Chlamydia is an infection caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. It is most often spread through sexual contact.
Both males and females may have chlamydia without having any symptoms. As a result, you may become infected or pass the infection to your partner without knowing it.
You are more likely to become infected with chlamydia if you:
In men, chlamydia may cause symptoms similar to gonorrhea. Symptoms may include:
Symptoms that may occur in women include:
If you have symptoms of a chlamydia infection, your health care provider will collect a culture or perform a test called a PCR:
Even women with no symptoms may need a chlamydia test if they:
Most of these tests may also be done on urine samples.
Your health care provider may also check you for syphilis, HIV, hepatitis, trichomoniasis, and herpes.
The usual treatment for chlamydia is antibiotics.
Sexual partners must be treated so they do not pass the infection back and forth. A person may become infected with chlamydia many times.
A follow-up evaluation may be done in 4 weeks to see if the infection has been cured.
Antibiotic treatment almost always works if you and your partner take the medicines as directed.
If chlamydia spreads into your uterus, it can cause scarring and make it harder for you to get pregnant. You can help prevent this by:
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of chlamydia.
Because many people with chlamydia may not have symptoms, sexually active adults should be screened periodically for the infection.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommendations for laboratory-based detection of Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. MMWR. 2014;63(No. RR-2):1-24.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines. MMWR. 2010;59(RR-12):1-110.
Geisler WM. Diseases caused by chlamydiae. In: Goldman L, Shafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 326.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for chlamydial infection: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med. 2007;147:128-134.
Updated by: Cynthia D. White, MD, Fellow American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Group Health Cooperative, Bellevue, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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