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What are the symptoms of chlamydia?

Part of what makes chlamydia so difficult to diagnose is that it is largely asymptomatic; in other words, someone can be infected for months or longer and never know they have the infection. When symptoms do occur, they often are mild -- a burning sensation when urinating and/or a discharge from the vagina or penis are typical symptoms. Females may also experience pain in the pelvic area or discomfort or bleeding during sex.

Healthcare professionals may not address these symptoms, possibly leading to the chlamydia infection remaining untreated. If left untreated in females, it may result in pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

PID can occur within days or several months after being infected with chlamydia. At this point, symptoms still may go unnoticed in some females, yet they do have an active PID infection. Other females, however, may experience bleeding between menstrual periods, lower back pain, pain during sexual penetration, increased vaginal discharge and severe pelvic pain. Treatment for these females may require hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics.
Angela Lowery
Family Medicine

Chlamydia has been known as a silent disease because most of the people infected have no symptoms. If symptoms should occur they are usually not seen until 1 to 3 weeks after exposure. Women that have symptoms may have an abnormal discharge or burning with urination. If the infections spreads to the cervix the woman may experience some lower abdominal pain, back pain, fever nausea, painful intercourse or bleeding between menstrual periods. Some women may have no symptoms.

If men should have symptoms they may include burning with urination, discharge from the penis, burning and itching around the opening of the penis.

Chlamydia is known as a "silent" disease. This is because 75 percent of infected women and at least half of infected men have no symptoms.

If symptoms do occur, they most often appear within 1 to 3 weeks of exposure. The infection first attacks the cervix and urethra. Even if the infection spreads to the uterus and fallopian tubes, some women still have no symptoms. If you do have symptoms, you may have:

Abnormal vaginal discharge Burning when passing urine Lower abdominal pain Low back pain Nausea Fever Pain during sex Bleeding between periods

Men with chlamydia may have:

Discharge from the penis Burning when passing urine Burning and itching around the opening of the penis Pain and swelling in the testicles

The chlamydia bacteria also can infect your throat if you have oral sex with an infected partner.

Chlamydia is often not diagnosed or treated until problems show up. If you think you may have chlamydia, both you and your sex partner(s) should see a doctor right away –– even if you have no symptoms.

Chlamydia can be confused with gonorrhea (gahn-uh-REE-uh), another STI. These STIs have some of the same symptoms and problems if not treated. But they have different treatments.

 This answer is based on the source information from the National Women's Health Information   Center.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.