Chlamydia Risk Factors, Causes, Prevention And Treatment


A prevalent sexually transmitted infection (STI), commonly referred to as a sexually transmitted disease (STD), is chlamydia. The bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis is what causes chlamydia. Due to the fact that many people do not experience symptoms like genital discomfort and vaginal or penile discharge, you might not be aware that you have chlamydia.

Chlamydia trachomatis primarily affects young women, yet it can infect anybody, regardless of gender or age. Although it is not difficult to cure, delaying care may result in more significant health issues.


The three main ways that Chlamydia trachomatis is transmitted are via vaginal, oral, and anal intercourse. Additionally, it is possible for pregnant women to transmit chlamydia to their unborn children after birth, which might result in pneumonia or a serious eye infection.

How to check if you have Chlamydia?

If you have discomfort when urinating or have a discharge from your vagina, penis, or rectum, consult a doctor. Additionally, if you discover your sexual partner has chlamydia, visit your doctor. Even if you do not have any symptoms, your doctor will probably still recommend an antibiotic.

The bacterial illness is known as chlamydia. The bacteria are often transmitted by intercourse or contact with genital fluids (semen or vaginal fluid) that are contaminated.

Chlamydia may be contracted through:

  • Even if there is no penetration, orgasm, or ejaculation, your genitalia touching your partner's genitalia
  • Getting vaginal or infected semen in your eye
  • Unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex sharing; sex toys that are not cleaned or covered with a new condom after each use.
  • Additionally, a pregnant mother might pass it on to her unborn child.

Chlamydia cannot be spread by innocuous physical contact, such as kissing and embracing, or through the sharing of objects like towels, toilet seats, swimming pools, or cutlery.

Risk Factors

Chlamydia risk factors include:

  • Less use of condoms.
  • Fewer people are using health services to treat and prevent STIs.
  • Numerous sexual partners.
  • Before realising that you have a chlamydia infection, you change relationships.
  • Younger people are more susceptible to contracting chlamydia than elderly persons. Younger people are more likely to have many risk factors, which explains this.


Chlamydia, also known as an STD, is a common STI. Chlamydia is an infection brought on by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. You might not be aware that you have chlamydia because many people do not experience symptoms like genital pain and vaginal or penile discharge.

Although it may infect anybody, regardless of gender or age, Chlamydia trachomatis typically affects young women. Even while it is easily treatable, waiting to get help might lead to more serious health problems.

Most chlamydia patients have no symptoms and are unaware that they have the disease.

If you do suffer symptoms, you could have:

  • Discomfort while urinating, unusual discharge from the penis, vagina, or bottom in women, abdominal pain, menstrual blood, and pain and swelling in the testicles
  • Visit a general practitioner (GP), community contraceptive service (CCS), or nearby genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic to get tested if you suspect you may have an STI or exhibit any chlamydia symptoms.

Chlamydia is typically asymptomatic in its victims.

In the event that you do experience symptoms, they start between one and three weeks following unprotected intercourse with an infected person. Some folks do not experience them until several months afterwards.

After a few days, the symptoms may occasionally go away. Even if the symptoms go away, you might still be infected and contagious.

Signs in women

At least 70% of female chlamydia patients have no symptoms. The most common symptoms, if any, are as follows: 

  • Discomfort when peeing
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Discomfort in the pelvic or belly
  • Discomfort during sex 
  • Bleeding following sex
  • Bleeding between periods

Chlamydia can spread to the womb and result in pregnancy if it is not treated.

PID, also known as pelvic inflammatory disease, is a dangerous disorder. This is a significant contributor to female infertility and ectopic pregnancies.

Signs in males

One-half or more of all males with chlamydia have no symptoms. The most common symptoms, if any, are as follows: 

  • Difficulty urinating
  • The urethra, which is the tube that removes urine from the body, may burn or itch when there is a white, hazy, or watery discharge from the penis' tip.
  • The testicles hurt
  • The epididymis, which transports sperm from the testicles, as well as the testicles, may expand if chlamydia is not treated. Your fertility might be impacted by this.

Chlamydia in the throat, or rectum, or If you engage in unprotected anal sex, may result in discomfort and discharge from your rectum. Unprotected oral sex is rare and has no symptoms. If you come into contact with infected semen or vaginal fluid while wearing contact lenses, this may result in eye redness, pain, and discharge (conjunctivitis).


The best strategy to avoid contracting chlamydia is to refrain from sexual activity. Otherwise, you can:

Apply condoms. When having sex, always use a condom, either a male latex condom or a female polyurethane condom. When worn correctly, condoms throughout every sexual contact help to lower but not completely eliminate the risk of infection.

Do not have too many sex partners. You have a very high chance of getting chlamydia and other STDs if you have several sexual partners.

Get checked out often. If you engage in sexual activity, especially if you have numerous partners, discuss with your doctor how frequently you should be examined for chlamydia and other STDs.

Do not douche. Douching reduces the number of beneficial bacteria in the vagina, raising the possibility of infection.

Anyone who has a sexual encounter might become infected with chlamydia.

Your risk increases if you engage in sexual activity with a new partner or do not use a barrier method of contraception, such as a condom.

Chlamydia can be stopped from spreading by:

  • Instead of sharing sex toys, use a dam (a thin, supple piece of plastic or latex) to conceal the female genitalia during oral sex or while massaging the female genitalia jointly
  • Oral sex while wearing a condom to hide the penis
  • If you do share sex toys, make sure to wash them or cover them with a fresh condom after each usage.


Antibiotics are utilized to treat Chlamydia trachomatis. You could just need to take the prescription once, or you might need to take it every day or several times each day for seven days.

After taking the medication, the infection usually goes away within 1 to 2 weeks. However, the illness might still spread initially. Therefore, refrain from sexual activity while receiving therapy and until all symptoms have disappeared.

Even if they do not exhibit symptoms, your sexual partner or partners during the last 60 days require tests and therapy. If not, sexual partners might get the disease from one another. Until all exposed partners have received treatment, make careful to refrain from sexual activity.

Antibiotics can cure chlamydia quickly and effectively.

You can be prescribed a course of azithromycin to take once a day for 3 days or a week's worth of doxycycline to take.

If you are taking doxycycline, wait until you and your current sexual partner have finished your treatment before engaging in any sexual activity, including oral sex.

You should wait 7 days following therapy with azithromycin before engaging in sexual activity, including oral sex.

To help halt the transmission of the illness, it is crucial that your present partner and any previous sexual partners of yours get testing and treatment as well.

Three to six months after receiving treatment, chlamydia patients under the age of 25 should be provided with another test.

Young individuals who test positive for chlamydia are the reason for this. 

You can get in touch with your sexual partners with the aid of sexual health or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics.

They can get a message in the mail encouraging them to be tested, or you or the clinic can talk with them.

Your anonymity will be maintained because your name will not be on the message.

Once the results of the test show that you have chlamydia, you could begin taking antibiotics. However, if the infection is highly likely to be present, therapy may begin before you receive the findings.

The two antibiotics that are most frequently recommended for chlamydia are: 

  • Every day for a week, take doxycycline.
  • For two days, take 500 mg of azithromycin once a day.
  • If you have an allergy, are pregnant, or are nursing, your doctor may prescribe an alternative antibiotic such as amoxicillin or erythromycin. Your doctor could prescribe a lengthier course of antibiotics if chlamydia problems are a worry.

During therapy, some patients may develop side effects, but these are often minor. The most frequent adverse reactions in women are thrush, diarrhoea, and stomach aches.

Complications of Chlamydia

Having Chlamydia trachomatis can lead to:

PID, or pelvic inflammatory disorder. Pelvic discomfort and fever are symptoms of PID, an infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes. Hospitalisation may be necessary for severe illnesses to get intravenous antibiotics. PID can harm the cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus.

Epididymitis is an infection close to the testicles. The epididymis, a coiled tube next to each testicle, may become inflamed as a result of a chlamydia infection. Fever, oedema, and scrotal pain might all be symptoms of the illness.

Infection of the prostate gland. The chlamydia bacteria can very infrequently spread to the prostate gland. Prostatitis symptoms include lower back pain, difficulty peeing, discomfort during or after sex, fever, and chills.

Neonatal infections. During delivery, the chlamydia infection might spread to your child and result in pneumonia or bacterial infection.

Ectopic conception. When an egg that has been fertilized implants and develops outside of the uterus—typically in a fallopian tube—this happens. To avoid potentially fatal consequences like a ruptured tube, the pregnancy must be removed. This risk is increased by chlamydia.

Infertility. Even undetected chlamydia infections can result in scarring and occlusion in the fallopian tubes, which may render women infertile.

Reactionary arthritis. Reactive arthritis, often known as Reiter syndrome, is more likely to occur in people with Chlamydia trachomatis. Joints, eyes, and the urethra—the tube that transports urine from the bladder to the outside of the body—are frequently impacted by this disorder.

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Page last reviewed: May 24, 2023

Next review due: May 24, 2025

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