Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S. This infection is easily spread because it often causes no symptoms and may be unknowingly passed to sexual partners. In fact, about 75% of infections in women and 50% in men are without symptoms.
How Do I Know if I Have Chlamydia?
It is not easy to tell if you are infected with chlamydia since symptoms are not always apparent. But when they do occur, they are usually noticeable within one to three weeks of contact and can include the following:
Chlamydia symptoms in women
- Abnormal vaginal discharge that may have an odor
- Bleeding between periods
- Painful periods
- Abdominal pain with fever
- Pain when having sex
- Itching or burning in or around the vagina
- Pain when urinating
Chlamydia symptoms in men
- Small amounts of clear or cloudy discharge from the tip of the penis
- Painful urination
- Burning and itching around the opening of the penis
- Pain and swelling around the testicles
How Is Chlamydia Diagnosed?
There are a few different tests your doctor can use to diagnose chlamydia. He or she will probably use a swab to take a sample from the urethra in men or from the cervix in women and then send the specimen to a laboratory to be analyzed. There are also other tests which check a urine sample for the presence of the bacteria.
How Is Chlamydia Treated?
If you have chlamydia, your doctor will prescribe oral antibiotics, usually azithromycin (Zithromax) or doxycycline. Your doctor will also recommend your partner(s) be treated to prevent reinfection and further spread of the disease.
With treatment, the infection should clear up in about a week or two. It is important to finish all of your antibiotics even if you feel better.
Women with severe chlamydia infection may require hospitalization, intravenous antibiotics (medicine given through a vein), and pain medicine.
After taking antibiotics, people should be re-tested to be sure the infection is cured. This is particularly important if you are unsure that your partner(s) obtained treatment. Do not have sex until you are sure both you and your partner no longer have the disease.