(Also Called 'Nongonococcal Urethritis (NGU)', 'Nonspecific Urethritis', 'NSU (Nonspecific Urethritis)')
What is chlamydia?
Chlamydia trachomatis is a bacteria-like organism. C.trachomatis is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). Both men and women can get chlamydia. When left untreated, chlamydia can cause:
- Damage to the sex organs
- Sterility (the inability to have children)
- Tubal pregnancies, which can lead to the death of the mother and child
- Premature births (giving birth too early)
What are the symptoms of chlamydia?
About half of the women with chlamydia do not have
symptoms. When symptoms are present, they may include:
- White, yellow or green discharge (fluid) from the vagina that may have a
- Bleeding between periods
- Itching or burning in or around the vagina
- Dull pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis
- Pain or burning when passing urine
- Painful periods
Most men have symptoms, although some do not. Symptoms include:
- Clear or white discharge (fluid) from the penis
- Pain or burning when passing urine
- Pain and swelling around the testicles
What causes chlamydia?
Chlamydia trachomatis is one of three distinct species
of bacteria that cause infections in humans. Bacteria that cause the infection
can be spread during sex or through contact with the genitals or anus.
How can I know if I have chlamydia?
If you think you have chlamydia, or any STI, contact
your health care provider. He or she will examine you and perform tests, if
necessary, to determine if you have an STI.
To check for chlamydia, the woman is given a pelvic
exam. A sample of fluid is taken from the vagina. In men, a sample of fluid may
be taken from the penis. The fluid is sent to a laboratory for testing.
Can chlamydia be cured?
Yes. Chlamydia can be treated and cured.
How is chlamydia treated?
Chlamydia is treated with antibiotic medication, which
are medications taken by mouth. Since both you and your sex partner have been
infected, both of you must be treated.
With treatment, the infection should clear up in about
seven days. Continue to take your medication, even if the symptoms go away.
Also, never take someone else's medication to treat
your illness. By doing so, you may make the infection more difficult to treat.
You should also:
Tell anyone with whom you have had sex in the last
three months that you are infected. This step is especially important because
chlamydia may have no symptoms. Women, especially, may not have symptoms and may
not seek testing or treatment unless alerted by their sex partners. Abstain from
sex until you have taken all of your medication.
Get checked for HIV (AIDS) and other STIs (syphilis,
Can I get chlamydia more than once?
What can happen if chlamydia is not treated?
In women, chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory
disease (PID). PID is a serious infection of the reproductive organs. PID can cause:
- Tubal pregnancies, which can lead to death of the mother and unborn
A mother also can pass the infection to her child
during birth. Infection in newborns can lead to:
How can I protect myself from chlamydia?
- Do not have sex with someone you know is infected.
- Always use a condom during sex.
- Have sex with only one partner
- Get tested
Where can I learn more?
CDC Hotline: 800.232.4636
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 1/26/2010...#4023