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.
Special Cases: Chlamydia In Infants And Hiv
Newborn infants are also at risk for chlamydial infections if their mother has an untreated infection at the time of delivery. Newborn infants can contract chlamydia trachomatis as they travel through the birth canal and develop eye infections or pneumonia . For this reason, chlamydia testing should be routine during pregnancy.
Having an STI, like chlamydia, can also increase your chances of contracting HIV if you are exposed it to it, or spreading HIV if you are already infected . If you think you have chlamydia, or any STI, it is important for you to seek help immediately from your healthcare provider or an STI clinic. Many clinics provide free or low-cost STI testing. This will all help keep you, your sexual partners, and your community healthy.
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Article was originally published on June 11, 2018.
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
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Antibiotics Are A Highly Effective Cure For Chlamydia Infection
Antibiotics prescribed for chlamydia include:
A single oral dose of Zithromax is the most common treatment. Other drugs may be given in varying doses for a period of up to a week. Most cases of chlamydia clear up within a week after you start on antibiotics.
If you think you have been exposed to chlamydia, Stoner says, see your healthcare provider to receive antibiotic medication to prevent the onset of infection.
The partners of individuals diagnosed with chlamydia will need treatment, too, and in some states they can get it without a doctor visit through a practice called expedited partner therapy, in which the first person treated delivers the treatment to their partner or partners.
Symptoms Can Differ For Men And Women
By and large, most cases of chlamydia are asymptomatic they are picked up by screening, which is why it’s so important to have good screening programs in place, notes Dr. Stoner. Men or women who have chlamydia symptoms may experience painful urination.
Women may also have these symptoms:
- Smelly discharge from the cervix
- Pain during sex
And men may have these symptoms:
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How To Prepare For The Test
If you think you may have chlamydia, avoid sexual intercourse until you get your test results.
has found that home tests may be as effective for diagnosing chlamydia as swabs collected at your doctors office.
However, its important to note that home testing kits can sometimes return false-negative results. A 2017 study asked men to self-collect a sample for chlamydia testing both at a clinic and at home using a mail-in kit. Researchers found that over one-third of the mail-in samples missed a positive result that was detected in the samples collected at the clinic.
The researchers note that its possible that the collection technique when using a home test may affect the quality of the sample and therefore affect your result. Because of this, be sure to follow all sample collection instructions carefully if you choose to do a home test for chlamydia.
If you receive a positive result from a home testing kit, you will need to go immediately to a doctor to receive treatment. Until you have completed treatment, you can give chlamydia to your sexual partners.
If youre diagnosed with chlamydia, prompt treatment will help prevent any long-term complications. The key is to test for this bacterial infection before it spreads.
You can get a chlamydia test from:
- your primary care doctor
Due to the prevalence of chlamydia, its important to get yearly tests if you:
You may need to get tested more often than once a year.
Who Is At Risk For Chlamydia
Whether chlamydia symptoms are present or not, untreated chlamydia can travel to the upper genital tract and cause serious health problems. In women, chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease and cause permanent damage leading to infertility or potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy. In men, untreated cases can lead to epididymitis, which can, but very rarely does, cause sterility.
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How Can You Be Sure Youre Experiencing A New Bout
Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics, usually azithromycin or doxycycline.
In order to make sure chlamydia is cured, you need to take the full course of antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor. You need to take every single dose dont stop taking the antibiotics until there are none left.
If youve taken all your antibiotics but you still have symptoms, contact your doctor or another healthcare professional.
According to the Center for Disease Control , youll need a follow-up test three months after treatment to ensure that the infection is cured.
There are a few reasons why you might contract chlamydia a second time:
- The initial infection wasnt cured because the course of antibiotics wasnt completed as directed.
- A sexual partner transmitted chlamydia to you.
- You used a sex toy that was contaminated with chlamydia.
A 2014 study suggests that chlamydia can live in the gastrointestinal tract and reinfect the genitals, causing chlamydia symptoms to reappear after the genital infection went away.
However, this study only looked at animal models of chlamydia. Research on human participants is needed.
The symptoms of chlamydia typically disappear once you finish your antibiotics. This can vary in time, as some chlamydia antibiotic courses are one dose taken on one day, while others last longer.
Chlamydia And Oral Sex: What You Should Know
Chlamydia and Oral Sex: What You Should Know
Chlamydia is one of the most common STIs and it spreads very easily. Although it is widely believed that oral sex is much safer than vaginal sex, it is actually how chlamydia is spread the most. You have to protect yourself and your partners from getting infected with chlamydia by using appropriate protection during any form of oral sex.
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Do I Need To Get Tested For Chlamydia
- If you are 24 or younger and have sex, you need to get tested for chlamydia.3 Chlamydia is most common in women between 15 and 24 years old.2 You need to get tested if you have had any symptoms of chlamydia since your last negative test result or if your sex partner has chlamydia.
- If you are older than 24, you need to get tested if, in the past year or since your last test, you:3
- Had a new sex partner
- Had your sex partner tell you they have chlamydia
- Traded sex for money or drugs
- Have had chlamydia or another STI in the past
- Did not use condoms during sex and are in a relationship that is not monogamous, meaning you or your partner has sex with other people
You also need to be tested if you are pregnant or if you have any symptoms of chlamydia.
What Should I Do If I Have Chlamydia
Chlamydia is easy to treat. But you need to be tested and treated as soon as possible.
If you have chlamydia:
- See a doctor or nurse as soon as possible. Antibiotics will treat chlamydia, but they will not fix any permanent damage to your reproductive organs.
- Take all of your medicine. Even if symptoms go away, you need to finish all of the antibiotics.
- Tell your sex partner so they can be tested and treated. If they are not tested and treated you could get chlamydia again.
- Avoid sexual contact until you and your partner have been treated and cured. Even after you finish your antibiotics, you can get chlamydia again if you have sex with someone who has chlamydia.
- See your doctor or nurse again if you have symptoms that don’t go away within a few days after finishing the antibiotics.
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Male Complications Of Untreated Chlamydia
Men can also experience complications when chlamydia is left untreated. The epididymis the tube that holds the testicles in place may become inflamed, causing pain. This is known as epididymitis.
The infection can also spread to the prostate gland, causing a fever, painful intercourse, and discomfort in the lower back. Another possible complication is male chlamydial urethritis.
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 Chlamydia Diagnosed
The most common test for chlamydia is called a nucleic acid amplification test . Your provider takes a sample of fluid by doing a vaginal/cervical swab or collecting a urine sample. Then, they send the sample off to a lab to check for the bacteria that causes chlamydia. Your provider may do the test in an office, or they may ask you to do an at-home chlamydia test. Follow your providers instructions carefully to ensure you get accurate test results.
Because most chlamydia cases are asymptomatic, its important to get screened for chlamydia even if you dont notice any signs of infection. The CDC recommends that sexually active cisgender women who are high-risk for chlamydia get screened regularly. Women, more so than men, experience the most severe complications from chlamydia. Transgender men and nonbinary individuals with vaginas should be screened regularly, too, as they can experience the same complications of chlamydia.
Youre considered high-risk if you:
- Have had chlamydia infections previously.
Cisgender men, or trans and nonbinary individuals with penises, should be screened for chlamydia if:
- They live in a setting where chlamydia spreads frequently, like correctional facilities, adolescent clinics and sexual health clinics.
- They have sex with other men.
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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 .
Can I Test Myself For Chlamydia At Home
Home testing kits for chlamydia are widely available and can be purchased at many pharmacies or online.
These kits typically require a urine sample or tissue swab, which you can collect at home and securely ship back to the lab to receive your results.
Some companies also include a free medical consultation with a doctor if your test results are positive to review your treatment options.
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How Can You Prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections
Here are some ways to help prevent STIs.
- Limit your sex partners. Sex with one partner who has sex only with you can reduce your risk of getting an STI.
- Talk with your partner or partners about STIs before you have sex. Find out if they are at risk for an STI. Remember that it’s possible to have an STI and not know it.
- Wait to have sex with new partners until you’ve each been tested.
- Don’t have sex if you have symptoms of an infection or if you are being treated for an STI.
- Use a condom every time you have sex. Condoms are the only form of birth control that also helps prevent STIs.
- Don’t share sex toys. But if you do share them, use a condom and clean the sex toys between each use.
Vaccines are available for some STIs, such as HPV. Ask your doctor for more information.
What Are The Potential Complications
If treated in time, chlamydia causes no lasting concerns. Untreated chlamydia can lead to complications as the infection spreads to other areas of the body.
Untreated chlamydia may cause sexually-acquired reactive arthritis, which includes skin, eye and joint problems. It is also associated with a higher chance of getting HIV.
In women, complications may include difficulty getting pregnant, ectopic or tubal pregnancy or pelvic inflammatory disease . See HealthLinkBC File #08c Pelvic Inflammatory Disease for more information.
In men, complications may include an infection in the testicles, which can lead to infertility.
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How Chlamydia’s Passed On
Chlamydia is usually passed from one person to another through sexual contact.
Chlamydia is most commonly spread through:
- sharing sex toys that arent washed or covered with a new condom each time theyre used.
It can be spread by giving or receiving oral sex with someone who has chlamydia. The risk can be lowered by using a condom or a dam to cover the genitals.
If youre pregnant its possible to pass chlamydia to the baby .
You cant get chlamydia from kissing, hugging, sharing baths or towels, swimming pools, toilet seats or from sharing cups, plates or cutlery.
Can Chlamydia Be Cured
Yes, chlamydia can be cured with the right treatment. It is important that you take all of the medication your doctor prescribes to cure your infection. When taken properly it will stop the infection and could decrease your chances of having complications later on. You should not share medication for chlamydia with anyone.
Repeat infection with chlamydia is common. You should be tested again about three months after you are treated, even if your sex partner was treated.
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How Can You Tell If You Got Chlamydia From Oral Sex
If youve performed or received oral sex from someone you suspect has chlamydia, you may want to see a doctor to determine if youve been infected. It is highly recommended that you get tested even if you only have slight suspicions.
Although there are specific symptoms and signs that you can look out for to find out if youve got chlamydia, you should not rely solely on them to know if youre infected.
The symptoms are actually very similar to symptoms experienced when you have gonorrhea, and for this reason, the two infections can be confused with each other.
Additionally, almost half of men and most women who do have chlamydia do not show any symptoms at all. As such, you could think you do not have the infection when you actually do.
The symptoms that do show up for those who are not asymptomatic, will develop within about one to three weeks after they have picked up the infection.
It is difficult to determine how long a person will be infectious and spread the bacteria to their sexual partners, mostly because of how few people show symptoms.
It is recommended that you think of a person as infectious from the time they were exposed to the bacteria until they have finished the prescribed treatment.
The symptoms associated with chlamydia include:
- Red and sore throat and mouth
- Inflamed Urethra
- Burning and/or pain when urinating
- Inflamed Eyelid
- Swollen and/or painful testicles
- Bleeding between menstrual cycles
How Can I Protect Myself And Prevent Chlamydia
Sex is a normal and healthy part of life, and STIs are unfortunately a third wheel that you may have to deal with from time to time. Thankfully, there are ways to reduce your risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections like chlamydianamely by using condoms and dental dams whenever you get intimate. Talk with your doctor if youre concerned that you may have been exposed to an STI, or if youd like to get tested just to be sure.
And dont feel embarrassed or guilty if you do have chlamydia. There is a sense of shame around sexually transmitted diseases, Dr. Grifo says. Well, whats the shame? You had sex. People have sex all the time. You treat it and move on with your life.
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How Long Can You Have Chlamydia Without Knowing
Chlamydia is sometimes called a silent infection because the majority of people who have chlamydia regardless of gender never notice symptoms. People who do notice symptoms often dont recognize the signs that they have chlamydia until a few weeks after theyve been infected. Because chlamydia cases are often asymptomatic, its easy to spread chlamydia to someone else without realizing it. And its easy to miss out on receiving the treatment needed to prevent the serious complications that can result from chlamydia.
Can You Prevent Chlamydia
You can lower your risk of getting chlamydia and other STIs by:
- not having sex with someone with chlamydia, even with a condom, until theyve finished treatment and 1 week has passed since their last dose of antibiotics
- regularly getting tested for STIs, especially if you are under 30 and sexually active
Remember that most people with chlamydia dont show any symptoms and dont know they have it, so feeling ‘well’ does not mean that you or your partner are not infected. If in doubt, get tested.
If you have chlamydia, you can help reduce the spread by letting your recent sexual partners know so they can get tested and treated.
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