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Chlamydia Symptoms

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis and can be transmitted by vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Chlamydia usually does not present symptoms in either men or women. If symptoms do appear, they typically manifest themselves 1­3 weeks after exposure to the bacteria. There are a range of common and uncommon symptoms that you might experience.

Symptoms in Women

  • Vaginal discharge
  • Bleeding after sex or between periods
  • Burning or painful urination
  • Pelvic or lower back pain
  • Nausea or fever
  • Sore throat
  • Rash
  • Pain during sex
  • Rectal discharge or bleeding

Of the symptoms women might experience, vaginal discharge (and possibly odor), bleeding after sex or between periods, and burning or painful urination are the most common.

Symptoms in Men

  • Discharge from the penis
  • Painful urination
  • Burning, pain, or itching around the penis
  • Testicular pain or swelling
  • Sore throat
  • Rash
  • Rectal discharge or bleeding

Of the symptoms men might experience, discharge from the penis (can be thick, yellow ­white, watery or milky) and painful urination are the most common.

Symptoms in Both Men and Women

A sore throat can be a symptom of oral chlamydia in both men and women. If, after having unprotected oral sex, you experience a sore throat and a strep test comes back negative, you should talk to your doctor about getting tested for chlamydia. Both men and women can also experience symptoms of chlamydia after engaging in anal sexual contact. In addition to rectal discharge, pain or bleeding, chlamydia can also cause swelling of the rectum. Women who engage in only vaginal sex might spread the infection to their rectum by wiping.

Health Complications

Chlamydia can cause a variety of health complications if left untreated. Women can experience reproductive system damage if chlamydia is left untreated. If chlamydia spreads throughout a woman’s reproductive organs, it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID sometimes results in pelvic or abdominal pain as well as in infertility and ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus), which can be deadly.

In men, chlamydia can cause nongonococcal urethritis (NGU), an infection of the urethra. It can also cause epididymitis, an infection of the tube that transports sperm from the testes.

In both men and women, chlamydia can also infect the eyelid, resulting in conjunctivitis (discharge from eyelid) and/or inflammation Chlamydia can also increase the risk of transmitting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

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Last updated on June 22nd, 2016

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