Chlamydia

Overview

Definition

Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Causes

Bacteria from an infected sex partner causes the infection. This can happen during oral, vaginal, or anal sex.

Risk Factors

The infection is most common among people under 24 years old. It is also more common in people who are Black or Hispanic.

Other things that raise your risk are:

  • Having sex
  • Prior STIs
  • Having a new sex partner
  • Having more than one sex partner
  • Having a partner with an STI
  • Having sex without a condom

SymptomsandDiagnosis

Symptoms

Most people do not have signs of infection. If they do happen, they may be:

In men:

  • Pain when urinating
  • Pus exiting the penis
  • Scrotal pain or swelling

In women:

  • A change in vaginal discharge
  • Pain or bleeding during sex or between periods
  • Belly pain
  • Vaginal redness or pain
  • Pain when urinating
Male Genitourinary System
Prostate Gland
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Female Reproductive System Organs
Female Reproductive Organs
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Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. An exam will be done.

You will have these tests:

  • A swab of the penis, cervix, throat, or rectum
  • Urine tests

Treatments

Treatment

The infection is treated with antibiotics.

To help yourself get better:

  • You and your partner should both get treated. Wait seven days before you have sex again.
  • If you still have signs after taking all your medicine, or if you are pregnant, you may need to be tested again.
  • You should be tested again three months to make sure you have not been reinfected.

Prevention

To lower your chances of getting this infection:

  • Have routine exams for STIs if you are a woman under the age of 25. Sexually active young men should get screened, but there is no guideline.
  • Always use a condom during sex.
  • Abstain from sex.
  • Limit sex to one partner.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.

RESOURCES

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov 

Office on Women's Health—US Department of Health and Human Services http://www.womenshealth.gov 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Health Canada https://www.canada.ca 

The Sex Information & Education Council of Canada http://sieccan.org 

References

2015 Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015/default.htm. Updated January 25, 2017. Accessed August 1, 2018.

Blas MM, Canchihuaman FA, Alva Ie, Hawes SE. Pregnancy outcomes in women infected with Chlamydia trachomatis: a population-based cohort study in Washington State. Sex Transm Infect. 2007;83(4):314-318.

Chlamydia. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/default.htm. Updated October 31, 2017. Accessed August 1, 2018.

Chlamydia genital infection. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:  http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114223/Chlamydia-genital-infection . Updated August 23, 2017. Accessed August 1, 2018.

Chlamydia fact sheet. Office on Women's Health—US Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at: http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/chlamydia.html. Updated June 14, 2018. Accessed August 1, 2018.

Gottlieb SL, Martin DH, Xu F, Byrne GI, Brunham RC. Summary: The natural history and immunobiology of Chlamydia trachomatis genital infection and implications for Chlamydia control. J Infect Dis. 2010;201 Suppl 2:S190-S204.

Kent CK, Chaw JK, Wong W, et al. Prevalence of rectal, urethral, and pharyngeal chlamydia and gonorrhea detected in 2 clinical settings among men who have sex with men: San Francisco, California, 2003. Clin Infect Dis. 2005;41(1):67-74.

3/17/2015 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance  http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114223/Chlamydia-genital-infection : LeFevre ML, U.S. Preventive Services Task force. Screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med. 2014;161(12):902-910.