Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection and very common. It is passed on through unprotected sex and it’s more prevalent in young adults and teenagers under the age of 25. There are often no symptoms so it can go undiagnosed until either you or your partner go for a check-up.
Sometimes chlamydia can cause symptoms. These include an unusual discharge and pain when urinating. Women may experience pain in the lower abdomen and bleeding during sex or between periods. For men, it can cause pain and swelling in the testicles.
Chlamydia can be passed on through having vaginal, oral or anal sex with an infected person without a condom or coming into contact with your sexual partner’s genitals or genital fluids. Sharing sex toys can also pass on the infection and pregnant women with chlamydia can pass it on to their baby.
In the short term, chlamydia is harmless and it is treated with one dose of antibiotics. If it is left untreated for a long time however it can cause long term complications. These include pelvic inflammatory infection, epididymo-orchitis (which causes the testicles to become inflamed) and infertility. If you have symptoms or think you might be at risk of having chlamydia, then it’s important to have a check-up and get treatment early. This will prevent the infection from spreading and causing more serious problems.
Getting tested for chlamydia involves a quick swab or urine test. The service is provided at your GP and sexual health clinics, but you can also get home test kits you can use at home. You can order a home test online via Dr Felix.
You’ll be given a dose of antibiotics, typically either Azithromycin or Doxycycline, that you either take in one go or over the course of a week. Either way, you should not have sex for the next 7 days, even with protection, to give your treatment time to work and ensure you do not pass on the infection. You’ll also need to tell all of your recent sexual partners that you have tested positive for chlamydia. This can be a difficult thing to do but your local clinic can help you to do this anonymously if you’d prefer.
Chlamydia can be prevented by using a condom or dental dam during sexual encounters with new partners. It’s recommended that young people under 25 should be tested for it once a year, or every time they change partners. Regular check-ups will help to identify it early to prevent any long term effects.