Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by bacteria. People who have chlamydia often don’t have outward symptoms in the early stages.
In fact, about 90 percent of women and 70 percent of men with the STI have no symptoms. But chlamydia can still cause health problems later.
Untreated chlamydia can cause serious complications, so it’s important to get regular screenings and talk with your doctor or healthcare provider if you have any concerns.
Sex without a condom and unprotected oral sex are the main ways a chlamydia infection can be transmitted. But penetration doesn’t have to occur to contract it.
Touching genitals together may transmit the bacteria. It can also be contracted during anal sex.
Newborn babies can acquire chlamydia from their mother during birth. Most prenatal testing includes a chlamydia test, but it doesn’t hurt to double-check with an OB-GYN during the first prenatal checkup.
A chlamydia infection in the eye can occur through oral or genital contact with the eyes, but this isn’t common.
Chlamydia can also be contracted even in someone who’s had the infection once before and successfully treated it. Find out more about how chlamydia is shared between individuals.
In 2017, more than 1.7 million cases of chlamydia were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, many cases go unreported, so the real number of chlamydia infections every year may be closer to 3 million.
Men and women can both get the infection, but more cases in women are reported.
Infection rates are highest among younger women, with the highest rates of infection occurring in women between ages 15 and 24.
The CDC recommends that all sexually active women ages 25 years and younger get screened for chlamydia every year, as well as older women with risk factors like multiple or new partners.
Statistically, a person is more likely to get an STI if they’ve had sex with more than one person. Other risk factors include having had an STI in the past, or currently have an infection, because this could lower resistance.
An act of sexual assault can raise the risk for contracting chlamydia and other STIs. If you were forced into any sexual activity, including oral sex, aim to get screened as soon as possible.
Organizations like the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) offer support for survivors of rape or sexual assault. For anonymous, confidential help:
Rates for chlamydia and other STIs have been climbing in recent years. See the new statistics and groups that are most at risk.
Many men don’t notice the symptoms of chlamydia. Most men have no symptoms at all.
If symptoms do appear, it’s usually 1 to 3 weeks after transmission.
Some of the most common symptoms of chlamydia in men include:
It’s also possible to get a chlamydia infection in the anus. In this case, the main symptoms are often discharge, pain, and bleeding from this area.
Having oral sex with someone who has the infection raises the risk for getting chlamydia in the throat. Symptoms can include a sore throat, cough, or fever. It’s also possible to carry bacteria in the throat and not know it.
Chlamydia is often known as the “silent infection.” That’s because people with chlamydia may not experience symptoms at all.
If a woman contracts the STI, it may take several weeks before any symptoms appear.
Some of the most common symptoms of chlamydia in women include:
In some women, the infection can spread to the fallopian tubes, which may cause a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is a medical emergency.
The symptoms of PID are:
- severe pelvic pain
- abnormal vaginal bleeding between periods
Chlamydia can also infect the rectum. Women may not experience symptoms if they have a chlamydia infection in the rectum. If symptoms of a rectal infection do occur, however, they may include rectal pain, discharge, or bleeding.
Additionally, women can develop a throat infection if they perform oral sex on someone with the infection. Though it’s possible to contract it without knowing it, symptoms of a chlamydia infection in your throat include cough, fever, and sore throat.
The symptoms of STIs in men and women can be different, so it’s important to talk to a healthcare professional if you experience any of the above symptoms.
The good news is that chlamydia is easy to treat. Since it’s bacterial in nature, it’s treated with antibiotics.
Azithromycin is an antibiotic usually prescribed in a single, large dose. Doxycycline is an antibiotic that must be taken twice per day for about one week.
Other antibiotics may also be given. No matter which antibiotic is prescribed, dosage instructions should be followed carefully to make sure the infection clears up fully. This can take up to two weeks, even with the single-dose medications.
During the treatment time, it’s important not to have sex. It’s still possible to transmit and contract chlamydia if exposed again, even if you’ve treated a previous infection.
Although chlamydia is curable, it’s still important to stay protected and prevent recurrence.
Chlamydia is caused by a bacterial infection. The only true cure for this type of infection is antibiotics.
But some alternative treatments may help ease symptoms. It’s important to remember that untreated chlamydia can lead to long-term complications, including fertility problems and chronic inflammation.
Home remedies for chlamydia that may be effective (for symptoms, not the…