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Chlamydia

Chlamydia

What is it?

Chlamydia is a bacteria that can infect the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, urethra, anus and, less commonly, the throat. If left untreated, chlamydia may lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), which can cause infertility and may cause testicular pain and infertility in men.

How do you get it?

  • Unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sex.
  • Infants can contract it during delivery, which can lead to conjunctivitis and pneumonia.

Signs and symptoms

Women

  • often there are no symptoms
  • unusual vaginal or rectal discharge
  • unusual bleeding (after intercourse or between periods)
  • pelvic pain
  • pain through intercourse or passing urine

Symptoms can occur within 7-21 days of infection.

The infection can spread from the cervix into the uterus and fallopian tubes, causing inflammation. This can lead to scarring, blockage and abscess formation, which may result in infertility, ectopic pregnancy, chronic pain or recurrent infection.

Men

  • often no symptoms
  • may have a clear, white or yellow discharge from the urethra
  • pain or stinging when urinating
  • may lead to infection in the testes and possible infertility.

Testing

Chlamydia can be diagnosed by taking swabs or a urine test at a GP or sexual health centre. 

Treatment

Either a single dose or a 7-14 day course of antibiotic tablets.

Prevention

Always use condoms for oral, anal and vaginal sex.