Chlamydia Symptoms

In most cases, those who contract chlamydia may show no symptoms whatsoever. And for those who are symptomatic, it may be days or weeks before chlamydia symptoms become apparent.

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What Are The First Signs of Chlamydia?

Most of the time, chlamydia symptoms are simply non-existent. Because of this, many people who contract chlamydia are unaware of the fact and are likely to unknowingly spread the disease to their sexual partners. If left untreated, chlamydia may cause damage to the reproductive system even if someone doesn’t display chlamydia symptoms. This is why it is recommended for sexually active men and women, especially those with multiple partners, to make chlamydia and general STD testing part of their regular health routine. When people do display chlamydia symptoms, they may be similar to those of other sexually transmitted diseases. So even in these instances, it can be challenging to determine if you’ve contracted chlamydia or something else entirely. Chlamydia symptoms are different for men and women and are listed in the table below. Suppose you start displaying any of the following symptoms. In that case, Priority STD offers plenty of STD testing center options near you to conveniently get tested and seek medical attention before the condition worsens.

Chlamydia Incidence Rates (USA)

Chlamydia is the most commonly reported sexually transmitted infection in the United States, with more than 1.7 million cases in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Although the actual figure is undoubtedly much higher, many who become infected and display no symptoms will forgo the testing necessary to confirm a positive diagnosis. While year-to-year figures may vary one way or the other, overall trends of chlamydia incidence rates, have increased dramatically over the past few decades. Remember, if you suspect you’ve been exposed to chlamydia by way of a sexual partner, you’ll want to get tested and seek out proper treatment as soon as possible, even if chlamydia symptoms are not apparent.

What Does Chlamydia Look Like?

Those with chlamydia may notice an unusual, yellow, or milky discharge from the penis or vagina. Bleeding around the anus and (for men) testicular swelling are familiar visual cues that may suggest chlamydia. However, since chlamydia typically does not display visible symptoms of any kind, it can be difficult to tell if you’ve contracted it based on visuals alone. The only way to know if you have chlamydia is to find a reputable STD testing provider and get tested. If you notice symptoms or feel you’ve been exposed by way of unprotected sexual activity, getting tested is going to be your most reliable course of action. And remember that even if you’re not experiencing symptoms, it doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. As a precaution, it’s best to include chlamydia testing as part of your regular health routine.

Chlamydia Symptoms Treatment

Fortunately, chlamydia is one of the most easily curable sexually transmitted diseases, especially when caught early. Your doctor may even treat you with oral antibiotics before you even get your test results back as a precautionary measure. If you have concerns about your medication, consult your provider before you end treatment.

It’s important to note that while antibiotics will treat the chlamydia infection, they will not treat or repair any damage already caused by chlamydia complications (including pelvic inflammatory disease in women). It is better to catch chlamydia as early as possible, through regular STD testing, before the infection causes any damage.

It is essential to notify your sexual partners if you suspect you have chlamydia or have been diagnosed with it. Any sexual partners you had in the past 60 days should be tested so those who test positive can seek their own treatment. If you have not been sexually active in the past 60 days, then your last sexual partner should be tested and, if appropriate, treated. This is important to prevent reinfection and the spread of the disease to others. In some states, partners can be treated without being tested or seen by a provider.

Getting tested for chlamydia involves a simple urine test, which looks for the presence of bacteria. When you are tested, your doctor may suggest you also get tested for gonorrhea at the same time. Gonorrhea is another sexually transmitted disease, also caused by bacteria, and it is transferred between people the same way chlamydia is. It is not uncommon for people infected with one to also be infected with the other. If your test shows that you are infected with chlamydia, you should also be tested for other sexually transmitted diseases, including gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV.

What Happens if You Have Chlamydia for Too Long?

More than 95 percent of those who follow their treatment regimens will be cured. Any symptoms you have may improve as quickly as a few days, and most will be free of the infection within a week. Three months after treatment, you should be retested to ensure the treatment worked and that you weren’t re-infected by a partner who wasn’t adequately treated.

If left untreated, chlamydia in women can spread to the fallopian tubes and uterus, potentially causing pelvic inflammatory disease. However, the typically asymptomatic pelvic inflammatory disease can cause abdominal pain and potentially cause permanent damage to the reproductive system. Sometimes, this can lead to infertility or increase a woman’s chances of an ectopic pregnancy.

In men, untreated chlamydia symptoms do not necessarily indicate additional health problems, but in extreme cases, it can cause extreme pain, and the infection can even cause infertility.

Medically reviewed by Amy Cyr MD
Reviewed on 12/21/2021

Chlamydia Symptoms FAQs

Yes, they most certainly can. Once you’ve been infected, you may notice symptoms come and go somewhat sporadically until treatment is administered. And you may go months or longer after contracting before symptoms are present. Or symptoms may never develop at all. Either way, if you have chlamydia, you are at risk of passing it along to a sexual partner whether or not you are displaying symptoms. While symptoms may subside on their own, make no mistake, the infection will not. You’ll want to get tested and seek treatment as soon as you can before the infection worsens.
There is no timetable as to how long one can carry the chlamydia infection while showing no symptoms. Months, years, even decades are all very realistic answers. In theory, you could contract chlamydia and go your entire life without ever showing as much as a single symptom. Waiting for chlamydia symptoms to appear before getting tested or seeking treatment is a risky practice and certainly not advisable. If you believe you’ve been exposed, you’ll want to get tested right away whether or not symptoms are present.
Those experiencing chlamydia symptoms will generally see them subside within a few days of beginning a treatment regimen. And typically, a person will be completely free of the infection within a week. During your treatment, you’re advised to abstain from sexual activity just in case you are still contagious. Once some time has passed, you’ll want to test again just to confirm that you are chlamydia free. And remember, just because you’ve been cured of chlamydia once does not give you any sort of “chlamydia immunity”. It is very possible to contract chlamydia more than once in a lifetime.
Common chlamydia symptoms include unusual penile/vaginal discharge and burning or discomfort while urinating (neither of which are particularly unique to chlamydia, mind you). More often than not, however, the first sign of chlamydia symptoms is...nothing. No symptoms whatsoever. While the complete absence of irritating and/or painful symptoms might sound like a relief, keep in mind that it does make chlamydia difficult to self-diagnose without a proper test. And even if chlamydia symptoms are not present, those carrying the infection are likely just as contagious as those who are symptomatic.

Symptoms in Men and Women

Chlamydia Symptoms in Women
  • No noticeable symptoms
Chlamydia Symptoms in Men
  • No noticeable symptoms

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