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Chlamydia

Chlamydia is a very common sexually transmitted infection (STI). Most people do not have symptoms. Because of this, chlamydia may not be noticed until it causes severe problems. Left untreated, this infection can cause women and men to become sterile. This means they will not be able to have children.

Bedside table with open box of condoms on it.
To help prevent chlamydia, always use a condom during sex.

Symptoms

Many people with chlamydia have no symptoms. Women are more likely than men not to have symptoms.

If symptoms show up in women, they include:

  • Clear or yellow discharge (fluid) from the vagina or anus

  • Bleeding between periods

  • Pain or burning during urination

  • Pain with sexual intercourse

  • Abdominal pain

If symptoms show up in men, they include:

  • Clear or yellow discharge (drip) from the penis or anus

  • Pain or burning during urination

  • Abdominal pain

Potential Problems

If the infection is not treated, it can lead to more serious health problems. In women, this can be pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can make a woman sterile. It can also cause an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy. This type of pregnancy cannot be carried to term. Symptoms of PID include fever, pain during sex, and pain in the abdomen.

All women ages 24 and younger should get checked for chlamydia. This can help prevent PID. Women ages 25 and older should also be checked if they are at increased risk, for example when there is a new sexual partner, condoms are not used consistently, or if they had chlamydia infection in the past. 

Treatment

When found early, chlamydia can be treated. It can be cured with antibiotic medications. If you have it, tell your partner right away. Because women often don’t have symptoms, men should ask their partners to get tested.

Prevention

Know your partner’s history. Protect yourself by using a condom whenever you have sex. If you are pregnant, take extra care. Untreated chlamydia in a pregnant woman can cause eye, ear, or lung problems in the baby.

For More Information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 
800-232-4636 
www.cdc.gov/std

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 2/1/2012
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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