When Should I Get Chlamydia Testing
As most people infected with chlamydia do not experience symptoms, doctors rely on screening to detect most cases of chlamydia. Screening guidelines vary based on many factors, including a persons anatomy, health, and sexual practices. Regular screening for chlamydia is recommended for several groups:
Certain factors increase the risk of contracting chlamydia and may affect how often a person should be screened. Risk factors include having:
- Sex with a new partner
- More than one sexual partner or a partner who has sex with mutiple people
- A sex partner diagnosed with an STD
Testing for chlamydia is more frequently conducted in asymptomatic people in settings where infection rates are high, which often includes correctional facilities, adolescent health clinics, the military, and sexual health clinics.
Diagnostic chlamydia testing is recommended for anyone with signs or symptoms of this infection. When symptoms do occur, they may not appear until a few weeks after exposure. Signs and symptoms of chlamydia can vary based on the site of infection but may include:
- Burning during urination
- Abnormal discharge from the vagina, penis, or rectum
- Vaginal bleeding after sex or pain during intercourse
- Pain, tenderness, or swelling in the testicles or scrotum
- Rectal pain
What Is The Treatment For Chlamydia
Since its a bacterial infection, chlamydia is treated with oral antibiotics. Depending on the severity of the infection, youll need to take your prescription for 5 to 10 days. Be sure to finish the entire prescription. Just because your symptoms improve, doesnt mean the infection has fully cleared.
Youll also need to avoid all sexual activity during the course of your treatment until the infection clears up. This will reduce the risk of reinfection or transmitting the infection.
Due to the prevalence of chlamydia, its important to get annual tests if you:
- are under the age of 25 and are also sexually active, especially if youre female
- have sex with multiple partners
- have a history of STIs, or are treating another type of STI
- dont use condoms regularly
- are male and you have sex with other men
- have a partner who has told you theyve recently tested positive for chlamydia
You may need to get tested more often than once a year.
If youre pregnant, youll need to get a chlamydia test during your first prenatal appointment. Your gynecologist or midwife may also recommend another test later in your pregnancy if you have any of the above risk factors.
Chlamydia can cause complications in pregnant women, but also lead to problems at birth, such as pneumonia and eye infections.
After youve had chlamydia, you should get retested
Urine Testing Vs Bacterial Culture
Urine testing is currently primarily used to detect bacterial STIs. Chlamydia and gonorrhea urine tests are widely available. Trichomoniasis urine tests are also available, but they are less common.
The gold standard for diagnosing bacterial STIs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, used to be a bacterial culture. That involved attempting to grow bacteria out of samples that were taken directly from the cervix or urethra.
These days, bacterial DNA testing is considered a better option. It works differently than a bacterial culture. Instead of trying to grow bacteria, these tests just look for bacterial DNA. This can be done using a process called ligase chain reaction or with other DNA amplification techniques.
These types of testing are sensitive to even very small amounts of bacterial DNA. Even better, they do not require a live bacterial sample. As such, they can be run on urine samplesnot just urethral or cervical swabs.
For most people, the thought of getting a gonorrhea urine test or chlamydia urine test is a lot less intimidating than the thought of needing a physical exam.
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What Happens If I Dont Get Treated
The initial damage that chlamydia causes often goes unnoticed. However, chlamydia can lead to serious health problems.
If you are a woman, untreated chlamydia can spread to your uterus and fallopian tubes . This can cause pelvic inflammatory disease . PID often has no symptoms, however some women may have abdominal and pelvic pain. Even if it doesnt cause symptoms initially, PID can cause permanent damage to your reproductive system. PID can lead to long-term pelvic pain, inability to get pregnant, and potentially deadly ectopic pregnancy .
Men rarely have health problems linked to chlamydia. Infection sometimes spreads to the tube that carries sperm from the testicles, causing pain and fever. Rarely, chlamydia can prevent a man from being able to have children.
Can I Take The Test At Home
Tests are available to detect chlamydia at home. Most at-home chlamydia tests are self-collection kits, which allow you to obtain a swab or sample of urine at home and return it to a laboratory by mail. If an at-home chlamydia test returns positive results, a doctor may suggest confirmation testing with a laboratory-based method.
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Getting Tested For Chlamydia And Gonorrhea
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are the most common sexually transmitted diseases and that their highest rates of incidence occur among teenagers. The good news is that both Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are completely curable â provided they are detected. The smart and safest thing to do is to get tested.
What Do The Results Mean
A positive result means you have been infected with chlamydia. The infection requires treatment with antibiotics. Your health care provider will give you instructions on how to take your medicine. Be sure to take all the required doses. In addition, let your sexual partner know you tested positive for chlamydia, so he or she can be tested and treated promptly.
Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results.
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Better2knows Instant Chlamydia Test
Better2Knows private instant STI testing services are available at conveniently located sexual health clinics across the UK. By choosing Better2Knows instant Chlamydia test you will receive fast, accurate results in around 10 minutes, and also get the support and guidance of our experienced sexual health advisors. Your Better2Know doctor will prescribe any medication you need to ensure the infection is eliminated.
How Long Does It Take To Show Up In The Throat
Symptoms of chlamydia in your throat are typically caused by having oral sex with someone whos contracted the infection.
Its much less common to notice throat symptoms, but they may still appear after a week or so, up to a few months or longer.
STI tests that look for chlamydia arent always done on the throat since its an area that does not carry the infection often. Ask your doctor for a throat swab or other chlamydia test if you think youve been exposed through oral sex.
Here are the most common symptoms of chlamydia in both people with penises and people with vulvas.
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Book Your Private Instant Chlamydia Test
Confirm your instant Chlamydia testing appointment today by selecting the orange Book Now option at the top of the page. You can also contact Better2Know using the telephone number above, where our expert sexual health advisors are on hand 24/7 to help you with all your STI related concerns. They will help you choose the most suitable instant testing option for your personal circumstances.
How Can Chlamydia Be Prevented
The most reliable ways to avoid infection with chlamydia or any sexually transmitted disease are to abstain from oral, vaginal, and anal sex or to be in a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner. People who are sexually active should correctly and consistently use condoms to reduce the risk of infection with chlamydia and other STDs.
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How Does A Chlamydia Test Work
The most commonly used type of chlamydia test is called a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test . A NAAT detects the DNA of the bacteria that cause the chlamydia infection. You provide a sample of urine. Or your provider collects a sample of secretions from the vagina or urethra . The lab tests the sample for signs of the bacteria.
Less often, providers use a cell culture to test for chlamydia. Your provider swabs your vagina, urethra or anus to collect a sample of fluid and cells. They send the cells to a lab to test. If bacteria are present, they will grow, which indicates an infection. Providers may choose this type of chlamydia test to detect infections in the anus. Or they may use a cell culture to see how chlamydia treatments are working.
Can You Develop A Chlamydia Infection On Your Own
Fortunately, you canât contract chlamydia on your own because it spreads through sexual contact with other people.
Chlamydia bacteria does, however, thrive in vaginal fluid, semen, and pre-ejaculate . For that reason, using a latex condom properly during sexual intercourse and avoiding any kind of unprotected sex is the best way to protect yourself from developing or passing on a chlamydia infection. Caution is important, but fear is unnecessary: you donât need to worry about contracting chlamydia from kissing someone or sitting on a public toilet seat.
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Some Of The Best Home Chlamydia Tests
Below, we look at some testing options for individuals to consider. People can take several of the tests at home, whereas others require a lab visit.Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
How Accurate Is My Instant Chlamydia Test
Your instant Chlamydia test with Better2Know is both highly reliable and accurate. Better2Knows private STI testing services are performed in line with the highest standards of quality and care. Our selection of confidential sexual health screens and tests are designed with your personal STI testing needs in mind.
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What Should I Expect During A Chlamydia Test
Your provider gives you a clean cup and asks you to urinate in it. Follow your providers instructions carefully when collecting a urine sample. Youll need to collect the urine as soon as it starts to come out .
Instead of a urine sample, your provider might collect a sample of secretions from your genitals or anus. They gather this sample by rubbing a cotton swab on the inside of your vagina, penis or anus. If your provider suspects that you have a chlamydia infection in your eye, they will collect a fluid sample from your eye.
If youre using an at-home chlamydia test, you will collect the sample yourself. Be sure to follow the instructions on the test kit carefully.
What Does The Test Measure
Chlamydia testing looks for evidence of infection with the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. There are several types of tests that can be used to detect chlamydia, including molecular testing, also called Nucleic Acid Amplification Test , and cell culture.
NAAT is the preferred method for detecting a chlamydia infection. This type of test detects the genetic material of Chlamydia trachomatis. It can be performed using a urine sample or swab of fluid taken from a site of potential infection such as the urethra, vagina, rectum, or eye.
Traditionally, NAAT takes a day or more to provide results, but there have also been rapid chlamydia tests developed using NAAT methods. Rapid chlamydia tests can often provide a result within 30 to 90 minutes. Rapid chlamydia tests are typically performed on urine samples or swabs of fluid taken from the vagina or cervix.
Although much less commonly used, cell cultures can help diagnose a chlamydia infection. Chlamydia cell cultures may be used in children with a suspected chlamydia infection, when evaluating potential infections in the anus or rectum, and when initial treatment for chlamydia is unsuccessful. In these cases of treatment failure, doctors may use a cell culture to help understand which treatments may be most effective for an individuals infection.
Other types of chlamydia tests are available but are rarely used given the accuracy and availability of NAAT.
What Are The Symptoms Of Chlamydia Infection
Most people have no symptoms at all. If you do get symptoms, you will usually get them about 7-14 days after having unprotected sex.
For women – you may have:
- abnormal bleeding from the vagina including bleeding or spotting after sex
- an abnormal discharge from the vagina
- stinging or burning when passing urine or pain during sex
A pregnant woman who has chlamydia may:
- have a higher chance of having a miscarriage or premature baby
- have a baby with lung and eye infections
For men – you may have:
- a watery or milky discharge from the penis
- redness at the opening of the penis
- stinging or burning when passing urine
- pain and swelling in one or both testicles
How Does The Test Work
Simply enter your postcode and date of birth to order your test kit.
The test kit includes either a pot for a urine sample or a swab, a form, safe packaging and a freepost envelope.
When your kit arrives, fill out the short form in capital letters. Fill in the label and stick it on the screw top bottle. Follow the instructions provided to take your sample and then post it off with your form in the freepost envelope.
Supply of swabs is currently limited as a result of coronavirus testing so some people who would normally receive a swab kit may receive a urine sample kit instead.
If you’re taking a urine sample, make sure you havent peed within the last one hour if you have, wait until later.
Regular tests help reduce the risk and spread of infection so keep testing!
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When Should I Call My Doctor About A Chlamydia Test
A note from Cleveland Clinic
A chlamydia test is essential to limiting the spread of this sexually transmitted infection. Its especially important to get screened for chlamydia regularly if youre at a higher risk of this STI. Untreated, the infection can cause health problems and you can spread it to your partner. While youre waiting for results and during treatment, avoid having sex. Wait until your provider says its safe to have sex again. Be sure to use a condom and practice safe sex to avoid getting an STI.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/28/2022.
How To Help Partners Get Treatment
If you are not sure whether your sexual partner will seek treatment, ask your doctor for extra chlamydia medication . You can give it to them so they can be treated as soon as possible.
This is known as patient delivered partner therapy for chlamydia. Talk to your doctor to see if PDPT is right for you and your sexual partner.
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Home Testing Kits Are The Solution
Home testing kits provide a discrete way for every individual to get tested for chlamydia without having to talk to their doctor face-to-face. Even though this method is not 100% accurate, it does provide a clear picture of your sexual health and whether or not you need medical assistance. Home testing kits for chlamydia are comfortable, convenient, often reliable, and a great way to monitor for STIs.
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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Chlamydia Can Be Treated And Cured With Antibiotics
Individuals diagnosed with chlamydia should abstain from sexual activity for one week after finishing antibiotics. Keep in mind that it is possible to become reinfected with chlamydia after receiving treatment. This is why it is crucial for partners of those who have chlamydia to also get tested and treated if found positive. Chlamydia often occurs along with gonorrhea . If you have one of these STDs, you might have the other because the risk factors and symptoms are very similar. Getting tested for both is important.
Whether or not symptoms are present, testing or screening for chlamydia can be done as early as 24 hours after exposure. The incubation times vary from person-to-person for the most accurate results, get tested two weeks after initial exposure. If you test positive for chlamydia, it is advised to get retested two weeks after completing treatment to be sure that all of the Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria is cleared from your system.
Why Should I Get Tested
Almost all STIs go undetected. Even though chlamydia can be easily treated, due to the lack of visible symptoms, the younger population often ignore it or have no idea they have it. Individuals who often change partners are exposed to chlamydia and other STIs as well, such as gonorrhea and syphilis.
If left untreated, its incredibly easy to transmit this infection onto your partner and cause numerous problems that can later affect your health.
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Limits Of Urine Tests For Gonorrhea And Chlamydia
In 2018, 1.8 million cases of chlamydia were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in addition to 583,405 cases of gonorrhea. These numbers show an increase of 19% for chlamydia and 63% for gonorrhea since 2014.
Most infections with gonorrhea and chlamydia are asymptomatic. The fact that many people have no symptoms means that the only way to detect and treat these infections is through screening.
In men, these diseases usually infect the urethra, and in women the cervix. However, it is possible to get both of these diseases in the throat, from oral sex. Anal sex can also lead to rectal chlamydia and rectal gonorrhea infections.
Neither rectal nor oral/throat infections will be detected by urine testing. It is therefore important to let your healthcare provider know if you have unprotected oral or anal sex. Testing should be done separately for those sites.
Currently, it is recommended that men who have sex with men undergo urine, throat, and anal screening once a year. Other people who regularly have unprotected oral or anal sex should consider a similar screening regimen. People who only engage in vaginal intercourse can get by with urine testing alone for gonorrhea and chlamydia.