Chlamydia

Chlamydia is diagnosed and treated by Premier Medical Group.

What is chlamydia?

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Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection most often spread through vaginal, oral, and/or anal sex. Chlamydia affects all sexes but can cause serious, permanent damage to the female reproductive system, affecting fertility later in life. Chlamydia is carried in semen, pre-cum, and vaginal fluids, and the bacterium can infect the cervix, the rectum, the urethra, and/or the throat. The bacterial infection is extremely common: Close to 3 million Americans get it every year, and it occurs most commonly among 14-24-year-olds.

What causes chlamydia?

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Chlamydia is caused by a bacterium called Chlamydia trachomatis, and it is spread through sexual contact. Unprotected sex, or sex without a condom, is the most common cause of chlamydia spread.

If you are sexually active, there are a few strategies to reduce your risk of getting chlamydia. It is important to use latex condoms every time you have sex, and get an STD test every three to six months. Even if you are in a mutually monogamous relationship, it is important to stay on top of sexual health. Left untreated, chlamydia can cause long-term damage, especially in female bodies.

What are the symptoms of chlamydia?

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Chlamydia does not often have any symptoms able to be seen or felt. In fact, most signs of chlamydia are so mild they are difficult to notice. If you do experience chlamydia symptoms, they won’t likely occur for several weeks after the infection begins. Symptoms can appear in all sexes, and they can include a variety of painful and uncomfortable sensations. This includes:

  • Pain or burning while urinating
  • Pain during sex
  • Lower belly pain
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Swollen or tender testicles
  • Pain, discharge, and/or bleeding around the anus
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Pus or a watery/milky discharge from penis

While chlamydia is most often experienced in the sex organs, it can also affect the eyes. If this happens, you may experience redness, itching, or discharge. Chlamydia infections may also occur in the throat, in which case the person will experience a sore throat.

How is chlamydia diagnosed?

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Only a doctor or other medical professional can diagnose chlamydia. A health care provider will most often use a urine sample to test for the bacteria. However, a cotton swab is sometimes used to collect samples from the cervix, anus, or throat.

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Chlamydia is easily cured with antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. However, antibiotics cannot repair any permanent damage the bacteria has caused, so it is important to get treated as soon as possible. It is essential that those treated for chlamydia follow all antibiotics instructions provided by the doctor, as failure to complete the course can lead to further difficulty in eradicating the bacteria.

To prevent reinfection and spread, all sexual partners should undergo treatment, ideally at the same time. While on antibiotics, you should refrain from sex until the course is finished. When resuming sexual activity, use a latex condom. If symptoms, like pelvic pain, persist after one week, schedule a follow-up visit with your doctor. It is common to get a repeat infection, so get tested again in three months to ensure the infection is gone.

Pregnant women should also get a test when visiting a doctor for their first prenatal visit.

When to see a doctor for chlamydia?

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You should see a doctor if you suspect you have chlamydia, whether you have symptoms or if a partner has tested positive for the bacteria. Only a doctor can provide a definitive diagnosis and prescribe the necessary antibiotics. Whether you have chlamydia, you should schedule routine STD tests with your local clinic to catch possible bacterial infections before they become serious.

If you are experiencing general symptoms but are unsure if you have chlamydia, see a doctor. In some cases, the symptoms may be caused by a separate STD or condition, and a visit to the doctor with lab testing is necessary to determine the source. If you think you might have a different sexually transmitted disease, see our main STD page for more information.