is a bacterial infection of your genital tract that spreads easily through
sexual contact. You may not know you have chlamydia at first because the signs
and symptoms of pain and fluid discharge don't show up right away, if they show
up at all. Many people experience no signs and symptoms.
is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. Each year, as many as 3
million people are infected with chlamydia. The disease affects both men and
women and occurs in all age groups, though it's most prevalent among teenagers.
disease isn't difficult to treat once you know you have it. If it's left
untreated, however, chlamydia can lead to more-serious health problems.
Signs and symptoms
or symptoms do occur, they usually start one to three weeks after you've been
exposed to chlamydia. Even when signs and symptoms do occur, they're often mild
and transient, making them easy to overlook.
may include: -
Lower abdominal pain
Vaginal discharge in women
Discharge from the penis in men
Painful sexual intercourse in women
Testicular pain in men
bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis causes chlamydia. The condition most commonly
spreads through sexual intercourse and other intimate contact among genitals,
the rectal area and the mouth. It's also possible for a mother to spread
chlamydia to her child during delivery, causing pneumonia or a serious eye
signs include genital sores, followed later by fever and swollen lymph nodes in
the groin area. The disease has increased recently among gay and bisexual men.
can lead to or be associated with other health problems, such as: -
Human immunodeficiency virus
Women infected with chlamydia are at greater risk of acquiring HIV than are
women not infected with chlamydia.
Pelvic inflammatory disease
PID is an infection of your uterus and fallopian tubes. Although it may cause no
signs or symptoms, PID can damage the fallopian tubes, ovaries and uterus,
including the cervix. Untreated PID can lead to abscesses in the fallopian tubes
and ovaries. The infection can cause scarring that may lead to infertility.
A chlamydia infection can inflame the epididymis, a coiled tube located beside
each testicle. Epididymitis may result in fever, scrotal pain and swelling.
The chlamydia organism can spread to your prostate gland. Prostatitis may result
in pain during or after sex, fever and chills, painful urination, and lower back
If you engage in anal sex, the chlamydia organism can cause rectal inflammation.
This can result in rectal pain and mucus discharge.
Touching your eye with a hand moistened with infectious secretions can cause an
eye infection, such as pinkeye (conjunctivitis). Left untreated, the eye
infection can result in blindness.
Infections in newborns.
The chlamydia infection can pass from your vaginal canal to your child during
delivery, causing pneumonia or an eye infection that can lead to blindness.
way to prevent a chlamydia infection is to abstain from sexual activities. Short
of that, you can:
Use condoms: -
Use a male latex condom or a female polyurethane condom
during each sexual contact. Condoms, used properly during every sexual
encounter, reduce but don't eliminate the risk of infection.
Limit your number of sex
Having multiple sex partners puts you at a high risk of
contracting chlamydia or other sexually transmitted diseases.
Get regular screenings for
sexually transmitted diseases: -
If you're sexually active, particularly if you have
multiple partners, talk with your doctor about how often you should be screened
for chlamydia and other sexually transmitted diseases.
When to seek medical advice
if you have pain or discharge from your vagina or penis during urination, It's
important to treat chlamydia before it leads to other health problems. Also, see
doctor if your sexual partner reveals that he or she has chlamydia, even if you
have no symptoms.
may not occur until several weeks after infection, or may not occur at all.