Chlamydia is the most frequently reported bacterial sexually transmitted disease in the U.S. 75% of cases occur in people under the age of 25. 75% of women and 50% of men experience no symptoms of this infection. Therefore, many times the infection is not diagnosed or treated until complications develop. For this reason, chlamydia is often called the “silent” disease.
Chlamydia can be transmitted during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
Symptoms in females may include an abnormal vaginal discharge, or a burning sensation when urinating. If the infection spreads up into the fallopian tubes, some women still have no symptoms. Others have low back or abdominal pain, nausea, fever, pain during intercourse, or bleeding between periods. Permanent and irreversible damage can occur if the infection spreads this far into a woman’s reproductive organs.
Men with signs or symptoms may also have a discharge from the penis and a burning sensation when they urinate. They may also have itching and burning around the opening of the penis, pain and swelling in the testicles, or both. Untreated chlamydia in men typically causes urethral infection, which may spread to the epididymis (a tube that carries sperm from the testis), which may cause pain, fever, or potentially, infertility.
If symptoms do appear, it is usually within 1-3 weeks of exposure.
If you test positive for chlamydia, it is very important that all sexual partners also be treated.