Signs and Symptoms of Chlamydia | Revere Health

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can affect both men and women. When treated right away, chlamydia rarely causes serious health problems. However, complications can be serious. That’s why it’s critical to know the symptoms of chlamydia and get tested if you think you might have been exposed.

What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is caused by bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis and is often spread through oral, vaginal or anal sex with an infected person. Chlamydia can also spread from a mother to her baby during childbirth.

If this STI goes untreated, women can develop pelvic inflammatory disease, which can lead to infertility and increases a woman’s risk of ectopic pregnancy. Untreated chlamydia in men rarely causes infertility, but it can cause the infection to spread to other parts of the reproductive system. Like most STIs, chlamydia increases a person’s risk of HIV.

What are the Symptoms?

Most people with chlamydia don’t have symptoms. This is dangerous because it means many people with chlamydia don’t know they have it and don’t seek treatment, which increases the risk of complications and spreading the infection to others.

Those who do have symptoms might notice the following:

  • Burning during urination
  • Abnormal discharge
  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Itching

Women may also notice pain during sex and men might have swollen testicles (although this is less common).

Should I Get Tested?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends annual screening, especially if you have a sexual partner who has an STI or if you are:

  • A sexually active woman younger than 25
  • Pregnant
  • A woman over 25 with new or multiple sex partners
  • A sexually active gay or bisexual man

How is Chlamydia Diagnosed and Treated?

A urine test or cell sample from a cotton swab can help your doctor diagnose chlamydia. If the results come back positive, your doctor will likely prescribe an oral antibiotic. Make sure to follow your doctor’s instructions very carefully when taking an antibiotic to avoid complications. Severe cases of chlamydia may require IV antibiotics or hospitalization.

It’s critical that you tell your sexual partner(s) if you are diagnosed with chlamydia. Doing so allows them to be tested and treated promptly. It also prevents reinfection and infecting others.

After you have completed treatment, you should get tested again in three months, as reinfection is common.

Do not have unprotected sex until you’ve been retested for chlamydia. Ask your doctor when it is safe to have sex again.

How Can I Prevent Chlamydia?

To prevent chlamydia and other STIs:

  • Use a condom every time you have sex
  • Avoid sexual contact with people who have not been tested for STIs
  • Use a condom with sex toys and wash them after each use
  • Limit the number of sexual partners you have
  • Avoid sexual activity if you notice strange symptoms

Are you at risk for chlamydia? Have you noticed unusual symptoms? Visit your doctor. He or she will determine whether you have an STI and recommend treatment.

Dr. Oneida practices the full range of family medicine including obstetrics, pediatrics, adolescent medicine, adult medicine and some orthopedics. She also performs colposcopy, cryotherapy and vasectomies. Due to the volume of deliveries done, her practice has evolved to be more centered on women and children’s medicine, although she enjoys all aspects of family medicine. 

Sources:

“Chlamydia – CDC Fact Sheet.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/stdfact-chlamydia.htm.

“Chlamydia Symptoms and Treatment.” Avert: Global information and education on HIV and AIDS. https://www.avert.org/sex-stis/sexually-transmitted-infections/chlamydia

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.

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