Think of the clichés associated with chlamydia. One that springs to mind might be that chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that affects women much more than it does men. And, you wouldn’t be entirely wrong - the chlamydia rates among females was almost two times higher than the rate among males in 2018 [1]. However, chlamydia is so common that it can impact just about anyone who is sexually active, and it also has the potential to cause long-term complications in both males and females.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chlamydia is the most common notifiable disease in the United States - with rates among adult males steadily increasing over recent years. Without regular testing, chlamydia cases can often go unnoticed and as a result, untreated; this can sometimes cause complications in men, including:

  • Epididymitis
  • Increased chance of other infections
  • Reactive arthritis

See also: Why its Easy to get Help for an STD

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What happens if you leave Chlamydia untreated male?

Chlamydia’s infamous ‘silent infection’ nickname originates from the fact that the infection sometimes shows little to no symptoms. In fact, according to the NHS, over half of all men with chlamydia don’t notice any symptoms at all which is why it can often go untreated [2]. If the infection goes unnoticed and is left untreated, it can spread and can result in some potentially serious complications in men.


Epididymitis refers to inflammation and swelling in the testicles and the epididymis: the tube located at the back of the testicle that carries and stores sperm. This might feel like a sudden or gradual pain and the scrotum may feel tender and swollen. Epididymitis can be treated with a course of antibiotics, but if it’s left untreated, it can affect fertility [3].

See also: 3 Possible Reasons Why it Hurts to Pee

Increased chance of other infections

Untreated chlamydia can increase a person’s chances of contracting another sexually transmitted infection. According to the CDC, when a chlamydia infection doesn’t receive the correct treatment, it can potentially increase a person’s chance of acquiring or transmitting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) [4].

See also: Common STD Symptoms in Men: Should You Get Tested?

What happens if a man has chlamydia for a long time?

When a man has been living with chlamydia for a long-time, the body can develop a reaction to the infection and develop a condition referred to as reactive arthritis [5].

Reactive arthritis

Reactive arthritis refers to a condition that causes redness and swelling in the joints in the body - particularly the knees and the joints of the ankles and feet. It develops after a bacterial infection such as a sexually transmitted infection or food poisoning.

The signs and symptoms include pain, stiffness, eye inflammation, urinary problems, or swollen toes and fingers. If you develop any of these symptoms or joint pain after a bacterial infection, it’s important to reach out to your health care provider.

See also: What Happens When you Leave an STD Unchecked?

One of the most reliable ways to keep an eye on your sexual health is through regular sexual health screening. This can be done with your doctor or from home with an at-home lab test.

LetsGetChecked’s range of at-home Sexual Health tests can detect some of the most common sexually transmitted infections. Online results will be available within 2-5 days and our dedicated clinical team will be available to answer any questions you may have throughout the process. Should you test positive, you will receive a call to discuss your results and your treatment options.

You should consider taking a test if:

  • You become sexually active
  • You have had unprotected sex
  • You are experiencing symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection
  • You are entering into a new sexual relationship
  • You have received a notification from a previous partner that they are infected

See also: How do you Check for Chlamydia From Home?

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Buy an At-Home Sexual Health Test

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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2018 Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance. Online:
  2. NHS. Chlamydia. Online:
  3. NHS. Chlamydia. Online:
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. STD Facts - Chlamydia. Online:
  5. Mayo Clinic. Reactive Arthritis. Online: