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Chlamydia - Testing, Treatment, and Care

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Published on April 03, 2018. Last modified on April 03, 2018

CDC_CTMostPeopleDontKnow

How do I know if I have chlamydia?CDC_CTHowDoIKnow

Most people who have chlamydia have no symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they may not appear until several weeks after you have sex with an infected partner. Even when chlamydia causes no symptoms, it can damage your reproductive system. Women with symptoms may notice: 
  • An abnormal vaginal discharge;
  • A burning sensation when urinating.

Symptoms in men can include: 

  • A discharge from their penis;
  • A burning sensation when urinating;
  • Pain and swelling in one or both testicles (although this is less common).

Men and women can also get infected with chlamydia in their rectum. This happens either by having receptive anal sex, or by spread from another infected site (such as the vagina). While these infections often cause no symptoms, they can cause:

  • Rectal pain;
  • Discharge;
  • Bleeding.

You should be examined by your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms or if your partner has an STD or symptoms of an STD.

STD symptoms can include an unusual sore, a smelly discharge, burning when urinating, or bleeding between periods.

How will my doctor know if I have chlamydia?

Laboratory tests can diagnose chlamydia. Your health care provider may ask you to provide a urine sample or may use (or ask you to use) a cotton swab to get a sample from your vagina to test for chlamydia.

Can chlamydia be cured?

Yes, chlamydia can be cured with the right treatment. It is important that you take all of the medication your doctor prescribes to cure your infection. When taken properly it will stop the infection and could decrease your chances of having complications later on. You should not share medication for chlamydia with anyone. Repeat infection with chlamydia is common. You should be tested again about three months after you are treated, even if your sex partner(s) was treated.

I was treated for chlamydia. When can I have sex again?

You should not have sex again until you and your sex partner(s) have completed treatment. If your doctor prescribes a single dose of medication, you should wait seven days after taking the medicine before having sex. If your doctor prescribes a medicine for you to take for seven days, you should wait until you have taken all of the doses before having sex.

What happens if I don’t get treated? CDC_STDSandInfertility

The initial damage that chlamydia causes often goes unnoticed. However, chlamydia can lead to serious health problems. If you are a woman, untreated chlamydia can spread to your uterus and fallopian tubes (tubes that carry fertilized eggs from the ovaries to the uterus). This can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID often has no symptoms, however some women may have abdominal and pelvic pain. Even if it doesn’t cause symptoms initially, PID can cause permanent damage to your reproductive system. PID can lead to long-term pelvic pain, inability to get pregnant, and potentially deadly ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus).

Men rarely have health problems linked to chlamydia. Infection sometimes spreads to the tube that carries sperm from the testicles, causing pain and fever. Rarely, chlamydia can prevent a man from being able to have children.