What is chlamydia?
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection transferred through sexual activities. You may get chlamydia if you have unprotected sex (either vaginal, anal, or oral sex) with an infected person.
How do I know if I have chlamydia?
People with chlamydia in its early stage often show no significant symptoms. Signs or symptoms (if any) only appear after one or two weeks after exposure. Common signs and symptoms of chlamydia include:
- Painful urination
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Genital discharge
- Painful sex (in women)
- Irregular bleeding (in women)
- Testicle pain (in men)
- Rectal pain, discharge and bleeding
If you notice any of the symptoms above, visit your doctor. If you find out your partner has chlamydia, you should get medical help even if you do not have any symptoms.
How to diagnose chlamydia?
Chlamydia can be diagnosed using your urine sample or vaginal swab.
Can chlamydia be cured?
Proper treatment can cure chlamydia. It’s important to follow the whole course of medication even after the symptoms have disappeared. However, chlamydia often recurs. Therefore, you should be screened for chlamydia again 3 months after you are cured.
What if I do not get treatment?
Untreated chlamydia may lead to serious health consequences. In women, it may cause inflammation to the pelvic organs and damage the reproductive system, resulting in an ectopic pregnancy and infertility. Men suffer fewer complications. Although the infection can spread to the testicles and cause pain, it rarely affects male fertility. Besides, untreated chlamydia is believed to increase one’s risk of getting HIV.
How does chlamydia affect one’s pregnancy?
During delivery, a chlamydia infection can spread from the mother to her baby. The baby is at high risks of eye infection and pneumonia. Chlamydia also increases one’s risk of premature birth. If you are pregnant, it’s advisable to get tested for chlamydia as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment greatly help prevent further health complications.
How to prevent chlamydia?
Besides abstaining from sex, there are several measures you can take to protect yourself from chlamydia, such as:
- Use condoms properly during every sexual activity. However, keep in mind that the risk is not entirely eliminated though.
- Commit to only one sexual partner at a time. Having multiple partners increases your risk of many sexually transmitted infections, not just chlamydia.
- Get tested for chlamydia and other sexually transmitted infections regularly. Talk to a doctor to learn how often you should get tested.
- Do not douche. Douching disrupts the balance between good bacteria and bad bacteria in your vagina, raising the risk of infection.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: April 27, 2017 | Last Modified: November 29, 2019
Chlamydia trachomatis. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chlamydia-trachomatis/home/ovc-20315305. Accessed April 24, 2017.
Chlamydia - CDC Fact Sheet. https://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/stdfact-chlamydia.htm. Accessed April 24, 2017.