Chlamydia

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease, the most common one in the United States. Both men and women can develop chlamydia, but the effects of the disease are potentially more damaging to women than to men.

Chlamydia is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. It is passed along almost exclusively through sexual acts: vaginal, oral or anal. A pregnant mother with chlamydia can also pass the disease to her baby at birth.

Symptoms and Complications

In many cases, a person can be infected with chlamydia but show no symptoms of the disease. This can make it easy to pass the disease along via sexual contact. If the disease does present symptoms, both men and women may experience a burning sensation when urinating, as well as an abnormal discharge from the penis or vagina. Men may also experience pain and discomfort around the tip of the penis or the testicles. Women might have symptoms such as fever, nausea, bleeding between periods or pain in the abdomen or back or pain during sex.

Perhaps the greatest risk of chlamydia is the potential for complications in women. Left untreated, chlamydia can potentially spread to the fallopian tubes and uterus. This is called pelvic inflammatory disease, and if untreated, it can lead to an ectopic pregnancy, chronic pelvic pain or infertility.

Treatment of Chlamydia

Because chlamydia is almost always transmitted sexually, the best way to prevent the spread of the disease is with safe sexual practices, such as the use of condoms. It may also be wise for people who have multiple sex partners to get tested frequently for the disease because chlamydia often has no symptoms. If you do contract chlamydia, the disease is easy to treat with a course of antibiotics to kill the bacteria.

SOURCES: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; U.S. Office on Women's Health

Date Posted
Article Title
6/13/2017
Adding in Prescription for Partner Boosts STD Care

Lower chlamydia, gonorrhea rates seen when one person can obtain treatment for both partners

10/19/2016
Sexually Transmitted Diseases Hit All-Time High: CDC

More prevention efforts needed, agency STD specialists say

7/21/2016
Mouse Study Offers Hope for Vaccine Against Chlamydia

Bacteria's ability to spread within cells was halted, researcher says

11/17/2015
Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia Rates Rising for First Time in Years: CDC

Increases are largely driven by STD epidemic among men, U.S. researchers say

7/21/2015
Change in 'Pap' Test Rules Linked to Drop in STD Testing

Chlamydia screening of young women plummeted at one university health center

9/23/2014
Some Women Need Tests for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Experts Say

Guidelines include all sexually active females 24 and younger, plus older women deemed at higher risk

6/10/2014
Many STDs May Go Undiagnosed, U.S. Report Finds

Nearly 2 million Americans have chlamydia infection, but about 400,000 don't know it, government estimates

4/28/2014
More STD Screening on Horizon for Women?

Influential U.S. panel has also drafted guidelines on counseling to prevent chlamydia, gonorrhea

9/5/2013
Chlamydia, Gonorrhea Tied to Higher Risk of Pregnancy Complications

However, Australian study doesn't prove these STDs cause birth problems

3/13/2012
Not Enough Young Women Getting Tested for Chlamydia: CDC

Research also found retesting rates, although critical, are also too low

11/17/2011
19 Million New STD Infections Reported Annually, CDC Says

Treating chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis costs U.S. $17 billion a year

8/25/2011
Faster Way to Treat Partners of Women With STDs Urged: Experts

Doctors can pass along antibiotics to these men via the infected woman, without an examination

1/26/2011
More Screenings May Explain Higher Chlamydia Rates Among Minorities

Researcher urges doctors to screen all sexually active young women

1/6/2011
Earlier Diagnosis Might Cut Cost of Teen Pelvic Disease

Advanced cases require $8,000 hospitalization on average, study finds

5/27/2010
Chlamydia Treated Sooner When Docs Use E-Records

Study found number treated within two weeks of diagnosis more than doubled

4/15/2010
Chlamydia Often Overlooked in Young Men

British study says poor management of related condition leaves many undiagnosed

3/30/2010
Women Would Welcome At-Home Test for STDs

Readily available option could help lower infection rates, expert says

12/17/2009
STDs Common Among Sexually Active Teen Girls in Cities

Researchers urge screening within year of first intercourse

11/16/2009
Teen Girls at Higher Risk for STDs: Report

Improved access to treatment for chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis is 'imperative,' expert says

7/28/2009
Urine Test for Chlamydia Shown Effective in Men

Experts say quick results make it better than existing methods

7/8/2009
Changes Reduced Infections From Medical Abortion

Differences in drug use, delivery made a measurable impact in Planned Parenthood study

4/16/2009
Less Than Half of Young Women Screened for Chlamydia

Sexually active females risk infertility, ectopic pregnancy from the infection, CDC warns

1/13/2009
U.S. Chlamydia Infections Hit All-Time High

Million-plus cases reported; women and minorities disproportionately affected, CDC says

2/19/2008
Biannual Antibiotics May Cut Major Cause of Blindness in Africa

Ocular strain of chlamydia responds well to expanded treatment, report says

11/13/2007
U.S. Chlamydia Infections Hit All-Time High

Million-plus cases reported, as gonorrhea, syphilis rates rise for 2nd year in a row, CDC says

4/5/2007
Chlamydia Screening Programs Don't Work: Expert

There's no evidence these efforts reduce infection rates, Swiss scientist says

6/30/2006
Health Tip: Chlamydia Often Has No Symptoms

Screening recommended for sexually active

10/28/2004
CDC: Chlamydia Testing Disappointingly Low

Most sexually active women not tested for the sexually transmitted disease

10/7/2004
More Chlamydia Screening Urged for Women

Study finds it would reduce incidence, cost of STD

9/17/2004
Condom Mishaps Spell Trouble for Men

Errors lead to higher risk of STDs, study finds

11/20/2003
Syphilis Rates Rise, Gay Men at Risk

Numbers raise fears that safe-sex practices are waning

9/5/2003
1 in 10 Female Army Recruits Has Chlamydia

Finding underscores need for testing, researchers say

6/7/2002
New Test For Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Version of the Pap test OK'd to use in testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea