Chlamydia

Overview

Definition

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection (STIs).

Causes

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

Risk Factors

The infection is most common in people under 24 years old. Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Being sexually active
  • 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 symptoms.

In men, symptoms may include:

  • Pain when passing urine
  • Pus exiting the penis
  • Scrotal pain or swelling

In women, symptoms may include:

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

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. Tests for cause of infection may be done with:

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

Treatments

Treatment

Antibiotics are used to treat the infection. Sexual partners should also be treated or the infection will continue to recur.

Prevention

The risk of this problem may be lowered by:

  • Abstaining from oral, anal, or genital sex.
  • Limiting sex to one partner
  • Using latex condoms during sex

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. Accessed October 16, 2020.

Chlamydia. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/default.htm. Accessed October 16, 2020.

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. Accessed October 16, 2020.

Chlamydia genital infection. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/chlamydia-genital-infection. Accessed October 16, 2020.

Workowski KA, Bolan GA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2015. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2015 Jun 5;64(RR-03):1-137.