School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) passed on during vaginal, anal or oral sex. Anyone that has sex can get Chlamydia, but the more sex partners you have, the more you are at risk.

Chlamydia is known as the “silent” STI because there may be mild or no symptoms at all. Some signs of Chlamydia for women are abnormal vaginal discharge, a burning sensation when urinating, lower abdominal pain, low back pain, nausea, fever, pain during intercourse, or bleeding between menstrual periods. Men may notice a discharge from their penis, a burning sensation when urinating, burning and itching around the opening of the penis, and pain and swelling in the testicles.

An untreated Chlamydia infection can spread into a woman’s reproductive organs and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can cause permanent damage, chronic pelvic pain, infertility, and ectopic pregnancy. Generally, men don’t have complications from Chlamydia, but they can still pass the infection on during sex. The Chlamydia infection can also increase a woman’s risk for getting HIV if exposed to the virus. If you’re having sex, it’s best to be screened every year for Chlamydia. The test for Chlamydia is usually a urine sample, a vaginal exam, or a penile swab. Chlamydia is treatable with antibiotics. Just make sure to take all of the medicine and that your partners are tested and treated before having sex again. Otherwise, you may get re-infected.

Ways to prevent Chlamydia:

  • Abstain from sex.
  • Only have sex with one partner who has been tested, and you know is not infected.
  • Always use latex male condoms, and use the condoms correctly.