Asymptomatic Stds Are Common
It’s essential to keep in mind, though, that symptoms aren’t always a good measure of determining whether you or your partner have an STD. Many sexually transmitted diseases can remain asymptomatic for years. In other words, there are no noticeable signs of infection.
Furthermore, someone can have no STD symptoms at all and still be contagious. Examples of asymptomatic contagious STDs include:
How Do You Catch Chlamydia
You can get chlamydia through:
- Unprotected oral sex and sex without a condom. You dont even have to experience penetration to get it as you can transmit the bacteria by only touching genitals together.
- Anal sex can also result in a chlamydia infection.
- Sharing sex toys.
- Infected mothers who have the infection might transfer it to their newborn baby during birth. For this reason, all expecting mothers should double-check for chlamydia with their OB-GYN.
- You can get a chlamydia infection in the eye if infected semen or vaginal fluid gets into your eyes.
You cant catch chlamydia through kissing, hugging, sharing baths, towels, swimming pools, toilet seats, or cutlery.
Can You Have Chlamydia For Years Without Symptoms
According to CDC, this disease is a silent infection. Hence, most people are who are suffering from Chlamydia are asymptomatic or lacking of examination findings. Although the incubation period of the infection is undefined, the replication cycle of the symptoms may not appear until weeks of exposure to infected people.
According to experts of Mayoclinic, it can be difficult to detect Chlamydia during the early stage of infections due to very few signs and symptoms. The symptoms usually appear one to three weeks after being exposed to chlamydia. Moreover, signs and symptoms of chlamydia are often mild and passing, making it hard to be noticed.
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How Is Chlamydia Spread
Chlamydia most commonly spreads through vaginal, anal, or oral sex with an infected partner.
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.
The only sure way to prevent chlamydia is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
Using barrier protection during sexual intercourse can decrease the risk.
How Can Chlamydia Be Prevented
Latex male condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can reduce the risk of getting or giving chlamydia.53 The surest way to avoid chlamydia is to abstain from vaginal, anal, and oral sex, or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be uninfected.
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What Happens If I Get Chlamydia When I’m Pregnant
- Chlamydia during pregnancy has been associated in very rare cases with problems such as premature birth, and infection of the uterus lining after the birth.
- It can be passed to the baby during the birth and before the baby is born. This can cause inflammation and discharge in the babys eye and/or pneumonia.
- You may be offered a chlamydia test as part of your antenatal care.
- Chlamydia can be treated with antibiotics when youre pregnant and when youre breastfeeding. The antibiotics wont harm the baby, but do tell the doctor or nurse that youre pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Youll be advised to have another test after you complete your treatment.
How Did I Get Chlamydia If I Didnt Cheat
You can get chlamydia if your partner had vaginal, oral or anal sex with someone who was infected and then had sex with you. People in relationships may have different ideas about what kinds of sexual contact counts as cheating, and this miscommunication can lead to infections. Communicate honestly with your partner about what sex youre having and what sex theyre having. Practice safer sex to reduce your risk of catching chlamydia, and get regularly screened to be sure.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
It can be embarrassing to talk about anything sex-related with your healthcare provider, including STI prevention. But your sex life is an important part of your health that your provider needs to know about to care for you. Not getting the treatment you need for chlamydia can pose serious risks to your health. Speak with your provider about getting regularly screened for chlamydia and other STIs to reduce your risks of complications. Practice safer sex to prevent the spread of chlamydia.
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Chlamydia Symptoms In Females
Chlamydia symptoms in females are rare. Roughly 7 in 10 women dont experience any symptoms. The infection may be asymptomatic, meaning that people dont know they have it.
If signs and symptoms occur, they usually happen one to three weeks after the exposure, but could start much later. The symptoms are often mild and passing, and easy to overlook.
Some of the potential signs and symptoms of chlamydia include:
- lower abdominal pain
What’s The Treatment For Chlamydia
Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics. If you take the treatment according to instructions, its over 95% effective at treating chlamydia.
- Youll be given a course of antibiotics for 3 or 7 days or sometimes up to two weeks.
- If theres a high chance you have chlamydia, treatment may be started before the results of the test are back. Youll always be given treatment if a sexual partner is found to have chlamydia.
- You may also need other treatment if complications have occurred.
- Tell the doctor or nurse if youre pregnant, or think you might be, or youre breastfeeding. This may affect the type of antibiotic youre given.
- Complementary therapies cant cure chlamydia.
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.
Be Informed About The Harms Of Chlamydia
Although chlamydia is a curable disease, an infected person should not be complacent even if there are no symptoms. Untreated chlamydia can cause several complications like infertility for women. Chlamydia infects the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Untreated chlamydia can also result to pelvic inflammatory disease. Moreover, chlamydia can cause abdominal pain, inflammation of pelvic organs, and pain during sex. Untreated chlamydia can also affect your pregnancy.
Another danger of chlamydia is having ectopic pregnancy. For women who got infected with chlamydia while pregnant, there is the danger of passing the infection to the infant especially during vaginal child birth. If this happens, the infant is at risk of having eye infections, and pneumonia.
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What Can Be Done To Prevent The Spread Of Chlamydia
- Limit your number of sex partners
- Use a male or female condom
- If you think you are infected or have been exposed, avoid any sexual contact and visit a local sexually transmitted disease clinic, a hospital or your doctor. Either bring your sex partners with you when you are treated or notify them immediately so they can obtain examination and treatment.
Where Can I Get More Information
Health care providers with STD consultation requests can contact the STD Clinical Consultation Network . This service is provided by the National Network of STD Clinical Prevention Training Centers and operates five days a week. STDCCN is convenient, simple, and free to health care providers and clinicians. More information is available at www.stdccn.orgexternal icon.
Division of STD Prevention Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-38271-800-783-987
1. OFarrell N, Morison L, Moodley P, et al. Genital ulcers and concomitant complaints in men attending a sexually transmitted infections clinic: implications for sexually transmitted infections management. Sexually transmitted diseases 2008 35:545-9.
2. White JA. Manifestations and management of lymphogranuloma venereum. Current opinion in infectious diseases 2009 22:57-66.
3. Kreisel KM, Spicknall IH, Gargano JW, Lewis FM, Lewis RM, Markowitz LE, Roberts H, Satcher Johnson A, Song R, St. Cyr SB, Weston EJ, Torrone EA, Weinstock HS. Sexually transmitted infections among US women and men: Prevalence and incidence estimates, 2018. Sex Transm Dis 2021 in press.
4. CDC. Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance, 2019. Atlanta, GA: Department of Health and Human Services April 2021.
5. Torrone E, Papp J, Weinstock H. Prevalence of Chlamydia trachomatis Genital Infection Among Persons Aged 1439 Years United States, 20072012. MMWR 2014 63:834-8.
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Do I Need To Have A Test To Check That The Chlamydia Has Gone
If you take the treatment according to the instructions, you wont usually need a test to check the chlamydia has gone.
If youre aged under 25, you should be offered a repeat test 3 months after finishing the treatment. This is because youre at a higher risk of getting chlamydia again.
Whatever your age, you may need a repeat test or more treatment if:
- you think youve come into contact with chlamydia again
- you had sex without a condom with a partner before the treatment for both of you was finished
- you didnt complete the treatment or didnt take it according to the instructions
- the signs and symptoms dont go away
- your test was negative but you develop signs or symptoms of chlamydia
- youre pregnant.
A repeat test can be done 56 weeks after the first test.
If the chlamydia was in your rectum , you may need another test around 3 weeks after finishing the treatment. Your doctor, nurse or clinic will let you know if you need another test.
You can go back to the doctor, nurse or clinic if you have any questions or need advice on how to protect yourself from infection in the future.
How Can I Prevent Chlamydia
The best way to prevent chlamydia or any STI is to not have vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
If you do have sex, lower your risk of getting an STI with the following steps:
- Use condoms. Condoms are the best way to prevent STIs when you have sex. Because a man does not need to ejaculate to give or get chlamydia, make sure to put the condom on before the penis touches the vagina, mouth, or anus. Other methods of birth control, like birth control pills, shots, implants, or diaphragms, will not protect you from STIs.
- Get tested. Be sure you and your partner are tested for STIs. Talk to each other about the test results before you have sex.
- Be monogamous. Having sex with just one partner can lower your risk for STIs. After being tested for STIs, be faithful to each other. That means that you have sex only with each other and no one else.
- Limit your number of sex partners. Your risk of getting STIs goes up with the number of partners you have.
- Do not douche.Douching removes some of the normal bacteria in the vagina that protects you from infection. This may increase your risk of getting STIs.4
- Do not abuse alcohol or drugs. Drinking too much alcohol or using drugs increases risky behavior and may put you at risk of sexual assault and possible exposure to STIs.
The steps work best when used together. No single step can protect you from every single type of STI.
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Can One Have Chlamydia For Over A Year
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease that is caused by an infection by a bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis. Among women, this disease usually affects the cervix and the uterus. On the other hand, this disease affects men in the urethra in the penis.
Chlamydia is a treatable disease. Hence, when you are experiencing symptoms of this disease, or if you think your sexual partner was infected, you should get tested as soon as possible. Chlamydia may have the same symptoms as the other sexually transmitted diseases,which is why testing is necessary.
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.
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Who Should Get Tested
Aside from those who show noticeable symptoms, sexually active women under age 25 should get tested for chlamydia at least once per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The same is true for men who have sex with men, even if condoms are used consistently.
If you have recently been treated for chlamydia infection, your healthcare provider may also advise that you receive another STD test three to four months after your treatment has ended to confirm that the treatment was successful.
It is also important that your sexual partner also get tested if youâve tested positive. This can prevent the larger spread of chlamydia in the community, and it can prevent you and your partner from passing the infection back and forth through unprotected sex.
Easily check for chlamydia from the comfort and privacy of home with the at-home Chlamydia & Gonorrhea Test.
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.
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How Is Chlamydia Diagnosed And Treated
If you have chlamydia symptoms or had intercourse with someone without protection, you should inform your doctor about testing or take a home chlamydia test.
Chlamydia can be detected at home. You should get a chlamydia test kit and use urine for your test.
However, if you have oral chlamydia symptoms, you may need to see your doctor for throat swab culture. The culture of chlamydia takes about 3 7 days.
If diagnosed with chlamydia, you can easily be treated and cured with azithromycin or doxycycline tablets.
During pregnancy, chlamydia infection can be treated safely with azithromycin.
How Is Chlamydia Prevented
You already know chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection. Therefore, the safest and easiest way to prevent chlamydia is sexual abstinence. Other ways chlamydia can be prevented in men and women are
- Use condoms for intercourse
- Get your male or female sexual partners tested for the infection
- Recheck for chlamydia infection after 5 weeks of treatment
- Avoid intercourse while on chlamydia treatment
- Use adult toys with condoms
Now its your turn. Do you have any chlamydia symptoms? Let us know if we can help.
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Chlamydia Can Be Prevented
The most effective way to avoid getting a sexually transmitted infection is to not have sex. However, if you wish to have sexual contact, you can reduce your risk of infection with these actions:
- Minimizing the number of partners with whom you have intimate contact
- Asking your partners to get screened for STDs before engaging in sexual activity
- Always using latex condoms when having intercourse of any kind
Additional reporting by Ingrid Strauch.
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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