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Chlamydia Tests

How It Is Done

Urine sample

If a urine sample is collected for nucleic acid amplification testing (such as PCR testing), do not urinate for 2 hours before the test. Do not wipe the genital area clean before urinating. Collect the first part of your urine stream, immediately as you begin urinating.

Direct sample

In a direct sample, a sample of body fluid is taken from the affected area. In adults, these areas may include the cervix, urethra, vagina, rectum, or eye.

  • For men. To collect a sample from the urethra or rectum, your doctor will insert a swab into the opening of your urethra or rectum. A sample from the urethra is more likely to detect chlamydia if a man has not urinated for at least 2 hours before the sample is taken.
  • For women. To collect a sample from the cervix, you will take off your clothes below the waist and drape a cloth around your waist. You will lie on your back on an exam table with your feet raised and supported by stirrups. This allows your doctor to examine your vagina and genital area. Your doctor will insert a lubricated speculum camera.gif into your vagina. The speculum gently spreads apart the vaginal walls so the inside of the vagina and the cervix can be looked at. Samples are collected from the cervix with a swab or small brush.
  • To collect a sample from your eye, your doctor will gently brush the insides of your lower and upper eyelids with a swab.

There is also a self-test for women to collect a sample from their vagina and bring it to the lab for testing.

In rare cases, a throat culture may be done.

How It Feels

There is no discomfort in collecting a urine sample.

Collecting a sample of fluid from the urethra, anus, or rectum may cause mild discomfort or pain.

Collecting a sample from the cervix may cause mild discomfort. Most women find that the procedure feels like a Pap test or pelvic exam. Some women feel some cramping when the speculum is inside the vagina.

Collecting a sample from the eye is painless unless the eyelids have sores on them.

Risks

There is no chance for problems in collecting a urine sample.

There is very little chance of problems when collecting a sample of fluid from the cervix, urethra, rectum, eyes, or throat.

In rare cases, a person may suddenly get dizzy or feel faint (called vasovagal syncope) because of fear or pain when the swab is inserted into the urethra.

Results

Chlamydia tests use a sample of body fluid or urine to see whether chlamydia bacteria (Chlamydia trachomatis) are present and causing an infection.

Chlamydia tests
Normal:

No chlamydia antigens or DNA are found. If a culture is done, no chlamydia bacteria grow in the culture. More tests for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) may be needed to find the cause of symptoms.

Abnormal:

Chlamydia antigens or DNA are found. If a culture is done, chlamydia bacteria grow in the culture.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 11, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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