What Should I Do If Symptoms Of Chlamydia Appear
If you experience symptoms of Chlamydia after sexual activity, you should see your doctor or visit a sexual health clinic as soon as you can to get tested. For guys who have sex guys, you should get tested for HIV and STIs once every three months.
Not sure where to get tested? There are sexual health clinics across Sydney and regional NSW that all offer confidential STI testing and treatment. HIV and STI tests at clinics across the state are free, though if you get tested with a general practitioner this may vary depending on your access to Medicare, and whether or not your doctor offers a bulk billing service. You can find your closest sexual health testing site using our where to get tested tool.
Possible Symptoms In Boys And Men
A chlamydia infection is more noticeable in boys and men who have sex with female partners. These males often have infections in the urethra, the tube through which urine leaves the body. They will usually have pain or some discharge or irritation when they urinate, so theyre more likely to go get treatment, says Dr. Dombrowski.
But for boys having sex with other boys, infection in the rectum is most common and that almost never causes symptoms, she says.
More frequent chlamydia symptoms in boy and men include the followings:
- Pain or swelling of the testicles
- Inflammation of the rectum
- A burning or painful feeling when you urinate, because of inflammation of the urethra
- Inflammation of the eyelid
- Infections in your mouth and throat that cause soreness and redness, though most oral infections cause no symptoms
Preventing Stds And Stis
Many people can contract an STI without experiencing any visible symptoms. This means that practicing safer sex is crucial if you want to prevent transmission.
The only way to completely prevent an STI is abstinence from any type of sexual contact or contact with open sores and bodily fluids of a person who contracted it. But there are other ways to prevent STIs, too.
Condoms during intercourse and dental dams or barriers during oral sex are proven effective when used correctly. Refraining from sex with multiple partners and instead opting for a monogamous sexual relationship can also help to prevent STIs.
Some STIs, such as HPV and hepatitis A and B, have vaccines available. Its important to talk to a healthcare provider about vaccines available to you.
Its also very important to be tested for HIV regularly if theres a risk for any STI. Early diagnosis of HIV allows for early intervention of effective antivirals.
The risk of HIV transmission can be lessened by the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis . PrEP is a combination of medications that can reduce the risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV prior to potential exposure with consistent use.
Post-exposure prophylaxis is a medication that can be taken after potential exposure to prevent transmission. It needs to be taken as soon as possible after the potential exposure and no later than 72 hours after.
Last medically reviewed on November 3, 2020
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What Are Chlamydia Symptoms In Men
There will often be no symptoms of chlamydia in men, with only around half of those infected noticing any signs. If there are symptoms, these will usually develop around one to three weeks following infection. Common signs of the STD include:
- Pain or a burning sensation whilst urinating
- Urethritis, which is characterised by pain or itching within the urethra
- Testicular pain or soreness
These initial symptoms may disappear after a couple of weeks, which often leads people to forget they may be infected. Even when symptoms disappear chlamydia will remain in your body and can be passed on during unprotected sex until you receive effective treatment.
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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How To Prevent Chlamydia In Men
Using barrier methods, like condoms or dental dams, during all forms of sex can lower your risk of getting chlamydia. Other forms of contraception, like partial barriers , birth control pills, IUDs, etc., do not prevent the spread of STIs like chlamydia. Unprotected sex, unsurprisingly, increases your chances of getting chlamydia and other STIs.
Approximately 1018% of men get reinfected with chlamydiathis means that you have been treated for chlamydia but get chlamydia again in the future. Your healthcare provider may recommend repeat testing three months after treatment to check for reinfection .
Reinfection most often occurs because of continued contact with an untreated sexual partner. The best way to avoid reinfection is to abstain from sexual activity for seven days after starting antibiotic treatment. This will reduce the risk that your sex partner will get chlamydia and then pass it back to you .
Its recommended to notify all of your sexual partners within the past 60 days that they might have chlamydia so that they can get tested and treated. Depending on where you live, public health workers may be available to help you reach out to your sexual partners .
Im Pregnant How Does Chlamydia Affect My Baby
If you are pregnant and have chlamydia, you can pass the infection to your baby during delivery. This could cause an eye infection or pneumonia in your newborn. Having chlamydia may also make it more likely to deliver your baby too early.
If you are pregnant, you should get tested for chlamydia at your first prenatal visit. Testing and treatment are the best ways to prevent health problems.
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How Soon Can You Get Tested For An Sti
You dont need to get tested for STIs right away if you recently had unprotected sex. Its possible to get tested too soon for an STI. You might get a false negative test if you get tested too soon. That means you actually do have an STI, but the test doesnt show it yet.
Heres when you should be tested:
Chlamydia: Get tested 2 weeks after your sexual encounter.
Gonorrhea: Get tested 2 weeks after your sexual encounter.
Syphilis: Get tested 1 to 3 months after your sexual encounter.
HIV: Get tested 2 to 6 weeks after your sexual encounter.
Herpes: Get tested 1 to 4 months after your sexual encounter.
If you test positive for an STI dont panic. Your healthcare provider will go over treatment options with you.
Signs And Symptoms Of Chlamydia In Men
Chlamydia doesnât cause symptoms in many people, which is why itâs so easily spread. At least 50% of men with the infection show no symptoms. This means they donât know theyâve got it, and continue to engage in unprotected sexual activity, without seeking treatment.
For those men who do have symptoms, they can include:
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What Are The Other Risks Of Untreated Chlamydia In Men
Untreated chlamydia in men can also cause sexually acquired reactive arthritis . This can lead to inflamed joints, eyes, or urethra causing pain when urinating. SARA is more common in men than women. There is no cure for SARA however, most people get better within a few months. The symptoms of SARA can be treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen.
Men with chlamydia have an increased risk of getting other infections including gonorrhea or HIV.
How Do I Test For Chlamydia
You can get tested for chlamydia even if you dont have any symptoms.
In some countries you can get a self-testing kit to do at home.
If you test positive for chlamydia, its important to tell any recent sexual partner/s so they can also get tested, and treated if necessary. If you need advice about how to do this, speak to your healthcare professional. You should also test for other STIs.
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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 .
Home Testing Is Possible
There are definitely at-home tests that are accurate, says Dombrowski. They are easy-to-use and hard to mess up, but the problem is that the kits often cost a lot of money.
Furthermore, she says that while you can test yourself at home, if the test is positive, you cannot buy the antibiotics that you need to treat the illness over the counter. You will need a prescription from a doctor or other healthcare provider. Also, you will need to retest yourself three months after the treatment ends.
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Complications Of Chlamydia In Males
When left untreated chlamydia can lead to other conditions and symptoms. In men, chlamydia infection can lead to the inflammation of the testicles and the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles . If you develop this complication you may experience:
- Swelling or a lump in the testicle
- Difficulty urinating or needing to urinate more often
- Later on, problems with fertility
Untreated chlamydia can also cause sexually acquired reactive arthritis , which can lead to:
- Pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints
- Pain and redness in the eyes
- Pain when urinating
Inflammation of the testicles and epididymis can usually be treated with antibiotics. SARA cannot be cured, it normally clears up on its own within a few months, but it is prone to recurrences. SARA occurs 10 times more frequently in men than women.
When To Seek Medical Advice
If you have any symptoms of chlamydia, visit your GP, community contraceptive service or local genitourinary medicine clinic as soon as possible.
You should also get tested if you don’t have any symptoms but are concerned you could have a sexually transmitted infection .
If you’re a woman, sexually active and under 25 in England, it’s recommended that you have a chlamydia test once a year, and when you have sex with new or casual partners.
If you’re a man, sexually active and under 25 in England, it’s recommended that you have a chlamydia test once a year if you are not using condoms with new or casual partners.
Read more about chlamydia diagnosis.
Page last reviewed: 01 September 2021 Next review due: 01 September 2024
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What If I Don’t 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 doesn’t cause symptoms initially, PID can cause permanent damage to your reproductive system and can lead to long-term pelvic pain, inability to get pregnant, and potentially deadly pregnancy outside the uterus.
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 fathering children. Untreated chlamydia may also increase your chances of getting or giving HIV – the virus that causes AIDS.
How To Stop The Spread Of Infection
Therisk of contracting and transmitting chlamydia is very high, so any precautionsyou can take will prove a valuable asset to your sexual health. To stop thespread of the infection, you should:
- Use condoms during intercourse
- Suggest to your partner that you both get tested for STIs before having unprotected sex
- Cover all the sex toys you share with your partner with condoms
Chlamydiais a serious issue for men. The problem is that most men dont experience anysigns, and that is typical for those infected. If you havent used a condomwhile having intercourse with multiple partners, its important to get tested.That way, you can avoid any unwanted complications and treat the infection ontime.
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Regular Screening Prevents Later Problems
When young women and other women at high risk for chlamydia follow CDC guidelines and get yearly screening, they reduce their risk for the serious problems that the illness can cause. They are less likely to suffer infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, and other serious health troubles than women who skip yearly testing.
Testing is easy. If it helps you remember, do it the week after your birthday, or tie it to some other annual event, like July 4th. That way, you can declare your independence from worry about STDs.
What Other Problems Can Chlamydia Cause
In women, an untreated infection can spread to your uterus and fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease . PID can cause permanent damage to your reproductive system. This can lead to long-term pelvic pain, infertility, and ectopic pregnancy. Women who have had chlamydia infections more than once are at higher risk of serious reproductive health complications.
Men often don’t have health problems from chlamydia. Sometimes it can infect the epididymis . This can cause pain, fever, and, rarely, infertility.
Both men and women can develop reactive arthritis because of a chlamydia infection. Reactive arthritis is a type of arthritis that happens as a “reaction” to an infection in the body.
Babies born to infected mothers can get eye infections and pneumonia from chlamydia. It may also make it more likely for your baby to be born too early.
Untreated chlamydia may also increase your chances of getting or giving HIV/AIDS.
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How To Avoid Catching Chlamydia
Anyone who has unprotected sex is at risk of contracting chlamydia. As many people with chlamydia donât notice symptoms, you may not always know if a current or potential sexual partner is carrying the infection. It is therefore recommended to practice safe sex using barrier contraceptive methods, and test regularly. If you have a new sexual partner or do not use barrier contraception, such as a condom, when having sex, you are at a higher risk of catching chlamydia.
To try to avoid catching chlamydia you should:
- use a dam to cover the female genitals during oral sex or when female genitals rub together
- not share sex toys. If you do share sex toys, wash them after each use or cover them with a new condom each time they are used.
Whilst all of our content is written and reviewed by healthcare professionals, it is not intended to be substituted for or used as medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please speak to your doctor.
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.
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Can Chlamydia Make Men Infertile
Yes, untreated chlamydia may make men infertile in rare cases.
Chlamydia can spread to a manâs testicles and the tubes which carry sperm from the testicles, called epididymis. Both the testicles and epididymis can become painful and swollen. This is a condition known as epididymitis or epididymo-orchitis. It is very rare. Chlamydia infections in testicular tissue may affect a manâs fertility, due to a lower sperm count and lower quality sperm. Antibiotics can treat the infection effectively.
Open The Conversation To Questions
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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.