Symptoms of Chlamydia
As one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the UK. More than 200,000 people have had STD tests carried out and tested positive for the infection in England alone. Almost 7 in every 10 people diagnosed with it, were under the age of 25. If you think you have contracted chlamydia then it’s important to book a discrete and confidential appointment at Broadgate GP. Although the infection is usually asymptotic; meaning it shows no sign or symptoms there are cases where symptoms do show. Symptoms can come and go, meaning you mightn’t even associate a particular sign with the infection. Although there are some shared symptoms, the symptoms can differ between both men and women.
What Is Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the country. The disease is caused by bacteria known as chlamydia trachomatis and it can infect both men and women. Women who contract the infection can suffer from it in the cervix, rectum and throat. Men on the other hand will usually suffer from the infection in the urethra, rectum or throat. As one of the most common diseases to be transmitted sexually, Chlamydia is said to of infect around 131 million worldwide each year. In the UK around 200,000 people test positive each year and 7 in 10 people are under the age of 25.
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How Do You Catch Chlamydia?
The most common ways to catch chlamydia are through unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex. It is also possible to become infected if you share sex toys with someone and they aren’t protected during use or cleaned after use. If a woman is pregnant when she contacts the sexually transmitted infection then she is likely to pass the infection on to her baby during childbirth.
It is still unclear whether the infection can be spread through touching or rubbing another person’s genitals. Chlamydia can’t be caught through kissing or sharing things such as the toilet. If you think you might have come into sexual contact with a person or toys that are or might be infected, then be sure to get tested.
What Should I Do If I Think I Might Have Chlamydia?
If you think you might have contracted chlamydia then the first thing you should do is visit GP, sexual health clinic or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic. Here you can be tested for this and a range of other types of sexually transmitted diseases.
In most cases the disease will show no symptoms and you mightn’t even know that you have it. People who are sexually active or have recently had unprotected sex should go and have regular testing carried out to ensure they are clear from infection.
As one of the most common diseases to be spread sexually, Chlamydia is also one of the easiest to treat. You’ll usually be prescribed a course of antibiotics and be advised to avoid all sexual contact for at least 7 days or until you’ve completed your treatment. Leaving the disease untreated can lead to long-term health problems for both men and women.
Whilst in many cases chlamydia symptoms will stay asymptomatic or symptoms will take weeks to develop, it’s important to recognise them. It’s easy to mistake the symptoms of chlamydia for other illnesses such as a cold or seasonal flu. The symptoms that men and women can suffer from do differ.
Chlamydia Symptoms in Men
Statistics have shown that at least half of all men with chlamydia don’t show any signs or symptoms and those that do are unlikely to realise they have the infection. When left untreated the infection can lead to further complications so it’s important to understand what the symptoms are.
Whilst many symptoms can be confused with other conditions, it’s important to recognise the ones that distinguish itself from others. Some of the most common symptoms in men include:
- Pain when urinating
- A burning or itching sensation in the urethra (the tube that carries urine)
- Pain in the testicles
Chlamydia Symptoms in Women
The percentage of women who don’t notice the symptoms of the infection is even higher than men. A staggering 70% of women who have tested positive for Chlamydia haven’t realised they were displaying signs and symptoms associated with the infection.
When the infection is left untreated in women, the complications are must worse and can lead to serious health problems. Identifying the infection and seeking the appropriate treatment is even more important in women than men, to ensure all aspect of health are kept in good check.
Many common symptoms can be confused with other medical conditions, so it’s important to understand the ones that distinguish it as a sexually transmitted infection. Some of the most common symptoms in women include:
- Pain when urinating
- Bleeding after sex
- Pain in the tummy or pelvis
- Unusual vaginal discharge
- Heavier periods than usual
- Pain or bleeding during sex
Other Signs of Chlamydia
As well as displaying signs and symptoms differently in both males and females, the infection can have shared symptoms. When chlamydia infects the rectum, throat or eyes it can display symptoms such as:
- The Rectum – Unprotected anal sex can cause pain and discharge from your rectum
- The Throat – Although it can be caught this way, it is uncommon and the infection is likely to remain asymptomatic
- The Eyes – When semen or vaginal fluid comes into contact with the eyes it can cause redness, pain and discharge
Complications Of Chlamydia
When chlamydia is left untreated it can lead to a number of health complications and even long-term health issues. Broadgate GP always recommends seeking treatment as early as possible to avoid further issues developing. There are a number of complications that both men and women can suffer from.
Complications Of Chlamydia In Men
Inflammation Of The Testicles
When chlamydia is left untreated the infection can spread to the testicles and epididymis; which is the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles. This will lead to the testicles becoming inflamed, swollen and painful; this will be diagnosed by doctors as epididymitis or epididymo-orchitis.
Men suffering from inflammation of the testicles can usually be treated by taking a full course of antibiotics. When it is left untreated, it can lead to men suffering from fertility problems and possibly even infertility.
One of the most common causes of sexually acquired reactive arthritis (SARA) is chlamydia. SARA is where your joints, eyes or urethra (the tube urine passes through to exit the body) become inflamed. This will usually happen within the first few weeks of men contracting chlamydia.
However, women can also suffer from reactive arthritis but it is much more common in men. There isn’t currently a cure for sexually acquired reactive arthritis but most people will recover on their own within a few months. Anti-inflammatory drugs and ibuprofen can help to relive the symptoms of SARA.
Complications of Chlamydia in Women
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
When women suffer from chlamydia it is possible for it to spread to the womb, ovaries and even the fallopian tubes. This will then lead to a condition that is known as pelvic inflammatory diseases (PID). PID can lead to serious problems such as difficulty getting pregnant, persistent pelvic pain, increased chance of ectopic pregnancies and possibly infertility.
Many of the symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease are similar to those of chlamydia such as pain during sex or urination and bleeding between period or after sex. Most cases of PID will be treated with a 2-week course of antibiotics. The sooner you are treated the less impact it will have on your fertility.
It is still possible to catch chlamydia whilst you’re pregnant and there’s a chance that the infection can also be passes onto your baby. When this happens, it can lead to things such as the baby developing eye infections and lung infections.
If babies show these symptoms when born your midwife or GP will arrange for a test to be carried out to check for chlamydia; antibiotics will be used to treat the infection. Pregnant women who have left the infection untreated are at risk of the baby being born prematurely or underweight. It is also possible for women to suffer from miscarriages and potentially even still birth.
How Do You Treat Chlamydia?
If you’re suffering from chlamydia then you’ll usually be prescribed a course of oral antibiotics to treat the infection. Most antibiotics are treated using antibiotics such as azithromycin and doxycycline. It is also advisable for your current sexual partner or partners to be treated to help prevent reinfection and the disease from spreading further. Most cases of chlamydia will clear up within a week or two.
Getting Treated for Chlamydia at Broadgate GP
Whether you’re a man or a woman, being regularly tested or screened for chlamydia is important to ensure you’re in full health. Should you be sexually active or if you’ve recently gotten with a new partner then getting a test can help to make sure both of you are clear or are treated should one or both of you test positive.
Although it can display symptoms the infection tends to remain asymptomatic or the signs are confused with other illnesses. To stay healthy, make sure you get tested for chlamydia regularly at your local sexual health clinic.
This means people who test positive for the infection can be treated and the chance of complications developing will be reduced. WHO are constantly investing in developing STI vaccinations to combat the growing problem of sexually transmitted infections.
Frequently Asked Questions About Chlamydia
Yes! It is a curable for both men and women and it is one of the common diseases to be passes on sexually. The hardest thing is noticing the infection itself as it remains symptomless so it can be difficult to realise you have it in the first place.
It’s unclear whether chlamydia can be spread through just touching another person’s genitals. In most cases it is usually caught through unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex. It is also possible to catch the infection through unprotected or uncleaned shared toys.
If you have unprotected oral sex with someone who has chlamydia then it is possible to catch the infection in your throat. Most people don’t realise the importance of using protection during oral intercourse.
Chlamydia generally remains asymptomatic and even when symptoms develop they can be confused with infections. Symptoms will typically start to show several weeks after you’ve first become infected with the infection.
It isn’t impossible for the body to get rid of the infection on its own. It’s a myth many people believe and it can be dangerous as people as complication can develop when chlamydia is left untreated. When detected early most cases of chlamydia can be treated through a course of oral antibiotics.
No. Whilst the first place many people head to for testing is a GP they can also be carried out by your local sexual health or GUM clinic.
The two most common antibiotics used to treat chlamydia are azithromycin and doxycycline. However, people might be prescribed different antibiotics depending on if they have any allergies to certain types of ingredients used in the medication.
Most people don’t show signs of the infection and it rare for people to recognise symptoms as the infection. If you do get symptoms of the sexual transmitted disease then they usually appear one to three weeks after having unprotected sex with an infected person. It is possible for symptoms to develop months after the initial infection and symptoms can come and go.
Yes! Chlamydial conjunctivitis is redness and swelling of the clear membrane that lines the inside of your eyelids and covers the white of your eyes. In some cases the infection when in the the eye is known as pink eye. Although relatively harmless in adults, the eye infection in new born babies can lead to blindness.