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Chlamydia Risks & Complications

How is chlamydia transmitted?

Chlamydia is transmitted through vaginal, anal or (occasionally) oral sex. A chlamydia infection can be passed between sex partners even if the man does not ejaculate. Once transmitted, chlamydia bacterium targets the moist mucous membranes of the transmission site, whether it is the penis, vagina, anus (rectum), throat or eyelid(s). Chlamydia can also be transmitted during vaginal childbirth, during which the mother can unknowingly pass her infection to her baby. As a result, the child can potentially develop a serious eye infection or pneumonia.

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At least 50% of the time, chlamydia​ ​has​ ​no symptoms​ in men and women which contributes to the disease being extremely common​ ​and​ ​easily​ ​spread​. It can be easily cured with antibiotics; get tested today if you think you may have been exposed.

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Effects of untreated chlamydia?

Chlamydia infections that are left untreated can lead to serious health and reproductive issues. The Chlamydia trachomatis bacterium targets the body's moist, mucous membranes, including inside the penis, vagina, anus, throat and eyelids. In extreme cases, a woman with an untreated case of chlamydia can acquire PID (pelvic inflammatory disease). PID damages the uterus and Fallopian tubes and as a result can lead to complications during pregnancy or even infertility. For men, an untreated chlamydia infection can cause pain and inflammation in the penis, prostate and testes. In some rare cases, sterility is a possible outcome. The CDC recommends that sexually active women 25 years or younger, men and women with new and/or multiple sex partners, and men who regularly engage in sexual activity with other men get tested annually for chlamydia and other STDs.

Can I get re-infected with chlamydia?

Yes, it is possible to get re-infected with chlamydia, especially if you have sex with an infected partner. Antibiotics you take can cure only your own chlamydia infection, not also your partner’s infection. Antibiotics for chlamydia will not make you immune to the bacterium that causes the infection. This is why it is especially important to get tested with your partner in order to ensure that both individuals are tested, treated, and cured before engaging in sexual activity again. It is advised to wait 7 days after completing treatment before engaging in sexual activity again.

Is chlamydia preventable?

To prevent or reduce your risk of contracting chlamydia, you have a few options. You can be sexually abstinent, which is the only way to be sure you will not get chlamydia or any other STD. If you engage in sexual intercourse, you can use a latex condom or dental dam whenever you have oral, vaginal or anal sex. You can help decrease your odds of a chlamydia infection by practicing monogamy or limiting your number of sexual partners. Finally, if you suspect that you have chlamydia, or experience any unusual symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately. Getting tested for chlamydia and other STDs with your partner can ensure both your sexual health and theirs.

Importance of informing your partner you have chlamydia.

If diagnosed, it is important to inform your partner about your chlamydia infection as soon as possible. Why? Because chlamydia is a common and highly contagious infection-- If you test positive for chlamydia, the odds are likely that your sex partner is also infected. In fact, you and your partner may want to get tested and treated for chlamydia together, so that you can minimize your chances of acquiring the infection again or passing it along to someone else. At STDcheck.com we offer an FDA-cleared Chlamydia Test. If you test positive, you are eligible for a phone consultation with a doctor who can advise you about available treatments. Our doctors recommend getting tested again 2 weeks after you've been treated in order to be sure that the chlamydia bacterium has not re-entered your system and has been completely cleared.

Is there a relationship between chlamydia and HIV?

An untreated chlamydia infection increases an individual’s chances of acquiring or transmitting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In particular, women with chlamydia are at greater risk of getting HIV than those without chlamydia. All sexually active individuals need to seriously consider annual STD screenings as a way to help maintain optimum sexual health.

The importance of pregnant women getting tested for chlamydia

In pregnant women, untreated chlamydia infections can lead to premature delivery. According to the CDC, chlamydia infection is the leading cause of prenatal pneumonia and conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, in newborns. The best method for preventing such neonatal complications is for pregnant women to get screened and treated for chlamydia by their doctor during their first prenatal visit.

  1. "Conjunctivitis | Pink Eye | Newborns | CDC." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/conjunctivitis/newborns.html
  2. "STDs on the Rise Press Release, 2015 | CDC." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/newsroom/2015/std-surveillance-report-press-release.html
  3. "Default - Stanford Children's Health." Stanford Children's Health - Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=chlamydia-can-lead-to-infertility-1-2517
  4. "Infertility & STDs - STD Information from CDC." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/std/infertility/default.htm

Medically Reviewed by on Jun 18, 2019

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