Did you know that you can get chlamydia in the mouth and throat? Chlamydia isn't a disease that simply manifests in the genitals, it is also possible to experience chlamydia in the mouth, throat and even the inner lining of your eyelid!
This week, LetsGetChecked talk you through how you can get chlamydia in the mouth and throat, along with the symptoms, treatment and how to avoid contracting chlamydia.
Having read this article, you will be more likely to stay clear from contracting a sexually transmitted disease in the first instance because with knowledge comes power, and that is what LetsGetChecked is all about. We want to empower you to take control of your health through providing you with the candid information you need to know when it comes to all aspects of your health, including sexual health.
First things first, if you receive a chlamydia diagnosis, try not to panic. Most sexually transmitted diseases can be treated as effectively as any other health condition with the use of antibiotics.
Secondly you need to ask yourself, do you have a sore throat or cough, that isn't being effectively treated with over the counter medication? It might be time to hear the truth about chlamydia in the throat.
- What Is Chlamydia?
- How Can You Get Chlamydia In The Mouth And Throat?
- What Are The Symptoms Of Chlamydia In Women?
- What Are The Symptoms Of Chlamydia In Men?
- What Are The Symptoms Of Chlamydia In The Mouth And Throat?
- How Can You Treat Chlamydia In The Mouth And Throat?
- Should You Get Tested For Chlamydia?
What Is Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease that is caused by the bacteria chlamydia trachomatis. Chlamydia is the most widely reported STD in the world, and is the second most common STD second to HPV.
Chlamydia can affect both men and women. If left untreated, it can cause fatal irreversible damage to female reproductive organs in the form of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can cause infertility through emerging scar tissue within female reproductive organs. In some instances, scar tissue may cause a partial or full blockage of the fallopian tubes, which prevents the fusion of the egg and sperm, thus causing infertility.
The CDC reports an increase in the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases year on year.
Chlamydia Trachomatis often targets cells which are not covered by skin. The bacteria often thrive on mucous membranes. Ideal surfaces for chlamydia trachomatis include the cells that cover surfaces of the vagina, the urethra, the throat and even the lining of the eyelid.
Oral chlamydia is not as common as genital chlamydia however it happens. You are most likely to be diagnosed with chlamydia of the mouth and/or throat if you give someone who is carrying the disease oral sex. Conversely, if you receive oral sex from someone who is carrying chlamydia in the mouth or throat, you are at a high risk for developing genital chlamydia.
How Can You Get Chlamydia In The Mouth And Throat?
Chlamydia is passed through intimate sexual contact. While the disease is most commonly transmitted through penetrative anal or vaginal sex, it may also be passed through oral sex. Generally speaking, the bacteria chlamydia trachomatis is passed through bodily fluids and can infect the cervix, rectum, eyes, throat, mouth and male urethra.
It is often misunderstood that you cannot contract chlamydia unless infected bodily fluids make contact with a partner's genitals. However, it possible to contract chlamydia in sex that results in a "dry orgasm", or sex that does not involve ejaculation.
There are some myths out there about how you can contract sexually transmitted diseases, so to put your mind at ease we have detailed some instances in which you will not contract chlamydia.
It is not possible to contact chlamydia through:
- Sharing eating utensils
- Sharing lipstick
- Sharing food
- Sharing toiletries
As mentioned before, chlamydia is most commonly passed on through vaginal or anal sex, however it may occur in other instances.
Chlamydia may be passed on by:
- Receiving oral sex from someone who has the infection in their mouth or throat.
- Giving oral sex to someone who has an infection of the genitals
- The giving or receiving of oral-anal sex
- Sharing sex toys with an infected partner
So how can you get chlamydia in the mouth and throat?
The most common way to get chlamydia in the mouth or throat is through giving someone oral sex who has genital chlamydia.
These instances include:
- Performing oral sex on a male who has an infected penis or urethra
- Performing oral sex on a female who has an infected vagina or urinary tract
- Performing oral anal
Next, we will discuss the signs and symptoms that you have chlamydia with a particular focus on the symptoms associated with chlamydia in the mouth and throat.
What Are The Symptoms Of Chlamydia In Women?
While the majority of chlamydia cases are asymptomatic. Women may experience symptoms including:
- Irregular discharge in colour and consistency
- Foul smelling discharge
- Spotting between periods
- Irregular periods
- Painful periods
- Itching, burning or dryness around the vagina
- A burning sensation while urinating
- Abdominal pain
What Are The Symptoms Of Chlamydia In Men?
Men are also not likely to experience symptoms of chlamydia, however if they do, symptoms generally include:
- Irregular discharge in colour and consistency
- A burning sensation while urinating
- Burning and itching around the opening of the penis
- Burning and itching around the opening of the rectum
- Pain and swelling around the testicles
What Are The Symptoms Of Chlamydia In The Mouth And Throat?
The CDC reports that 85% of sexually active adults aged between 18-44 years of age reported having oral sex at least once with a partner of the opposite sex.
The only way to ensure that you do not contract a sexually transmitted disease through oral sex is to wear a condom. Condoms are often disregarded during oral sex because there is no pregnancy risk attached to oral sex, in fact in one study it was found that the thought of safe sex and the implications of pregnancy associated with safe sex often acted as a turn-off for both me and women. One study found that:
Arousal loss related to safer-sex practices was more strongly associated with unprotected sex among women than among men, whereas arousal loss related to pregnancy risk was more strongly associated with unintended pregnancy among men than among women.
If you do not use condoms during oral sex, don't beat yourself up, just know that you are at greater risk of developing oral sexually transmitted diseases. So what are the most common symptoms associated with chlamydia in the mouth and throat?
Symptoms of chlamydia in the mouth and throat include:
- A sore throat that is not being treated effectively with throat medicine
- A cough that is not being treated effectively with cough medicine
- Feeling feverish
- Blisters that are similar to coldsores around and in the mouth
- Symptoms that are similar to strep throat including white spots and redness in the mouth and throat
- A scratchy throat
- Dryness and itchiness in the mouth and throat
How Can You Treat Chlamydia In The Mouth And Throat?
95% of those who suffer from chlamydia will be treated effectively if they take antibiotics correctly following their diagnosis.
Following your diagnosis, you shouldn’t have sex even if you are using a condom until both you and your partner have the all clear. If you have chlamydia in the mouth and or throat, you should be particularly careful. Do not engage in vaginal, anal or oral sex until you have completed the treatment.
Two commonly prescribed antibiotics following diagnosis include:
- Azithromycin (Administered as 2-4 tablets at once.)
- Doxycycline (Administered as 2 tablets a day for a week.)
If you are given a one day course of antibiotics in the from of azithromycin, you should wait one full week before you have sex again.
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, those aged between 15-29 are at the highest risk of contracting chlamydia, or any other sexually transmitted disease.
In the latest CDC report, it is illustrated that 15-29 year olds account for half of all new STD cases. This equates to 10 million sexually transmitted disease cases in this demographic each year.
The below graph from the CDC illustrates the incidence rates of Chlamydia in 2016, illustrating that those ages between 15-29 experience chlamydia the most.
Should You Get Tested For Chlamydia?
You should get tested for chlamydia and all sexually transmitted diseases if you are sexually active. You do not need to be classified as a "risk-taker" when it comes to having sex. It is possible to only have had sex with one person and still contract a sexually transmitted disease.
Chlamydia of the mouth and throat can be identified through taking a chlamydia test.
There are a few variations of chlamydia tests on the market. These testing methods include:
PCR stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). PCR Tests examine cells that are scraped from an open sore or the urinary tract to test for a disease's DNA. Taking a PCR test can tell you if you have chlamydia even if you don't have symptoms.
Cell Culture Tests
Cell Culture tests work in a similar way to PCR tests by examining cells for the DNA that is associated with the infection. Cell Culture tests may reveal a false negative result as the DNA may be apparent during the healing process.
Blood tests are one of the most accurate ways to test for sexually transmitted diseases. When you provide a blood sample to a laboratory, scientists test your sample for the antibodies that grow in retaliation to the bacteria responsible for your sexually transmitted disease.
LetsGetChecked provide a full suite of sexual health tests.
You should regularly test your sexual health regardless of whether your are experiencing symptoms associated with chlamydia are not.
You should take a sexual health test when:
- You start having sex, regardless of how many sexual partners you have.
- You have had unprotected sex with someone who has does not know their sexual health status.
- You are experiencing symptoms that are associated with sexually transmitted diseases,
- You are starting a new relationship and you want to take oral contraceptives as opposed to using condoms.
- A previous sexual partner has reached out to tell you that they have a sexually transmitted disease.
It is important to note that most sexually transmitted diseases may take three weeks to present as detectable, in fact hepatitis B can take upto 90 days to become detectable. You must also remember that in the majority of cases, chlamydia does not present any symptoms.
There is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases, however it is essential that you remember the importance of getting tested. After all, it's good to know.
Written by Hannah Kingston | Medically Approved by Dr. Dominic Rowley