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Chlamydia is currently one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. Symptoms of Chlamydia may include pain when passing urine, abnormal discharge or spotting. It is also possible to be completely asymptomatic.

Chlamydia symptoms are similar to those of other STIs such as Gonorrhoea and Mycoplasma Genitalium. Therefore, it is important to get tested to receive the correct diagnosis and treatment.

Testing is easily done by obtaining a urine sample for men, and a vaginal swab for women. Chlamydia is curable with a course of antibiotics, but if left untreated may lead to serious complications.

It is important to get tested regularly, especially if you are showing symptoms or if you are concerned about your sexual health.


What are the symptoms of Chlamydia?

Chlamydia symptoms in men

  • Pain when passing urine.
  • Discomfort and irritation in the urethra.
  • Unusual discharge from the tip of the penis or back passage.
  • Pain and/or swelling in the testicles.
  • ‘Wetness’ at the penile tip.
  • Less commonly, red spots on the glans (head) of penis.
  • Mucoid, slimy, or blood-stained discharge from the back passage, as well as anorectal discomfort (for those who have anal sex).

Chlamydia symptoms in women

  • A change in discharge that is abnormal for you.
  • Bleeding after sex.
  • Bleeding between periods, or spotting.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Painful sex.
  • Mucoid, slimy, or blood-stained discharge from the back passage, as well as anorectal discomfort (for those who have anal sex).

In some cases, women with bacterial vaginosis may have an underlying sexually transmitted infection like Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, or Trichomoniasis. The most effective approach is to treat the underlying infection to prevent the recurrence of bacterial vaginosis. By addressing the underlying STI, the chances of successfully managing bacterial vaginosis are improved.

When do the symptoms of Chlamydia start to appear?

Symptoms usually begin to appear within 1 to 3 weeks post exposure. You are able to test earlier than 14 days if you are experiencing symptoms. However, it is very common to not experience any symptoms at all.

Can you have Chlamydia without any symptoms?

Many individuals infected with Chlamydia may not experience any symptoms and may remain asymptomatic.

Only about 10% of males and 5-30% of females develop symptoms.

In some cases, symptoms may be so mild that they go unnoticed.

Can the symptoms of Chlamydia be present in the throat or rectum?

Although Chlamydia is primarily a genital infection, it can infect other mucous membranes in the body including the back of throat (pharyngitis). Most patients with a throat infection due to chlamydia will have no symptoms, but those who do may complain of discomfort and pain in the throat.

Chlamydia infection in the rectum can be seen in those who have receptive anal sex. Most patients with anal or rectal chlamydia may experience symptoms such as irritation or itching in the rectum, while others may remain asymptomatic. Those with a more pronounced infection may exhibit mucoid, slimy, or blood-stained discharge from the anal passage.

Can the symptoms of Chlamydia be mistaken for another STI?

The symptoms of Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, and Mycoplasma genitalium are very similar. It is possible to have more than one STI at a time.

It is important that different infections are diagnosed correctly and treated appropriately for the complete resolution of your symptoms.


What causes Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is caused by the bacterium known as Chlamydia trachomatis, and is transmitted through vaginal discharge and semen.

What factors can increase the likelihood of getting Chlamydia?

You are more likely to get Chlamydia if:

  • You engage in unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sex with someone who is infected.
  • You have multiple sexual partners.
  • You share sex toys which have not been cleaned properly, or do not have a condom on them.
  • You are in very close contact with your partner’s genitals and their vaginal or seminal fluids (semen).

You cannot get Chlamydia through kissing, hugging, sharing towels, cutlery, or from a toilet seat.

Can I get Chlamydia even if I wear a condom?

Chlamydia is primarily transmitted through infected vaginal and semen fluids. By engaging in protected oral, vaginal, and anal sex, you can greatly reduce your risk of contracting Chlamydia. Using condoms during sexual activities helps minimise the chances of transmission.

However, some creams and vaginal pessaries, such as thrush treatment, can make condoms less effective.

Can you tell who gave me Chlamydia?

It is not possible to tell who gave you Chlamydia.

How can I prevent getting Chlamydia?

You can prevent the transmission of Chlamydia by:

  • Wearing a condom during oral, vaginal and anal sex .
  • Not sharing sex toys that are unclean and do not have a condom on them.
  • Get regularly tested if you have multiple partners, or get tested with your new partner before engaging in sexual intercourse.
  • If your partner has tested positive for Chlamydia, avoid sexual intercourse until 7 days after treatment.


Think you might have Chlamydia?

Tested positive for Chlamydia?


What is the long term prognosis for someone who has Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is easily treated and most individuals clear the infection without any lasting complications.

However, if left untreated in women, Chlamydia infections can spread to the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. This causes a condition known as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

If PID is left untreated, it can lead to further complications such as infertility, chronic pelvic pain, and an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy. PID can be easily treated with a course of antibiotics.

In men, Chlamydia can spread to the testicles causing inflammation. This is known as epididymitis and is rare. The inflammation can be treated with a course of antibiotics.

Chlamydia can also cause sexually active reactive arthritis (SARA). SARA causes your joints, eyes and urethra to become inflamed, and can occur in both men and women, but more commonly in men. SARA usually resolves within a few months.

Will having Chlamydia affect pregnancy and childbirth?

If you are pregnant and have an untreated Chlamydia infection, it is possible to pass the infection onto your baby. Your baby can develop conjunctivitis, or pneumonia.

You may also experience complications such as having a premature birth or your baby being born with a low birth weight.

Once treated, am I immune from getting Chlamydia again?


Chlamydia is easily transmitted and this is why it is important to get tested regularly if you are experiencing symptoms, have multiple partners, or change your sexual partners frequently

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Reviewed by: Mrs. Magda Novacka
Written By: Jackie Winge

Last reviewed date: 15 November 2023
Next review due: 15 November 2026

Whilst this content is written and reviewed by sexual health specialists, it is for general guidance only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your clinician.