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Chlamydia: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment


You’ve probably heard of chlamydia before, but are you aware of the ins and outs of this sexually transmitted infection? Most people’s knowledge of chlamydia extends no further than their school health lessons, but they don’t always go in-depth about what to do if you have symptoms of chlamydia. From diagnosis to treatment, this guide takes you through everything you need to know about chlamydia so you can effectively detect this silent infection!

  • What is Chlamydia?
  • What are the Symptoms of Chlamydia?
  • How is Chlamydia Transmitted?
  • How is Chlamydia Diagnosed?
  • How to Treat Chlamydia
  • How to Test for Chlamydia at Home
  • Manage Your Sexual Health with Home Health


What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacteria Chlamydia Trachomatis. There are different variations of chlamydia, such as oral chlamydia or even chlamydia in the eyes.

Transmitted through unprotected sex, chlamydia is more common in sexually active teenagers and young adults. It is, therefore, important to educate young people on the symptoms of chlamydia and where to seek diagnosis and treatment to reduce the spread of this silent infection.


What are the Symptoms of Chlamydia?

Most people experience no symptoms when diagnosed with chlamydia. This is why chlamydia is nicknamed the ‘silent infection’. However, if you do experience symptoms, they usually include:

  • Pain when peeing
  • Unusual discharge from the vagina, penis, or anus
  • In women: pain in the stomach, bleeding after sex, or bleeding between periods
  • In men: pain and swelling in the testicles

If you have other forms of chlamydia, symptoms may differ, such as:

  • Oral Chlamydia: painful sore throat; low fever; coughing; swollen lymph nodes; and sores around the mouth
  • Chlamydia in the Eyes: eye redness, pain, and discharge of the eye (conjunctivitis)
  • Chlamydia in the Rectum: discomfort and discharge from your rectum


How is Chlamydia Transmitted?

Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that is transmitted through unprotected sex. This includes anal, oral or vaginal sex. Transmission can also occur through:

  • Sharing sex toys that have not been washed or covered with a new condom
  • Genitals coming into contact with infected genitals – this means no penetration, orgasm or ejaculation needs to occur for chlamydia to be transmitted
  • Infected semen or vaginal fluid getting into your eye
  • Pregnant women with chlamydia can also pass it on to their baby

Chlamydia Transmission Myths Debunked

People commonly ask, “Can you catch chlamydia through kissing?” or “Can you catch chlamydia from a toilet seat?”. The answer is no! Chlamydia is only transmitted through unprotected anal, oral or vaginal sex or sexual activity.

This means you cannot catch chlamydia from:

  • Kissing
  • Hugging
  • Sharing food and drink
  • Sharing baths
  • Swimming pools
  • Toilet seats
  • And more…


How is Chlamydia Diagnosed?

There are various tests used to diagnose chlamydia, including swab tests, urine tests and rapid chlamydia tests. These swabs and samples are generally used for nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) that can detect the genetic material of Chlamydia Trachomatis.

Swab Tests

Swab samples are generally collected from the cervix (in women) or urethra (in men) during a pelvic exam, or a urethral swab can be taken.

If you are suspected of having another form of chlamydia, such as oral chlamydia, samples may be taken from your throat or rectum, depending on the suspected form of chlamydia.

Urine Tests

A specific procedure must be followed when collecting urine samples, known as a clean-catch urine sample. This means the genital area must be cleaned before the sample is taken, and only the midstream portion of urine should be collected to avoid contamination.

This sample then goes through NAAT to determine whether chlamydia is present.

Rapid Chlamydia Test

A rapid chlamydia test provides quicker results than traditional NAATs but still uses a similar process. Results are often provided in about 30 minutes.

A urine or swab sample is collected from potentially infected sites and applied to a test device. After about 30 minutes, a test result will be visible on the test device with a visible cue, such as colour changes or lines.


How to Treat Chlamydia

Antibiotics are used to treat chlamydia. Two main antibiotics are prescribed: doxycycline and azithromycin. A course of doxycycline lasts for 7 days, whereas azithromycin has a duration of 3 days.

No matter what antibiotics you are prescribed, you should also:

  • Abstain from any sexual activity, including oral sex, for at least 7 days after your course of antibiotics has finished.
  • Get regularly tested as your chances of catching chlamydia again have increased.
  • Contact current and previous sexual partners to ensure they also get tested.

What Happens if You Don’t Get Treated?

If you don’t treat chlamydia, it can lead to serious health complications. For example, the infection can spread to other parts of the body and cause health conditions such as:

There are also more specific health complications that can occur when different forms of chlamydia are not treated. Conditions such as pharyngitis, toothache, and gum disease are all complications that can occur if oral chlamydia is left untreated.


How to Test for Chlamydia at Home

You may be wondering how you can obtain a chlamydia test if you have symptoms or you just want peace of mind. You can purchase various chlamydia tests online. From swab tests to urine tests and an instant chlamydia test, there are plenty of options available to you depending on your preferences. If you want reliable results within minutes, a SELF Check chlamydia test may be the ideal choice for you!

At Home Health, we have a range of rapid chlamydia tests. Please note our tests at Home Health are for professional use only. If you require a chlamydia test, you can obtain free chlamydia tests at your local sexual health clinic, genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic or GP surgery.


Manage Your Sexual Health with Home Health

Whether you think you have symptoms of chlamydia or you are sexually active and want to manage your sexual health, we recommend you regularly check yourself, especially if you are under 25 and are having unprotected sex.

At Home Health, we want to protect you and your health. That’s why we offer a range of STI test kits for professional use. From chlamydia test kits to herpes test kits and more, we provide healthcare professionals with the tools they need to help everyone take control of their sexual health. Ensure early diagnosis and rapid treatment by taking a chlamydia test today at your local sexual health clinic or GP.


Chlamydia FAQs

Can you get chlamydia non-sexually?

Typically, you cannot catch chlamydia unless it is through unprotected anal, oral or vaginal sex. However, if you have infected fluids on your hand and then proceed to touch your eye, you may also get chlamydia of the eye.

A mother can also transmit chlamydia to their baby during birth if the mother is infected.

What happens if chlamydia is left untreated?

If left untreated, chlamydia can spread to other parts of the body causing complications, such as:

Can you pass chlamydia through saliva?

You can’t pass chlamydia through saliva. Chlamydia can only be transmitted through unprotected anal, oral or vaginal sex. This also means you cannot transmit chlamydia through:

  • Kissing
  • Hugging
  • Sharing food and drink
  • Sharing lipstick
  • Swimming pools
  • Sharing baths


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