Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center - Health Library

Chlamydia

Definition

Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Causes ^

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

Risk Factors ^

The infection is most common among people under 24 years old. It is also more common in people who are Black or Hispanic.

Other things that raise your risk are:

  • Having sex
  • Prior STIs
  • Having a new sex partner
  • Having more than one sex partner
  • Having a partner with an STI
  • Having sex without a condom

Symptoms ^

Most people do not have signs of infection. If they do happen, they may be:

In men:

  • Pain when urinating
  • Pus exiting the penis
  • Scrotal pain or swelling

In women:

  • A change in vaginal discharge
  • Pain or bleeding during sex or between periods
  • Belly pain
  • Vaginal redness or pain
  • Pain when urinating

Male Genitourinary System
Prostate Gland

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Female Reproductive System Organs
Female Reproductive Organs

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Diagnosis ^

You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. An exam will be done.

You will have these tests:

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

Treatment ^

The infection is treated with antibiotics.

To help yourself get better:

  • You and your partner should both get treated. Wait seven days before you have sex again.
  • If you still have signs after taking all your medicine, or if you are pregnant, you may need to be tested again.
  • You should be tested again three months to make sure you have not been reinfected.

Prevention ^

To lower your chances of getting this infection:

  • Have routine exams for STIs if you are a woman under the age of 25. Sexually active young men should get screened, but there is no guideline.
  • Always use a condom during sex.
  • Abstain from sex.
  • Limit sex to one partner.
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. Updated January 25, 2017. Accessed August 1, 2018.

Blas MM, Canchihuaman FA, Alva Ie, Hawes SE. Pregnancy outcomes in women infected with Chlamydia trachomatis: a population-based cohort study in Washington State. Sex Transm Infect. 2007;83(4):314-318.

Chlamydia. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/chlamydia/default.htm. Updated October 31, 2017. Accessed August 1, 2018.

Chlamydia genital infection. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114223/Chlamydia-genital-infection. Updated August 23, 2017. Accessed August 1, 2018.

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. Updated June 14, 2018. Accessed August 1, 2018.

Gottlieb SL, Martin DH, Xu F, Byrne GI, Brunham RC. Summary: The natural history and immunobiology of Chlamydia trachomatis genital infection and implications for Chlamydia control. J Infect Dis. 2010;201 Suppl 2:S190-S204.

Kent CK, Chaw JK, Wong W, et al. Prevalence of rectal, urethral, and pharyngeal chlamydia and gonorrhea detected in 2 clinical settings among men who have sex with men: San Francisco, California, 2003. Clin Infect Dis. 2005;41(1):67-74.

3/17/2015 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillancehttp://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114223/Chlamydia-genital-infection: LeFevre ML, U.S. Preventive Services Task force. Screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med. 2014;161(12):902-910.

Last reviewed June 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Beverly Siegal, MD, FACOG  Last Updated: 8/1/2018