Chlamydia is caused by a bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis - it can be transmitted through oral, anal and vaginal sex as well as skin to skin contact.

As one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the world, there’s an abundance of questions surrounding it - so, what is Chlamydia? Read on for everything you need to know.


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What Are The Symptoms Of Chlamydia?


Chlamydia is sometimes referred to as the ‘silent’ infection as it often doesn’t bring about symptoms [1] - This can cause a false sense of security and can lead to some complications if the infection isn’t detected.

What Are The First Signs Of Chlamydia?

Chlamydia Symptoms In Women

  • Painful urination

  • Cloudy urine

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding with intercourse or between periods

  • Genital itching

  • Irregular menstrual bleeding

  • Lower abdominal (belly) pain

  • Fever and general tiredness

  • Swollen and painful glands at the opening of the vagina (Bartholin glands)

  • Conjunctivitis

  • Pain during sex

  • Anal discharge

Chlamydia Symptoms In Men

  • Painful urination

  • Unusual discharge

  • Pain the testicles

  • Feeling ill or feverish

  • Conjunctivitis

  • Anal discharge

  • Sore throat

Can Chlamydia Symptoms Appear The Next Day?
The time between exposure to Chlamydia and the start of symptoms may range from days to months. If symptoms appear, it’s usually 1 to 3 weeks after sexual contact with someone carrying the infection [2].


Complications Associated With Chlamydia


The infection doesn’t cause long-term problems if it’s diagnosed and treated early. However, untreated Chlamydia can lead to many health complications, especially in women [3].

These complications include:

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
    Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of the organs of a woman’s reproductive system. The disease causes blockages of the fallopian tubes, scarring, and adhesions.

  • Ectopic Pregnancy
    PID is a major cause of ectopic pregnancy [4] - When this happens, scar tissue prevents the fertilized egg from moving through the fallopian tube for implantation. Ectopic pregnancies can cause life-threatening bleeding and require emergency treatment.

  • Infertility
    If left untreated, the damage caused by PID to a woman’s reproductive system can leave the woman infertile - this is why it’s so important to get tested regularly.

  • Chronic Pelvic Pain
    This is a chronic dull, aching or stabbing, sharp pain in the pelvic area. It can seriously affect the woman’s quality of life and is yet another reason to get tested regularly for Chlamydia infection.


How Is Chlamydia Diagnosed?


Chlamydia diagnosis relies upon a laboratory test.

One testing method is a urine test - this can identify the bacteria in your urethra. You can visit your family doctor or local sexual health clinic to take this test or alternatively you can take the test from home.

Can Chlamydia Be Detected By A Blood Test?
The best way to test for Chlamydia with a urine test or a swab, not a blood test.



Can Chlamydia Be Treated?


Can Chlamydia Go Away On Its Own?
If you receive a Chlamydia diagnosis, don’t panic; it can be treated! In fact, Chlamydia is very simple and easy to treat - but it won’t go away on its own.

The treatment for Chlamydia involves a once-off course of antibiotics. If the infection is more complex, for example, if a woman has pelvic pain or if the infection is found in the throat or the anal region, a more extensive course of antibiotics may be required.


Learn More About Chlamydia with Dr. Dominic Rowley:




Read: What Are The Most Common Symptoms Of STDs?


Written by Hannah Kingston | Approved by Medical Director Dominic Rowley


References


  1. American Sexual Health Association, Chlamydia.Online: Ashasexualhealth.org.

  2. NHS, Chlamydia: Symptoms. Online: NHS.uk. 2018.

  3. American Sexual Health Association, Chlamydia.Online: Ashasexualhealth.org.

  4. Mayo Clinic Staff. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. Online: Mayoclinic.org, 2018.