported, so the real variety of chlamydia infections each year might be closer to 3 million.
Males and female can both obtain the infection, but more instances in ladies are reported.
Infection rates are highest among more youthful females, with the highest prices of infection happening in ladies in between ages 15 as well as 24.
The CDC recommends that all sexually energetic ladies ages 25 years and younger obtain screened for chlamydia yearly, in addition to older women with risk factors like multiple or new partners.
Statistically, a person is more probable to get an STI if theyve made love with greater than someone. Various other risk aspects include having had an STI in the past, or currently have an infection due to the fact that this can lower resistance.
Prices for chlamydia and other STIs have been climbing up in the last few years.
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Testing And Treating Sexual Partners
If you test positive for chlamydia, its important that your current sexual partner and any other recent sexual partners youve had are also tested and treated.
A specialist sexual health adviser can help you contact your recent sexual partners, or the clinic can contact them for you if you prefer.
Either you or someone from the clinic can speak to them, or the clinic can send them a note to let them know they may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection .
The note will suggest that they go for a check-up. It will not have your name on it, so your confidentiality will be protected.
Page last reviewed: 01 September 2021 Next review due: 01 September 2024
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How Is Chlamydia Spread
It can also spread from an infected pregnant woman to her baby during childbirth, and it can infect the eyes if fluids containing chlamydia trachomatis get in them.
If someone has chlamydia and is sexually active before finishing their full treatment , they can still spread chlamydia.
And anyone who has had chlamydia and successfully treated it can get infected again.
Using barrier protection during sexual intercourse can decrease the risk.
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When To See A Healthcare Professional
If you suspect you have chlamydia, see a healthcare professional as soon as possible. Abstain from allsexual activity until your appointment.
If you arent comfortable getting tested for STIs with your usual provider, you can find a clinic in your area.
There are many free or low-cost clinics. Heres how to find one near you.
You can also visit GetTested or call CDC Info at 800-232-4636 to find local clinics.
My Symptoms Haven’t Cleared
There are several possible explanations. The symptoms could have a cause other than chlamydia. You can have more than one sexually transmitted infection at the same time, so you will need to be tested for other infections. There are also non-STI causes such as a lower urinary tract infection or, in women, endometriosis. You may have been re-infected with chlamydia if you had unprotected sex with an infected or partially treated partner. Rarely, the infection is resistant to a particular antibiotic treatment and therefore does not clear. Your GP or local GUM clinic would be able to help work out what is happening.
You may need a repeat chlamydia test .
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How To Know If You Have Chlamydia
Chlamydia is incredibly difficult to diagnose due to its symptomless nature for 70% of women and 50% of men. The only certain way to know that you have chlamydia is to get tested. If you do have symptoms then you will still need to be tested to effectively diagnose that the symptoms are caused by chlamydia. If youre sexually active, you should get tested regularly whether you have symptoms or not.
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