What Is The Best Chlamydia Treatment
The best antibiotic to treat chlamydia is doxycycline. If doxycycline cannot be taken, the second line choice of medication to treat chlamydia is azithromycin. Both treatments are over 90% effective and should only be taken if you, or a recent sexual partner, has tested positive for chlamydia.
Chlamydia Treatment And Prevention
Chlamydia is easy to cure. If you test positive for chlamydia, basically you take an antibiotic, says Jill Rabin, MD, cochief in the division of ambulatory care for women’s health programs and prenatal care assistance program services for Northwell Health in New Hyde Park, New York.
Your partner must take an antibiotic, too, to keep them from reinfecting you, she says.
You have to have your partner treated, and if you have more than one partner, they should all be treated, says Dr. Rabin, regardless of your partners genders.
Even if you dont have chlamydia now, its wise to learn how to protect yourself so you wont develop this common infection in the first place. In women, chlamydia can create serious health problems, including infertility. Besides, no one ever wants to have a sexually transmitted disease and then have to tell other people about it.
What Are The Symptoms Of Chlamydia
If you do notice symptoms, youll likely experience them differently based on your reproductive anatomy. Many of the symptoms that cisgender women experience can also affect transgender men and nonbinary individuals with vaginas. Many of the symptoms that cisgender men notice can affect transgender women and nonbinary individuals with penises, too.
Signs of chlamydia if you have a vagina
- White, yellow or gray discharge from your vagina that may be smelly.
- Pus in your urine .
- Increased need to pee.
- Itching or burning in and around your vagina.
- Dull pain in the lower part of your abdomen.
Signs of chlamydia if you have a penis
Chlamydia bacteria most often infect your urethra, causing symptoms that are similar to nongonococcal urethritis. You may notice:
- Mucus-like or clear, watery discharge from your penis.
- Pain or a burning sensation when you pee .
Signs of chlamydia that all genders may notice
Chlamydia can affect parts of your body other than your reproductive organs, such as your:
- Anus. You may notice pain, discomfort, bleeding or a mucus-like discharge from your bottom.
- Throat. You may have a sore throat, but you usually wont notice symptoms if the bacterias in your throat.
- Eyes. You may notice symptoms of conjunctivitis if C. trachomatis bacteria gets in your eye. Symptoms include redness, pain and discharge.
How Chlamydias Passed On
Chlamydia is usually passed from one person to another through sexual contact.
You can get the infection if you come into contact with the semen or vaginal fluids of someone who has chlamydia.
Chlamydia is most commonly spread through:
- vaginal or anal sex without a condom
- 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 infected semen or vaginal fluid comes into contact with the eye it can cause conjunctivitis (infection or irritation of the eye.
If youre pregnant its possible to pass chlamydia to the baby .
Its not clear if chlamydia can be spread by transferring infected semen or vaginal fluid to another persons genitals on the fingers or through rubbing vulvas together.
You cant get chlamydia from kissing, hugging, sharing baths or towels, swimming pools, toilet seats or from sharing cups, plates or cutlery.
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.
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How To Take It
Always swallow your doxycycline capsule whole and have it with a full glass of water .
You can take this medicine with or without food. However youre less likely to feel sick if you have it with food.
Its important to take doxycycline while youre in an upright position. You can be sitting, standing or walking. This will stop the medicine irritating your food pipe or stomach.
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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.
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What Are The Symptoms
Most women and men with chlamydia are asymptomatic meaning no obvious symptoms are present. However, they can still infect sexual partners.
Women may notice symptoms such as:
- an unusual vaginal discharge
- a burning or stinging sensation when urinating
- pain or bleeding during intercourse and
- pelvic pain.
If left untreated, chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease . Potential infection and scarring of the fallopian tubes may cause infertility or pregnancy complications. Ectopic pregnancies are also a real risk.
For men, typical symptoms include:
- a burning or stinging sensation when urinating
- discharge from the penis and
- if left untreated, painful or swollen testicles.
Men also run the risk of infertility.
Additionally, both genders can develop complications such as reactive arthritis . This is where the urethra, joints and eyes become inflamed.
Symptoms of chlamydia contracted through anal sex may include a painful bum and anal discharge.
Is Azithromycin Better Than Doxycycline At Curing Chlamydia
STD guidelines still favor azithromycin over doxycycline for the treatment of chlamydia. This is because of the following reasons:
- Cure rates of azithromycin and doxycycline are similar, 97% and 98-100% respectively, according to a meta-analysis of 12 trials.
- Azithromycin is given as a single dose, doxycycline needs to be given for seven days, either as a once-daily or twice-daily dose.
- The dose of azithromycin can be easily supervised if need be it is much harder to supervise seven days of once daily or twice daily doxycycline treatment
- People are more likely to take a single dose of azithromycin than finish a seven-day course of doxycycline.
Recently, some reports have suggested that doxycycline may be more effective than azithromycin, particularly when medication adherence can be assured. There is also some concern that azithromycin may not be as effective for anogenital chlamydial infections.
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Does Chlamydia Treatment Have Side Effects
An antibiotic called Doxycycline is the most common medicine used to treat chlamydia. Like most medicines, it can cause mild side effects. The most common side effects of Doxycycline are nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, loss of appetite, mild diarrhea, skin rash or itching, change in skin color, vaginal itching, or discharge. These side effects should go away after you finish taking the medicine. Talk to your nurse or doctor about any medicines youre already taking and any medical issues you already have before taking Doxycycline.
What Is The Dosage Of Azithromycin For Chlamydia
The recommended dosage of azithromycin for chlamydia is 1 gram as a single dose. This dose may be taken morning or night and can be taken with or without food. Another name for azithromycin is Zithromax.
If you have taken your dose of azithromycin on an empty stomach and your stomach has become a bit upset or you feel sick, it is Ok to eat some food, which may help to settle it.
A 500mg dose of azithromycin is not recommended by guidelines to cure chlamydia. There is also a chance it may increase the risk of C. trachomatis bacteria becoming resistant to it. If you have only taken or only been prescribed a 500mg dose of azithromycin, you need to return to your doctor to get a 1 gram dose prescribed. You should never share your dose of azithromycin with another person.
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How Is Chlamydia Treated
Chlamydia can be cleared up with antibiotics in about a week or two. But dont stop taking your medication just because your symptoms improve. Ask your provider about what follow-up is needed to be sure your infection is gone after youve finished taking your medicine.
Part of your treatment should also include avoiding sexual activities that could cause you to get re-infected and ensuring that any sexual partners who may be infected also get treatment. You should:
- Abstain from sex until your infection has cleared up. Starting treatment doesnt mean that youre in the clear. Take all your medication as your provider directs, and avoid all sexual contact in the meantime.
- Contact all sexual partners. Tell any sexual partners from the last 3 months that youre infected so that they can get tested, too.
- Get tested for other STIs . Its common to have multiple STIs, and its important to receive treatment thats tailored to each infection.
Antibiotics can get rid of your infection, but they cant reverse any harm the bacteria may have caused to your body before treatment. This is why its so important to get screened regularly for chlamydia, to see your provider at the first sign of symptoms, and get treatment immediately if youre infected.
Urethritis Due To Gonorrhea Or Chlamydia
You have urethritis. This is an inflammation in the urethra. The urethra is the tube between the bladder and the tip of the penis. Urine drains out of the body through the urethra. There are 2 main types of this condition:
Gonococcal urethritis . This is an infection caused by gonorrhea.
Nongonococcal urethritis . This is an infection that is often caused by chlamydia. Other infections can also be the cause.
Men are more likely to have symptoms, but may not. Symptoms can start within 1 week after exposure to an infection. But they can take a month or more to appear. Or they may not even occur. Some symptoms are:
Burning or pain when urinating
Irritation in the penis
Pus discharge from the penis
Pain and possible swelling in one or both testicles
Infections in the urethra are often caused by a sexually transmitted infection . The most common STIs are gonorrhea, chlamydia, or both.
Gonococcal urethritis is an infection of the urethra. Its caused by gonorrhea. Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection . Gonorrhea can also be in other areas of the body. This can cause:
Rectal pain and discharge
Without treatment, the infection can get worse and spread to other parts of your body. The infection can cause rashes, arthritis, and infections in your joints, heart, and brain.
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How Is Chlamydia Diagnosed
The most common test for chlamydia is called a nucleic acid amplification test . Your provider takes a sample of fluid by doing a vaginal/cervical swab or collecting a urine sample. Then, they send the sample off to a lab to check for the bacteria that causes chlamydia. Your provider may do the test in an office, or they may ask you to do an at-home chlamydia test. Follow your providers instructions carefully to ensure you get accurate test results.
Because most chlamydia cases are asymptomatic, its important to get screened for chlamydia even if you dont notice any signs of infection. The CDC recommends that sexually active cisgender women who are high-risk for chlamydia get screened regularly. Women, more so than men, experience the most severe complications from chlamydia. Transgender men and nonbinary individuals with vaginas should be screened regularly, too, as they can experience the same complications of chlamydia.
Youre considered high-risk if you:
- Are under 25.
- Have had chlamydia infections previously.
Cisgender men, or trans and nonbinary individuals with penises, should be screened for chlamydia if:
- They live in a setting where chlamydia spreads frequently, like correctional facilities, adolescent clinics and sexual health clinics.
- They have sex with other men.
What Does A Chlamydia Test Involve
- If you have a vulva, you may be asked to take a swab around the inside of your vagina yourself.
- A doctor or nurse may take a swab during an internal examination of your vagina and cervix .
- You may be asked to provide a urine sample. Before having this test, youre advised not to pass urine for 12 hours.
- A doctor or nurse may take a swab from the entrance of the urethra .
- If youve had anal or oral sex, a doctor or nurse may swab your rectum or throat . These swabs arent done routinely on everyone.
- If you have symptoms of conjunctivitis swabs will be used to collect a sample of discharge from your eye.
A swab looks a bit like a cotton bud but is smaller and rounded. It sometimes has a small plastic loop on the end rather than a cotton tip. Its wiped over the parts of the body that could be infected. This only takes a few seconds and isnt painful, though it may be uncomfortable for a moment.
Cervical screening and routine blood tests dont detect chlamydia.
If youre not sure whether youve been tested for chlamydia, just ask.
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Treatment For Chlamydia Is Quick And Easy
Two antibiotics are most often used for treating chlamydia:
- Azithromycin The main treatment for chlamydia is one gram of azithromycin, taken one time, says , deputy director of clinical services for public health with the Seattle and King County HIV and STD Program in Washington. That one gram comes as either two pills or four pills. It is not expensive.
- Doxycycline If your doctor prescribes doxycycline, you will take two pills daily for one week. It costs somewhat more than azithromycin.
Antibiotics can also cure chlamydia in infants, who can get the infection from their mothers, and treatment is essential for them. Without treatment, infants infected with chlamydia can develop conjunctivitis, which can cause blindness, or pneumonia, which can be fatal.
Put Sex On Hold During And After Chlamydia Treatment
If you were given a single dose of antibiotics to treat your chlamydia, you should not have any kind of sex for a full seven days after the day you took the medicine. If youre taking antibiotics for a week, wait another seven days after the last day of your treatment. Be sure to take all of the medicine that is prescribed for you.
Not having sex for seven days after treatment is important so you dont spread the infection to your partner or partners.
Medication stops the infection and can keep you from spreading the disease, but it wont cure any permanent damage that the infection caused before you started treatment. In women, such damage can include blocking the fallopian tubes, causing infertility.
If you still have symptoms for more than a few days after you stop taking your medicine, go back to see your doctor or other healthcare provider so they can check you again.
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So What Is The Best Treatment For Chlamydia
Current guidance from both the National Institute of Clinical Excellence and the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, state that doxycycline is the preferred and first-line treatment for chlamydia. This is due to antibiotic resistance, as research has shown that chlamydia responds better to doxycycline. Azithromycin should be used where doxycycline is not safe to be prescribed, and for patients who may experience difficulty in sticking to a one-week regime. To find out more information, you can visit our chlamydia FAQâs.
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.
Inflammation Of The Testicles
In men, chlamydia can spread to the testicles and epididymis , causing them to become painful and swollen. This is known as epididymitis or epididymo-orchitis. This is very rare.
The inflammation is usually treated with antibiotics. If its not treated, theres a possibility it could affect your fertility.
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