Chlamydia is a bacterial infection. It is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). In fact, it is one of the most common STDs in the US. It is most common among sexually active teens and young adults.
This infection is caused by bacteria. It is known as Chlamydia trachomatis . It is passed from an infected partner during sex. This can happen during oral, vaginal, or anal sex.
Factors that increase your chance of chlamydia include:
- Age: 15 to 25 years old
- Multiple sex partners
- Having sex without a condom
- History of sexually transmitted diseases
It is possible to have this infection and have no symptoms. Many people do not know they are infected. If symptoms do occur, they usually appear within 1 to 3 weeks of exposure.
- White or clear discharge from the penis
- Painful sensation while urinating
- Increased or abnormal vaginal discharge
- Strong vaginal odor
- Vaginal redness or irritation
- Painful urination
- Unusual vaginal bleeding
- Pain or bleeding during or after sex
- Abdominal pain
Transmission of Infection from Mother to Baby
The symptoms can be very similar to another STD, gonorrhea]]> . Your doctor will look for the specific bacteria. A swab test from the discharge of the penis or the cervix may be done. It is the most reliable method of detection for this bacteria. A urine sample may also be used. You may also be tested for others STDs, including ]]>HIV]]> .
This infection is treated with antibiotics. If you have chlamydia, your doctor may prescribe one of the following:
It is important that you and your partner both be treated before you have sex again. All of the medicine must be taken as directed. If you still have symptoms after the medicine is finished, you may need to be tested again.
Untreated chlamydia can have serious results:
- Testicles— ]]>epididymitis]]> , a painful condition of the testicles that may lead to ]]>infertility]]>
- Urethra—inside may become scarred; can make urinating difficult
- Prostate—inflammation of the prostate gland ( ]]>prostatitis]]> )
- Joints—inflammation of the joints ( ]]>Reiter's syndrome]]> )
- Rectum—inflammation of the rectum (anal intercourse)
Male Genitourinary System
If you are diagnosed with chlamydia, follow your doctor's instructions .
The safest action is to abstain from sex. If you are sexually active you can prevent chlamydia by taking the following preventive measures:
- Always use a latex condom during sexual activity.
- Have routine check-ups for STDs.
- Have a monogamous relationship. Make sure your partner is monogamous as well.
- Get checked often for STDs. This is especially important if you are under the age of 25.
Other contraceptive tools may offer some protection. The condom is the most reliable of them all.
If you already have chlamydia, you can prevent its transmission by:
- Making sure that all sexual partners are tested and treated
- Refraining from sexual activity until your infection is gone
National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention, Division of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Canadian Health Network
Sex Information and Education Council of Canada
Chlamydia. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/factsheets/stdclam.htm . Accessed October 7, 2005.
Chlamydia. The National Women's Health Information Center website. Available at: http://www.4women.gov/faq/stdchlam.htm . Accessed October 7, 2005.
Chlamydia genital infection. DynaMed website. Available at: http://dynamed101.ebscohost.com/Detail.aspx?id=114223 .
Drugs for sexually transmitted infections. The Medical Letter . 2004;2:67.
Kent CK, Chaw JK, Wong W, Liska S, et al. Prevelence of rectal, urethral, and pharyngeal chlamydia and gonorrhea detected in two clinical settings among men who have sex with men: San Francisco, CA 2003. Clin Infect Dis . 2005;41:67-74.
Medical encyclopedia: chlamydia infections in women. Medline Plus website. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000660.htm . Accessed October 7, 2005.
Last reviewed February 2009 by ]]>Rosalyn Carson-DeWitt, MD]]>
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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