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
What Happens If Chlamydia Is Untreated
In the long term, if chlamydia is untreated, the infection may spread across the reproductive system and other organs. Inflammation of the cervix causes odorous vaginal discharge, abnormal bleeding, and pain during intercourse. With more widespread infection involving the Fallopian tubes and uterus, a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease can develop.6
The chlamydia bacteria infects the Fallopian tubes causing swelling and scarring of the tissues. This leads to blockage, and prevents the movement of eggs into the uterus. For this reason, fertilisation becomes a problem, and chlamydia can be responsible for causing infertility.7 Other sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhoea, may also cause PID in the same way.
Scarring of the Fallopian tubes can increase the chance of ectopic pregnancy, where the fertilised egg implants somewhere other than the uterus, for example in the Fallopian tubes. When this occurs, the embryo begins to grow and the tubes can rupture, leading to sudden onset of severe pain and bleeding. This can be life threatening if the embryo is not surgically removed. Therefore, it is important to seek immediate medical attention if you have sudden severe tummy pain with a positive pregnancy test.
Chlamydia can be passed from pregnant women to their unborn child. As such, it is associated with pre-term births, infant eye infections , and lung infections . For this reason, it is important to receive treatment for chlamydia early.
How Do I Get Tested For Chlamydia
Testing for chlamydia is easy. Testing is usually done on a urine sample or on a swab collected either by yourself or your doctor or nurse.
You will be asked to urinate into a jar. It is best if you have not passed urine for 20 minutes before the sample is collected.
- women can have swabs collected during an examination by their doctor or nurse:
- if there are symptoms such as pain, discharge or abnormal bleeding
- at the same time as a cervical screening test
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Im Pregnant How Does Chlamydia Affect My Baby
If you are pregnant and have chlamydia, you can give the infection to your baby during delivery. This can cause an eye infection or pneumonia in your baby. Having chlamydia may also make it more likely to deliver your baby early.
If you are pregnant, you should receive testing for chlamydia at your first prenatal visit. Talk to your healthcare provider about getting the correct examination, testing, and treatment. Testing and treatment are the best ways to prevent health problems.
Why Should I Have Treatment If I Have No Symptoms
If you are infected with chlamydia, it is essential that you take treatment even if you do not have any symptoms of chlamydial infection. Reasons for this include:
- The infection may spread and cause serious complications . This can be months or years after you are first infected.
- You can still pass on the infection to your sexual partner even if you do not have symptoms.
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Do Stds Go Away By Themselves
You may be wondering what to do next if you test positive for an STD. Do these infections go away on their own, or will you need to seek treatment? Hereâs the deal: almost all STDs will not clear up without medical intervention. If your STD test returns a positive result, you will need to follow the advice of your healthcare provider to protect your sexual health.
Fortunately, many STDs will clear up with a simple course of oral antibiotics. Bacterial infections such as gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis can all be cured with antibiotics. It is crucial, however, to complete the entire course of medication in order to truly clear up your infection. If you stop taking your medication early, even if your STD symptoms have resolved, the infection could remain in your body.
Other STIs, like hepatitis C, can be cured with some prescription medications if treated early. Hepatitis B, on the other hand, canât be cured. The disease can only be managed with prescription medication. There is, however, a Hepatitis B vaccine. Similarly, HPV canât be cured, but you can get vaccinated for it.
Finally, some STIs, such as herpes and HIV, have no cure or protective vaccine. Thankfully, you can manage herpes outbreaks with prescription medication, and antiretroviral drugs can help manage an HIV infection.
1. Chlamydia – CDC Fact Sheet . Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. URL. Accessed March 27, 2020.
How Accurate Are The Tests
The accuracy of a chlamydia test depends on the kind of test used and the type of sample thats collected. The recommended tests are over 95% accurate in picking up chlamydia. As no test is 100% accurate theres a small chance that the test will give a negative result when you do have chlamydia. This is known as a false negative result. This can sometimes explain why you might get a different result from another test or why you and a partner might get a different test result.
Its possible for the test to be positive if you havent got chlamydia, but this is rare.
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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.
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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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.
What Are Sexually Transmitted Infections Or Diseases
Sexually transmitted infections are also commonly called sexually transmitted diseases . They are the infections you get from another person through sexual contact. According to the CDC, there are more than 20 known types of STDs/STIs. In addition, over 20 million people in the United States are infected each year. About half of these people are age 15-24. Luckily, most STDs can be treated and cured.
How do you know if you have one? What is the best treatment? The information here should help answer these questions.
How do the male reproductive organs work?
The male reproductive system is specialized for the following functions:
- To produce, maintain and transport sperm and protective fluid
- To discharge sperm within the female reproductive tract
- To produce and secrete male sex hormones
The male reproductive anatomy includes external structures which include the:
The male reproductive anatomy includes internal structures which include the:
How do the female reproductive organs work?
During menopause the female reproductive system gradually stops making the female hormones necessary for the reproductive cycle to work. At this point, menstrual cycles can become irregular and eventually stop. One year after menstrual cycles stop, the woman is considered to be menopausal.
The female reproductive anatomy includes both external and internal structures.
The female reproductive anatomy includes internal structures which include the:
Often, there are no symptoms at all.
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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.
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Chlamydia Test For Women
To diagnose the infection, your doctor can use a few different chlamydia tests. Your doctor will likely ask you about your symptoms and why you think you have the infection. When this happens, its important to be as honest as possible.
Although many physicians do it, a chlamydia test is not automatically done at the time that a Pap test is done.
For this reason, its important for women, especially sexually active women aged 25 and under, to ask their health care provider whether theyre getting tested for chlamydia every year.
If you think you may have been exposed to an STD, youll have to ask for a screening.
Fortunately, chlamydia is easy to treat. If you suspect that you have it, youll need to:
- See your health care provider immediately before the infection does damage to your reproductive organs.
- Listen to your doctor and take all of your medicine. Even if your symptoms go away, you should finish your pills.
- Tell your sexual partner. They should know about the infection so that they too can be tested and treated.
- Avoid having sexual intercourse until you and your partner have been cured.
Since chlamydia is a bacteria, your doctor will prescribe you antibiotics.
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What Happens If Symptoms Are Left Untreated In Females
If chlamydia isn’t treated, it can spread to other areas and cause serious health conditions. In women, it can spread to the womb, ovaries, or fallopian tubes, and cause pelvic inflammatory disease . PID can cause difficulty in getting pregnant, long-term pelvic pain, and ectopic pregnancy, which is where a fertilised egg implants itself outside of the womb.
Pregnant women with untreated chlamydia are at risk of passing the infection on to their baby. The baby may develop an eye or lung infection as a result.
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.
Does Chlamydia Cause Cervical Cancer
No, chlamydia doesnt cause cervical cancer.
Its possible to get a sexually transmitted infection by having sex with someone who has an STI, even if they have no symptoms.
If you have an STI, theyll also help prevent you from passing it on to someone:
- Avoid sharing sex toys. If you do share them, wash them or cover them with a new condom before anyone else uses them.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
How can STIs/STDs be prevented?
The only way to avoid a STI or STD is to have no sexual contact with an infected person. Other protections include:
- Using a condom correctly, and always with sex
- Having a sexual relationship with only one, long-term partner who has no infections
- Limiting the number of sexual partners you have
- Using clean needles if you are injecting drugs
Using latex condoms the right way helps to protect you and your partner. Still, condoms donât cover everything. It is possible to get or spread infections even when using a condom.
Talk about STIs before you have sex with a new partner. This way you can make informed choices about risks you want to take with your sex life. The only way to truly prevent STIs/STDs is to avoid having sex.
If you or someone you know has symptoms like unusual discharge, burning during urination, or a sore in the genital area, please talk with a health care provider. You can get treatment and help.
Can STIs/STDs cause other health problems in women?
Some STIs can spread into a womanâs uterus and fallopian tubes. They can cause pelvic inflammatory disease. They can cause infertility and ectopic pregnancy . STIs can be passed from mother to baby. Also, there are some links between STIs and cancer.
What if I am pregnant?
You can get treatment to prevent problems for your baby. If you are pregnant and have STD symptoms, please contact your doctor immediately. STDs during pregnancy should be addressed quickly.
How To Treat Chlamydia Symptoms In Women
Chlamydia will not clear up on its own. You will need to treat it with antibiotics. There are two types of chlamydia treatments, azithromycin and doxycycline. These are chlamydia tablets or pills that you swallow whole with water.
Azithromycin is usually prescribed if you canât take doxycycline. Itâs taken for 3 days. You take two 500mg tablets on the first day and one 500mg tablet on the second and third day.
You should not have sex at any time whilst you are taking the treatment course and for a week after. This is because your body may take up to 7 days after treatment to respond to the antibiotics.
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How Can I Protect Myself From Chlamydia
Its not always possible to know if a current or potential partner has chlamydia, though, especially since many people with chlamydia never notice symptoms. With prevention in mind, its a good idea to make safer sex practices a regular part of your sex life:
- Dont share sex toys, but if you do, wash them after each use and cover toys used for penetration with a condom.
- Have sex with only one partner, who only has sex with you.
Are There Complications Of Chlamydia
Chlamydia can cause serious complications if it isnt treated promptly and properly.
For women, chlamydia can spread into the uterus and the fallopian tubes and cause pelvic inflammatory disease . This can cause problems with pregnancy, such as ectopic pregnancy. Women with untreated chlamydia have up to a 1 in 12 chance of becoming infertile. In men, chlamydia can spread to the testicles and the tubes that carry sperm, causing pain and fertility problems.
Pregnant women who are infected with chlamydia have a higher chance of miscarriage or premature birth. Their babies may also get an eye or lung infection. You can read more about chlamydia and pregnancy here.
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How Do I Know If I Have Chlamydia
Chlamydia often has no symptoms, but it can cause serious health problems, even without symptoms. If symptoms occur, they may not appear until several weeks after having sex with a partner who has chlamydia.
Even when chlamydia has no symptoms, it can damage a womans reproductive system. Women with symptoms may notice
- An abnormal vaginal discharge and
- A burning sensation when peeing.
Symptoms in men can include
- A burning sensation when peeing and
- Pain and swelling in one or both testicles .
See a healthcare provider if you notice any of these symptoms. You should also see a provider if your partner has an STD or symptoms of one. Symptoms can include
- An unusual sore
Top Things To Know About Chlamydia:
- Chlamydia is often asymptomatic, meaning that many people donât know they have it
- Chlamydia symptoms can include pus-like yellow discharge frequent or painful urination spotting between periods or after sex and/or rectal pain, bleeding, or discharge
- Untreated, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy, and/or infertility in women and people with female reproductive tracts
- Antibiotics are used to treat chlamydia infections
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