What are the symptoms of chlamydia Around half of men and slightly more women who have chlamydia have no symptoms at all. It is possible to pass chlamydia on to sexual partners even if you yourself have no symptoms. The symptoms of chlamydia usually start around one to three weeks after becoming infected.
In men, symptoms of chlamydia include:
- A whitish milky discharge from the penis
- Some pain when passing urine
- Pain and swelling in the testicles
- An increased or unusual looking discharge from the vagina
- Bleeding from the vagina after sex or between periods
- The experience of pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis
- Some pain when passing urine
- Varying degrees of pain during sex
In women, chlamydia infection can spread to the womb, ovaries and fallopian tubes and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). The figures for the development of PID are between one and four women in 10 with untreated chlamydia. Once PID is present it can damage the fallopian tubes and can increase the risk of infertility. It can also lead to an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy. This is when pregnancy occurs outside the womb, most commonly in one of the fallopian tubes.
In men, an untreated chlamydia infection can spread to the tube that carries urine from the bladder and out through the penis or to the prostate gland. It can also block the tube that carries sperm from the testes, which can give rise to infertility.
Systemically, chlamydia can cause inflammation in the joints, known as reactive arthritis or Reiter's syndrome. This complication is more frequently seen in men.
The treatment for Chlamydia is with the prescription of antibiotics. Your doctor will let you know how long the course will be. It's very important to take the full course of antibiotics prescribed even if the symptoms of chlamydia disappear before you finish the course.
Once diagnosed with chlamydia, it's important that a patient waits until the doctor has given them the ‘all clear’ before having vaginal, anal or oral sex again. If both you and your partner are being treated, wait until you have both finished the course of treatment, or you could both become re-infected.
Antibiotics can interfere with some forms of oral contraception so do ask your nurse or doctor for advice.
Special considerations If you are pregnant Being infected with chlamydia during pregnancy can lead to complications such as miscarriage or a premature birth.
It is also possible for chlamydia to pass to the baby during birth. This infection in a baby, can cause conjunctivitis or pneumonia, both of which can be treated.
If you discover that you have chlamydia when you're pregnant or when you are breastfeeding, you will be prescribed antibiotics. However, it is important to let your doctor know that you're pregnant or breastfeeding so that an antibiotic that's safe for your baby can be prescribed.
What is the best way to prevent chlamydia? There are precautions that can be taken to lower the risk of contracting or spreading chlamydia. And the first and most important of these is to always use a condom during sex. BeSafe have a great range to suit everyones taste and to ensure that you stay safe and well. Always use a BeSafe condom when you have sex, remember condoms aren’t only for preventing pregnancy!