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Chlamydia: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, & More.

 

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Kimberly Langdon (M.D) on 2 January 2022.

 

 

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a bacterium namely Chlamydia trachomatis.

 

People with chlamydia, in their early stages, often don't exhibit any symptoms. Thus, it is also labeled as a “silent infection”.

 

More than 85% of women and almost 70% of males with chlamydia exhibit no symptoms.

 

If symptoms do occur, these may show up within 7-21 days after exposure.

 

It usually spreads through sexual intercourse.

 

It can also spread from the pregnant mother to her child during delivery.

 

If left untreated, it can lead to complications, including infertility¹.

 

However, if treated on time, it can be cured with proper medical care.

 

If you suspect any symptoms of chlamydia, contact your doctor immediately!

 

Let's dive into what causes chlamydia, its symptoms, complications, treatment, and more!

 

 

 

Symptoms

 

Chlamydia may or may not have symptoms in many individuals. However, if symptoms do show up, these may be present within 7-21 days after exposure.

 

 

Symptoms & Signs of Chlamydia for Women

 

Signs of chlamydia for a woman may be:

 

    • ● Unusual vaginal discharge that has a foul smell

 

    • ● Spotting between periods

 

    • ● Painful and prolonged periods

 

    • ● Painful sex

 

    • ● Fever

 

    • ● Itchy genital area

 

    • ● Painful sensations while peeing

 

Apart from that, women may also experience rectal bleeding and discharge.

 

 

Symptoms & Signs of Chlamydia for Men

 

Signs of chlamydia in a man may include the following:

 

    • ● Testicular pain

 

    • ● Clear to cloudy penile discharge

 

    • ● Burning sensations at the base of the penis

 

    • ● Pain while urinating

 

Having condomless sex can also lead to the spread of chlamydia to other body parts, including the eyes, anus, and throat.

 

 

 

Causes

 

Chlamydia is caused when you have unprotected sex with your spouse who has got chlamydia or any other sexually transmitted infection, like gonorrhea. It includes oral sex, too.

 

If you are pregnant, while suffering from chlamydia, your baby might catch the infection during childbirth. Though the chances are rare.

 

Thus, it is important to get tested for chlamydia, too, with your OB-GYN during your first prenatal visit.

 

If you have encountered chlamydia before, you are still susceptible to catching the infection again.

 

 

How widespread is chlamydia?

 

In 2017, almost 1.7 million individuals were reported to have chlamydia. However, many people suffering from the infection go unreported, thus the number is likely higher.

 

Males and females both can develop the infection, however, the latter is at a greater risk than the former.

 

The CDC recommends all sexually active women (under the age of 25) get tested for chlamydia each year.

 

If you have had an STI in the past, including chlamydia, you're at greater risk of developing or redeveloping chlamydia.

 

A sexual assault also increases the risk of developing chlamydia and other STDs, too.

 

If you were forced into having sexual intercourse or oral sex, get tested as soon as possible.

 

You can get help from firms, including the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), too.

 

Simply dial 800-656-4673 and talk to the personnel from their team, yet confidentially.

 

 

Treatment

 

Fortunately, chlamydia is treatable due to its bacterial nature and thus it can be cured with antibiotics

 

Some examples of antibiotics include azithromycin and doxycycline.

 

Your doctor may prescribe taking the former as a single dose. While the latter is usually prescribed to be taken two times per day for almost a week.

 

No matter which antibiotic is given to you, you must follow the instructions of your doctor carefully.

 

Even if chlamydia is treatable, it is necessary to take precautionary measures against redeveloping the infection, including using condoms every time you have sex with your better half.

 

 

Home remedies for chlamydia

 

Along with taking antibiotics, there are certain home remedies available for chlamydia, too.

 

However, it is important to visit your doctor if you suspect any symptoms of chlamydia.

 

This is because untreated chlamydia can advance into serious diseases, like infertility or abscesses.

 

Home remedies for chlamydia can only ease the severity of the infection, but not cure the infection itself. Some of these may include:

 

● Echinacea: A plant that has been used for centuries to boost your immunity in general.

 

However, there isn't any scientific evidence available about whether it cures chlamydia or not.

 

● Goldenseal: This plant has anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, it may help in reducing such symptoms associated with chlamydia.

 

If you suscept any chlamydia symptoms, you should refrain from any sexual activity during this time, and go to your doctor immediately!

 

 

 

Testing

 

The best way to know whether you have chlamydia or not is by testing.

 

For this, you will have to go to a professional healthcare provider who deals with these issues, like a gynecologist or a urologist.

 

If you have an active sore or unusual genital discharges, the doctor may first conduct your physical examination. If he/she suspects an infection, then they may recommend you get tested for the infection.

 

If you're a woman, they will test you by taking a swab from your cervix. For men, a urine test may be done. Also, if the infection had spread to other body parts, including the throat and anus, then these parts may be swabbed as well.

 

Results often come up within some days or weeks.

 

If you come up positive, following the instructions of your physician is the best option to consider for faster healing.

 

In the meantime, abstaining from any sexual contact is important to help prevent the spread of this infection.

 

 

What Does Untreated Chlamydia Cause?

 

Whether you are asymptomatic or don't get tested frequently, then you may test positive for chlamydia, especially if you are sexually active.

 

Chlamydia may advance into serious conditions during this time, including infertility. Other health conditions may include:

 

    • ● Pelvic inflammatory disease in women

 

    • ● Infertility in women

 

    • ● Impaired sperm count in men

 

    • ● Permanent scarring of the reproductive system in males and females

 

    • ● Conjunctivitis

 

    • ● Pneumonia in newborns

 

    • ● Eye infection

 

    • ● Epididymitis in men

 

Also, in males, the infection can be transmitted to the prostate gland, leading to painful sex and fever, and pain in the lower back too.

 

Some men may also develop chlamydial urethritis.

 

These are some examples of the long-term complications of untreated chlamydia.

 

So, be responsible. Get tested immediately!

 

 

Signs of Chlamydia in Throat

 

Chlamydia can be transmitted through oral sex. This especially holds for throat infections.

 

Any contact with the infected person's lips, tongue, or the entire mouth, may help spread the infection.

 

If you get chlamydia from oral sex, you may or may not show any symptoms.

 

However, if symptoms do occur, these may be persistent in the throat, too. Some of them include:

 

    • ● Dry throat

 

    • ● Sore throat

 

    • ● Fever

 

    • ● Persistent coughing

 

 

How Does Chlamydia Affect Your Eyes?

 

Chlamydia mostly affects your genital areas, however, it can also infect your eyes.

 

This happens when your eyes come in direct or indirect contact with the bacteria.

 

For instance, chlamydia can spread from your genitals to your eyes while you are touching your eyes (especially if you haven’t washed your hands) If you have an eye infection due to chlamydia, then you are at risk of developing chlamydial conjunctivitis.

 

People with conjunctivitis suffer from the following symptoms:

 

    • ● Swelling

 

    • ● Redness

 

    • ● Itchy eyes

 

    • ● Irritation

 

    • ● Persistent discharge from the eyes

 

    • ● Photophobia (when your eyes are sensitive to the light)

 

If not treated on time, chlamydial eye infection can lead to blindness.

 

Since the infection is treatable with antibiotics, you don't need to worry about any long-term effects of the infection, if you are getting timely treatment.

 

 

 

Can You Have More Than One STI at Once?

 

Absolutely!

 

You can catch multiple STDs at the same time. This holds for chlamydia and gonorrhea, too.

 

Not only do these two STIs occur at the same time, but they also exhibit similar signs and symptoms in both males and females.

 

Also, both of these can be passed through sexual intercourse.

 

Both of these STDs don't likely cause any symptoms. However, if symptoms do occur, these may occur within a few weeks after exposure.

 

And if not treated in time can lead to serious conditions.

 

Thus, all this means that it is difficult to confirm whether you are suffering from chlamydia or gonorrhea, or both. This holds especially if you are sexually active.

 

Additionally, this holds for your spouse who is suffering from multiple or a single STI, including HIV, herpes, or genital warts.

 

Unfortunately, there are so many asymptomatic STIs. For example, on average, symptoms of chlamydia are present in 50% of males, however, only 25% of females exhibit symptoms.

 

This means that without regular testing between you and your better half, it is not possible to confirm whether you have chlamydia or not.

 

 

How to Prevent Getting Chlamydia?

 

The best way to prevent catching chlamydia is by using condoms every time you have sex.

 

Also, it is recommended to get tested regularly for STIs, including chlamydia, especially if you are sexually active.

 

This holds if you have encountered an STI before, too.

 

Also, avoid having oral sex with your spouse, if you suspect any symptoms of chlamydia.

 

If you suspect having the infection, refraining from any sexual activity is the best option to consider.

 

 

Can You Perform A Single Test For Many STDs at Once?

 

Fortunately, yes. You and your spouse can get tested for multiple STIs at once. This helps avoid catching any STIs due to infrequent testing, thus, enabling you to diagnose, treat, and prevent the infection from spreading.

 

A standard panel can catch almost eleven STIs at once. This panel tests for STIs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, HIV, etc.

 

Thus, it is always advised to go for multiple STI testing, instead of just a single STD.

 

This is because you are never 100% sure of how many STIs you could be suffering from at once, even if you are asymptomatic.

 

So, make sure to find a trustworthy physician with whom you can share your entire sexual history who can help you get the right kind of treatment for your type of case. This holds for sexual assault ones, too!

 

To get tested, you may have to go to your local physician's clinic or order an at-home testing kit. You may have to provide a swab, urine, or blood sample. The results often come up within 7-21 days on your registered mobile number or email. Otherwise, you may have to go to your doctor's clinic to collect your medical reports.

 

 

 

A Word From Us

 

The signs and symptoms of chlamydia may or may not be present in many individuals.

 

Also, signs of chlamydia for a woman differ from the signs of chlamydia in men.

 

Thus, people may ignore the initial symptoms of chlamydia after exposure.

 

However, untreated chlamydia may lead to severe health conditions, including impaired sperm motility in males, along with blockage of the reproductive system in both males and females.

 

Many newborns may catch chlamydia from their mothers during childbirth.

 

Therefore, strict action needs to be taken to lower the spread of this infection, especially if you are sexually active, or if you or your spouse had an STI/multiple STIs in the past.

 

Moreover, gonorrhea and chlamydia often have overlapping symptoms. Therefore, it is not easy to confirm whether you are suffering from chlamydia, or gonorrhea, or both.

 

However, it is important to reduce your risk of spreading the virus, i.e, by going for safer sex, to keep your sexual health³ intact.

 

Since chlamydia may or may not exhibit symptoms in many individuals, make sure that you visit your physician if you suspect any unusual genital discharges, painful urination, or pain while you have sex, this may be a warning sign of chlamydia.

 

The best way to know whether you have chlamydia or not is by testing.

 

Your physician will confirm the kind of testing after he/she conducts your physical examination.

 

Therefore, refraining from any sexual activity and practicing safe are the best options to consider.

 

What do you think is the most effective way to treat chlamydia? We think it is taking antibiotics on time, after getting tested!

 

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Kimberly Langdon (M.D) on 2 January 2022.

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