How Do You Get Chlamydia
Chlamydia can be passed on through genital contact. This means you can get chlamydia from someone who has the infection if your genitals touch, even if you dont have sex or ejaculate .
You can also get chlamydia if you come into contact with infected semen or vaginal fluid, or get them in your eye.
Chlamydia cant be passed on through kissing, hugging, sharing towels or using the same toilet as someone with the infection.
How Long Can You Have Chlamydia Without Symptoms
Even after an infection, the symptoms of this may not be visible for varying periods from one week to three weeks. In some cases the symptoms may not be visible for even months and during this period the infection grows silently in your body. Due to this, Chlamydia is also called as a silent infection. So it is always good to get the testing done for this bacterium if you have reason to believe that you have the infection or your sexual partner had the infection and you indulged in unprotected oral, anal or vaginal sex with him.
How Will Chlamydia Affect My Pregnancy
The largest risk to the fetus is if the infection goes untreated. The CDC suggests that all pregnant women be tested at the first prenatal appointment.If you are at a higher risk for contracting STIs during your pregnancy , an additional test should be done in the third trimester so that treatment can be started before delivery.If you have an active or untreated chlamydia infection during delivery, the baby has a chance of contracting the infection that will affect the baby in one of two ways: chlamydial conjunctivitis or chlamydial pneumonia .The CDC also states that an active chlamydia infection during pregnancy increases the risk of preterm delivery.
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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
Typical Antibiotics Prescribed To Those Infected
You can treat chlamydia and completely remove it from the system. The best treatment options are prescribed by your doctor, and they include proper antibiotics with high potency. Depending on the potency required and how allergic you are to the ingredients, your doctor can prescribe:
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How Do You Prevent Chlamydia
Chlamydia can be passed on by sharing sex toys. Always cover sex toys with a new condom and wash them after use to reduce your risk of getting chlamydia and other STIs.
Its important to regularly test for chlamydia, even if you dont have any symptoms, especially if youve had multiple sexual partners.
The contraceptive pill and other types of contraception wont prevent you getting chlamydia, and neither will PrEP.
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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Chlamydia Is Common But Many People Dont Realize They Have It
About 1.7 million chlamydia infections were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2017, but the real number is likely higher because chlamydia is considered an underreported infection.
“The number of reported cases is substantially lower than the true estimated incidence,” says Bradley Stoner, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and former president of the American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association.
The National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System relies on state and local public health departments to collect and report data on chlamydia to the CDC. Those public health departments depend on individual physicians, hospitals, and laboratories to report cases of chlamydia to them. Accurate statistics require all parties to routinely comply with disease-reporting mandates.
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.
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How Can I Prevent Getting Chlamydia During Pregnancy
There are only two 100% effective ways to prevent chlamydia. The first is to refrain from sexual contact of any kind. The second is to be in a long-term monogamous relationship such as marriage in which both of you test negative for STIs.According to the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States , the consistent and correct use of condoms can decrease the risk of contracting chlamydia during vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse by only 60%.
Compiled using information from the following sources:
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Signs And Symptoms Of Chlamydia
Chlamydia is known as one of the silent diseases which can produce no symptoms for a long period of time. Approximately 7095 percent of women and 50 percent of men with chlamydia do not observe chlamydia symptoms at all. The symptoms can also be mild and almost unnoticeable.
Another reason why symptoms are not the best way to determine the infection is that it is often confused with gonorrhea as the symptoms are very much alike. Asymptomatic nature of chlamydia makes it difficult to estimate how long a person remains infectious and this period is commonly believed to last until full recovery.
Chlamydia symptoms show up between 1 and 3 weeks after the contraction.
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What Are Chlamydia Symptoms
Chlamydia in women and people with female reproductive organs is often asymptomatic. This means that people often do not experience any discomfort or notice any changes while infected.
Without any symptoms, people may be infected and not know it. Some people may have very mild or vague symptoms after they are infected, which can be confused with a urinary tract infection or vaginal infection .
Is It Possible To Prevent Chlamydia
Since most people who have the infection do not have symptoms and may not be aware they are infected, it is commonly spread, and it can be difficult to prevent the infection. Male condoms can reduce the risk of spreading or acquiring the infection. Having a mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested or treated also reduces the risk of contracting chlamydia infection.
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How Common Is Chlamydia
CDC estimates that there were four million chlamydial infections in 2018.3 Chlamydia is also the most frequently reported bacterial sexually transmitted infection in the United States.4 However, a large number of cases are not reported because most people with chlamydia are asymptomatic and do not seek testing. Chlamydia is most common among young people. Two-thirds of new chlamydial infections occur among youth aged 15-24 years.3 It is estimated that 1 in 20 sexually active young women aged 14-24 years has chlamydia.5
Disparities persist among racial and ethnic minority groups. In 2019, reported chlamydia rates for African Americans/Blacks were nearly six times that of Whites.4 Chlamydia is also common among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men . 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
What Happens If Chlamydia Goes Untreated
A sexually transmitted infection of chlamydia can cause an infection of the cervix, urethra, and fallopian tubes in people with female reproductive organs .
As time progresses and an untreated chlamydia infection continues to spread, serious and long-term consequences like pelvic inflammatory disease , ectopic pregnancy, infertility, or chronic pelvic pain may develop in individuals with female reproductive organs. Chlamydia bacteria travel up the reproductive tract from the vagina through the cervix to the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes, causing inflammation and infection. Once inside, the bacteria damage the ovaries and fallopian tubes, and can cause scarring . This can have long-term effects including infertility, as scar tissue can block the fallopian tubes, preventing sperm from fertilizing an egg. Ectopic pregnancies are also more common, as a fertilized egg may get stuck in the damaged fallopian tubeâthis can be life threatening.
Chronic pelvic pain is also a possible long-term consequence of untreated chlamydia infections and is a symptom of PID .
In people with male reproductive organs, chlamydia can cause an infection of the urethra and epididymis, the tube that collects and stores sperm from the testicles .
What Does Chlamydia Infection Mean For My Health
Chlamydia can be treated and cured easily, but that doesnt mean that chlamydia infection isnt potentially dangerous. If chlamydia isnt diagnosed and left untreated, it can cause serious complications.
Untreated chlamydia infections in women may lead to:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease , a serious infection of the reproductive organs . Left untreated, PID can cause infertility , chronic pelvic pain, or ectopic pregnancy.
- A condition called mucopurulent cervicitis, characterized by a yellow discharge from the cervix
Untreated chlamydia in men may lead to:
- Scarring of the urethra
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 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.
How Does Chlamydia Affect A Pregnant Woman And Her Baby
In pregnant women, untreated chlamydia has been associated with pre-term delivery,34 as well as ophthalmia neonatorum and pneumonia in the newborn. In published prospective studies, chlamydial conjunctivitis has been identified in 18-44% and chlamydial pneumonia in 3-16% of infants born to women with untreated chlamydial cervical infection at the time of delivery.9-12 Neonatal prophylaxis against gonococcal conjunctivitis routinely performed at birth does not effectively prevent chlamydial conjunctivitis.37-39
Screening and treatment of chlamydia in pregnant women is the best method for preventing neonatal chlamydial disease. All pregnant women should be screened for chlamydia at their first prenatal visit. Pregnant women under 25 and those at increased risk for chlamydia should be screened again in their third trimester. Pregnant women with chlamydial infection should be retested 3 weeks and 3 months after completion of recommended therapy.40
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Burning Sensation When Urinating
Chlamydia can cause a burning sensation when you urinate. Its easy to mistake this for a symptom of a urinary tract infection.
You might also feel like you have the urge to urinate more often than usual. And when you do go to urinate, only a little bit comes out. Your urine might also smell unusual or look cloudy.
If you have chalmydia, you might also feel some pain during sex, especially intercourse.
You may also some bleeding and lingering irritation after any type of sexual activity involving penetration.
Chlamydia Symptoms & Treatment
- Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection that is normally passed on through sex without a condom or sharing sex toys with someone who has the infection.
- Using male or female condoms and dental dams during sex will help to protect you from getting chlamydia.
- Chlamydia is often symptomless however if left untreated it can lead to long-term health problems.
- Chlamydia is easily treated with antibiotics.
- Chlamydia can be passed on from mother to child during pregnancy, so its important for pregnant women to get tested.
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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Getting Chlamydia
The only way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting chlamydia:
- Be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results
- Use latex condoms the right way every time you have sex.
Chlamydia Is Caused By Sexually Transmitted Bacteria
The bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis causes chlamydia infection, which usually occurs in the genital tract, so the cervix in women and the penis in men. In both women and men, the bacteria may also infect the rectum and the throat.
“Infections are spread during any kind of sexual activity: vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse,” says Jonathan Schaffir, MD, an ob-gyn at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.
Chlamydia trachomatis can also cause conjunctivitis if the bacteria come into contact with the eyelids or the clear membrane covering the white of the eye.
Because chlamydia infections often cause no symptoms, individuals who have one may not seek medical attention or get treated for it. However, anyone who is infected with chlamydia can pass it to other people, who can, in turn, pass it to others.
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Can Chlamydia Make You Infertile
Various studies have shown that the Chlamydia infection is one of the prime causes of infertility in women. When the infection occurs in a woman, it first affects her cervix and if left untreated the infection spreads fast to the Fallopian tubes and then to the ovaries, interfering with their normal functioning. When the bacterium is allowed to stay in the Fallopian tubes, it causes extensive damage to the delicate hairs that are present in the tubes that help in the movement of eggs to the ovary. This damage creates scarring and blockage occurs at these sites causing permanent infertility. Thus, Chlamydia causes infertility in women, which normally cannot be reversed.
In some cases the Chlamydia infection causes ectopic pregnancies which pose a great danger to the life of the mother. In these cases this must be diagnosed as soon as possible and corrective treatments taken to prevent possible dangerous complications.
Chlamydia Infection May Have Long
For women, the long-term effects of an untreated chlamydia infection may include:
- Severe infection with pain and fever requiring a hospital stay
- Pelvic inflammatory disease, an infection of the upper reproductive tract
- Scarring in the reproductive tract that causes infertility
- Higher risk of ectopic pregnancy
Men are less likely than women to have major health problems linked to chlamydia, although they can develop epididymitis, an inflammation of a structure within the testicles called the epididymis that can result in infertility.
A chlamydia infection can sometimes result in reactive arthritis in both men and women.
Female Complications Of Untreated Chlamydia
Women can also become infertile if chlamydia is left untreated because the fallopian tubes may become scarred.
How Do I Prevent Chlamydia
Using condoms every time you have sex can greatly reduce the risk of contracting chlamydia. Condoms should be used not just during ejaculation, but before any genital or sexual contact starts. If you are having oral-vaginal sex, use a dental dam to stay protected.
Ask a partner whether theyâve been tested recently for STIs before starting sexual contact. If a partner has sex with multiple people, ask about their STI status and encourage them to also get tested. Limiting the number of sexual partners you are exposed to will also decrease your risk of contracting chlamydia.
For people with female reproductive organs, a yearly gynecologic visit is recommended, even for those in a monogamous longterm relationship. People who are sexually active should always be screened for chlamydia. The screening can easily be performedâon a urine specimen, or as part of a pelvic exam.
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