What Are The Symptoms
Often people with chlamydia will have no symptoms and will not know that they have the infection.
For men, symptoms can include:
- Pain or a burning feeling when urinating
- Itching or irritation in the urethra the tube that urine passes through
For women, symptoms can include:
- Pain or a burning feeling when urinating
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding or spotting between periods or after sexual intercourse
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Pain during vaginal sex
Chlamydia infection may occur in the throat but does not usually cause symptoms.
Symptoms may appear 2 to 3 weeks after exposure to the bacteria. Sometimes it can take as long as 6 weeks for the symptoms to appear, if at all.
Is It Possible To Spot Chlamydia In Pictures
Most people often wonder if they can recognize the signs of chlamydia from pictures and whether or not this infection has any visible signs. Unfortunately, the answer is no. Its impossible to tell if a man is infected with chlamydia just by looking at a picture.
Whileit is possible to spot an irritated or swollen area, these signs could becaused by any other infection. To be 100% sure a man is infected, he needs toget a chlamydia test there is no other way.
What Health Problems Can Result From Chlamydia
The initial damage that chlamydia causes is often unnoticed. However, infections can lead to serious health problems with both short- and long-term effects.
If a woman does not receive treatment, chlamydia can spread into the uterus or fallopian tubes, causing PID. Symptomatic PID occurs in about 10-15% of women who do not receive treatment.30,31 However, chlamydia can also cause subclinical inflammation of the upper genital tract . Both acute and subclinical PID can cause long-term damage to the fallopian tubes, uterus, and surrounding tissues. The damage can lead to chronic pelvic pain, tubal factor infertility, and potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy.32,33
Some patients with PID develop perihepatitis, or Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome. This syndrome includes inflammation of the liver capsule and surrounding peritoneum, which can cause right upper quadrant pain.
In pregnant people, untreated chlamydia can lead to pre-term delivery,34 ophthalmia neonatorum , and pneumonia in the newborn.
Reactive arthritis can occur in men and women, following infection with or without symptoms. This is sometimes part of a triad of symptoms formerly referred to as Reiters Syndrome.35
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Can You Recognise Chlamydia From Pictures
Can you tell you if have chlamydia by comparing your visible symptoms with pictures?
No. You cannot tell if you have chlamydia just from the appearance. While you might notice some irritation of the genital area, swelling or discharge, these symptoms can also be caused by other infections. The only way to know that an infection is caused by chlamydia is to have a test.
Could a doctor tell you have chlamydia by looking at visible symptoms?
No. The only way to find out if you have chlamydia is to get tested. After a physical examination your GP may suspect you have chlamydia, but they wont be able to confirm a diagnosis without proper testing.
Could the visible symptoms of chlamydia be mistaken for something else?
Yes, but in many cases chlamydia is symptomless. Symptoms may not occur until 1-3 weeks after you have been infected. The symptoms can also be random and infrequent which can lead individuals to overlook that an infection may be causing the symptoms. It could be that your visible symptoms are a result of a different infection.
Practice Safer Sex By Using A Condom
Important things to remember when using condoms:
- Check the condom package for damage. Do not use a damaged condom
- Check the expiry date. Do not use a condom after its expiry date
- Carefully open the package so that the condom does not tear. Do not use a condom that has been torn
- Keep condoms away from sharp objects such as rings, studs or piercings
- Store condoms at room temperature
- Use a new condom every time you have sex. Do not reuse condoms
- Do not use 2 condoms at once. Using 2 condoms together may result in a condom breaking
- Use only water-based lubricants with external latex condoms. Oil-based lubricants, such as petroleum jelly, lotion or baby oil, can weaken and destroy latex
- Water or oil-based lubricant may be used with polyurethane/nitrile condoms
- Use only condoms made of latex or polyurethane/nitrile/polyisoprene rubbers. Latex and polyurethane condoms are the best types of condoms to use to help prevent pregnancy and STIs.
- Avoid using condoms with spermicides containing nonoxynol-9 as it can irritate tissue and may increase the chance of getting an STI
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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.
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What Are The Long Term Complications In Men
Although very rare, chlamydia can affect male fertility. This happens if chlamydia causes the tubes that carry the male sperm to become inflamed.
Although the condition, also known as epididymitis, is treatable with antibiotics it can cause irreversible scarring to the tubes which restricts the flow of sperm. Luckily long term damage like this is rare, but its just another reason to get tested for chlamydia regularly.
How Do Men Get Treated For Chlamydia
Meninfected with chlamydia will receive a prescribed drug, usually calleddoxycycline. This antibiotic is most typically used for treating chlamydia.However, if the patient is allergic to any of the ingredients in thisantibiotic, they will receive a different one with similar potency. Theantibiotics used for treatment can only be prescribed by your doctor.
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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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What Is The Treatment
If you or your partner do not finish the treatment, miss pills or have unprotected sex before you have finished all of the medication, there is a chance that the infection will stay in your body may pass back to you or your partner and cause health problems later. If this happens, talk with your health care provider who will help you to decide if you or your partners need more treatment.
Because re-infection is common, a follow-up test is recommended 6 months after treatment. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, have a follow-up test 3 to 4 weeks after completing treatment.
The Health Risks Of Chlamydia
For up to 40 percent of infected women, untreated chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease . PID effects include abdominal pain, fever, internal abscesses and long-lasting pelvic pain effects also include scarring of the fallopian tubes, which can cause infertility and increase the chance of potentially life-threatening ectopic or tubal pregnancies.
Men can develop scarring of the urethra, making urination difficult and occasionally causing infertility. Although rare, both sexes are at risk of a type of arthritis known as Reiter’s Syndrome that causes inflammation and swelling of the joints.
If a pregnant woman has chlamydia, her baby may be born prematurely, have eye infections or develop pneumonia.
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How Is It Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and your sexual history. You may also have a physical exam to look for signs of infection.
Chlamydia can cause serious problems but may not cause symptoms. That’s why it’s a good idea to get tested once a year if you are at higher risk for getting chlamydia. Talk to your doctor about what testing is right for you.
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What Can Happen If Chlamydia Isnt Treated
Untreated chlamydia can put your health at risk. Make an appointment with your provider immediately if you notice any symptoms of chlamydia, and get regular STI screenings to avoid complications later.
Complications of chlamydia for people with vaginas
Untreated chlamydia can cause:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease . PID is a serious condition that requires hospitalization. It can occur when an untreated STI, like chlamydia, damages your reproductive organs. PID can lead to infertility and chronic pelvic pain. It can also cause an ectopic pregnancy,which is life-threatening for the fetus and potentially deadly for the mother or gestational parent, too.
- Pregnancy complications. An untreated infection can lead to pre-term delivery. Also, if youre pregnant and have chlamydia, you can pass the infection on to your newborn. Babies born with chlamydia may have pneumonia or conjunctivitis that could lead to blindness if not treated.
Complications of chlamydia for people with penises
Untreated chlamydia can cause:
- Epididymitis. Infection can spread to the testicles and the tube that carries sperm to your testicles , causing symptoms like pain, swelling and tenderness in your testicles.
- Reduced fertility. Chlamydia can harm your sperm, negatively impacting your ability to conceive.
Complications of chlamydia that can affect all genders
Untreated chlamydia can:
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.
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How Will I Know If I Have Chlamydia
You can only be certain you have chlamydia if you have a test.
Anyone can get chlamydia. Youre more likely to have it if youre under 25, have a new sexual partner, or more than one sexual partner in the last year, and if you havent used condoms.
You should have a test if:
- you, or a partner, have or think you might have symptoms
- youve recently had sex without a condom with a new partner
- you, or a partner, have had sex without a condom with other partners
- during a vaginal examination, your doctor or nurse says that the cervix is inflamed and/or theres an unusual discharge
- a sexual partner tells you they have a sexually transmitted infection
- you have another STI.
If you live in England, and youre a woman who is under 25 and sexually active, its recommended that you have a chlamydia test when you change sexual partner and once a year.
If youre a man who is under 25 and sexually active, its recommended that you have a chlamydia test once a year if you are not using condoms with new or casual partners.
You could still have chlamydia even if a partner has tested negative. The only way to make sure you dont have chlamydia is to get tested yourself.
If you have chlamydia, youll be encouraged to be tested for other STIs as you can have more than one STI at the same time.
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.
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Who Is Most Likely To Get Chlamydia
Chlamydia is most common among:
- People under age 25
- People who have more than one sexual contact
- People whose sexual contact have more than one sexual contact
- People who do not use condoms
- People with a history of STIs
Talk to your health care provider if you think you might be at risk for chlamydia.
Know Your Sexual Health Status
If you have recently changed sexual partners, or have multiple sex partners, getting regularly tested for STIs will tell you if you have an infection. Some people can have an STI and not have any symptoms. Finding and treating an STI reduces the chances of passing infections on to your partner.
The more partners you have, the higher your chances of getting exposed to STIs.
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