Chlamydia is a type of bacteria that is transmitted from one person to another during sex. It may be spread via vaginal, oral or anal sex. Chlamydia very often doesn’t cause symptoms so many people don’t know that they have it unless they have a test for it.
When chlamydia does cause symptoms, in men there may be a discharge from the penis and/or discomfort passing urine, and in women it may cause vaginal discharge, bleeding after sex or discomfort passing urine. When chlamydia infects the rectum (back passage), people may experience pain or bleeding. Infection of the throat very often doesn’t cause any symptoms at all.
Chlamydia infection can be prevented by using condoms. Leading physician in sexual health Dr Nneka Nwokolo explains what to do if you're sexually active, had unprotected sex and worried that you may have caught the sometimes undetectable sexually transmitted infection (STI)...
How do you know if you have chlamydia?
The only way to know for sure whether or not you have chlamydia is to have a test for it. Tests are usually done on a vaginal swab in women (in women without symptoms, this can be done by the woman herself without the need for an examination), and on a urine sample in men. Infections can also be picked up from the throat and rectal swabs. It’s important that people who have symptoms are checked over by a doctor or nurse to make sure that no complications have developed, because untreated chlamydia may sometimes cause swelling and inflammation of the testicles in men and pelvic infections in women.
How do you know if your sexual partner has chlamydia?
Because chlamydia often doesn’t cause symptoms, it may not be possible to tell if your partner has it. It’s important that you and your partner(s) test regularly, particularly if you or your partner(s) have other partners.
What happens if you have chlamydia for too long?
If chlamydia is left untreated it can cause long term problems such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women, which can result in infertility. PID may also cause chronic pelvic pain and ectopic pregnancy, a potentially dangerous condition where a pregnancy happens in the Fallopian tube instead of in the uterus (womb).
Is chlamydia curable?
Yes, chlamydia is easily and completely curable with a course of antibiotics.