What Are The Risks Of Chlamydia Infection
Untreated chlamydia can lead to many serious health conditions.
Women can develop pelvic inflammatory disease. This can lead to pelvic pain, complications with pregnancy, and fertility difficulties. Sometimes women become infertile from the effects of untreated chlamydia.
Men may develop inflammation of their testicles from untreated chlamydia and may also experience fertility issues.
Babies who acquire chlamydia during childbirth can develop pink eye and pneumonia. Its important for women to be treated for chlamydia during pregnancy to avoid spreading it to an infant.
Sexual behavior of any kind puts you at risk of contracting chlamydia. Some ways to reduce your chances of getting chlamydia include:
- refraining from sexual activity
How To Treat Chlamydia In Men And Women
If you have symptoms of a chlamydial infection or a sexual partner has told you that they tested positive for chlamydia, your healthcare provider will likely treat you even before your test results come back. This is called presumptive or empiric therapy. Doing it this way reduces the amount of time you may continue to spread the infection to others. First-line treatment for a chlamydia infection is one of two antibiotics: azithromycin or doxycycline . Both medications are generally well-tolerated and inexpensive.
When Was Azithromycin First Approved As An Antibiotic
Azithromycin is an antibiotic in the macrolides class. The Food and Drug Administration first approved azithromycin in 1991. Like all antibiotics, azithromycin can only fight certain bacteria. For this reason, it is important to talk to a doctor before taking the drug. It is not effective against viral infections or as a pain reliever.
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Frequently Asked Questionsexpand All
- What is a sexually transmitted infection ?
A sexually transmitted infection is an infection spread by sexual contact. There are many STIs. This FAQ focuses on chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. These STIs can cause long-term health problems and problems during pregnancy. Having an STI also increases the risk of getting human immunodeficiency virus if you are exposed to it.
- What is chlamydia?
Chlamydia is the most commonly reported STI in the United States. Chlamydia is caused by a type of bacteria, which can be passed from person to person during vaginal sex, oral sex, or anal sex. Infections can occur in the mouth, reproductive organs, urethra, and rectum. In women, the most common place for infection is the cervix .
- What are the risk factors for chlamydia?
The following factors increase the risk of getting chlamydia:
Having a new sex partner
Having more than one sex partner
Having a sex partner who has more than one sex partner
Having sex with someone who has an STI
Having an STI now or in the past
Not using condoms consistently when not in a mutually monogamous relationship
Exchanging sex for money or drugs
Chlamydia usually does not cause symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they may show up between a few days and several weeks after infection. They may be very mild and can be mistaken for a urinary tract or vaginal infection. The most common symptoms in women include
yellow discharge from the vagina or urethra
yellow vaginal discharge
Chlamydia Antibiotics: Azithromycin Vs Doxycline
A test was conducted on data between 1975 and 2001 to find and compare the efficacy and differences between Azithromycin and Doxycycline. The patients were randomly given dosages of either Azithromycin or Doxycycline in the prescribed quantities of one 1g dosage of Azithroymycin and two dosages of 100mg twice a day for a week with no patient getting both. The tests were conducted on 1543 patients for checking the microbial efficacy of the drugs and on 1717 patients for checking any adverse effects of the drug. Cure rates of about 98% were found out for both the Chlamydia Antibiotics proving the efficacy of both as equally compelling.
However, azithromycin is more convinent as it is just 1 dose antibiotic. Overall one dosage of Azithromycin has proved to be very impactful in comparison to the multiple dosages of Doxycycline.
Signs & Symptoms
Chlamydia is known to be a silent or asymptomatic disease and about 50% of infected men and 60% of infected women dont show any signs or symptoms initially.
Women are prone to be more asymptomatic than men. This means women generally show no symptoms and act as carriers of the diseases.
However women are at greater risk from long term complications and hence it is important to get treated.
Chlamydia in Women
Chlamydia in Men
Again 25-50% men show little or no symptoms. Symptoms when they show up include painful urination, discharge from the tip of the penis and testicular inflammation and pain.
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Management Of Sex Partners
Sex partners should be referred for evaluation, testing, and presumptive treatment if they had sexual contact with the partner during the 60 days preceding the patients onset of symptoms or chlamydia diagnosis. Although the exposure intervals defining identification of sex partners at risk are based on limited data, the most recent sex partner should be evaluated and treated, even if the time of the last sexual contact was > 60 days before symptom onset or diagnosis.
How To Cope With Side Effects
What to do about:
- headaches make sure you rest and drink plenty of fluids. Everyday painkillers, such as paracetamol and ibuprofen, are safe to take with doxycycline.
- feeling or being sick stick to simple meals and do not eat rich or spicy food. It might help to take your doxycycline after a meal or snack but avoid dairy products like milk, cheese and yoghurt. Dairy products can stop your body absorbing your medicine properly. If you are being sick, drink plenty of fluids, such as water or squash, to avoid dehydration. Signs of dehydration include peeing less than usual or having strong-smelling pee. Do not take any medicines to treat vomiting without speaking to a pharmacist or doctor.
- sensitivity to sunlight when you go outside, wear sunglasses and clothes that cover you up. Put sunscreen or sunblock on your skin â with a sun protection factor of at least 15 . Also use a sunscreen product for your lips. Do not use sunlamps or tanning beds. If you get sunburn, there are things you can do to treat your symptoms.
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How Is Chlamydia Treated
Chlamydia can be cleared up with antibiotics in about a week or two. But dont stop taking your medication just because your symptoms improve. Ask your provider about what follow-up is needed to be sure your infection is gone after youve finished taking your medicine.
Part of your treatment should also include avoiding sexual activities that could cause you to get re-infected and ensuring that any sexual partners who may be infected also get treatment. You should:
- Abstain from sex until your infection has cleared up. Starting treatment doesnt mean that youre in the clear. Take all your medication as your provider directs, and avoid all sexual contact in the meantime.
- Contact all sexual partners. Tell any sexual partners from the last 3 months that youre infected so that they can get tested, too.
- Get tested for other STIs . Its common to have multiple STIs, and its important to receive treatment thats tailored to each infection.
Antibiotics can get rid of your infection, but they cant reverse any harm the bacteria may have caused to your body before treatment. This is why its so important to get screened regularly for chlamydia, to see your provider at the first sign of symptoms, and get treatment immediately if youre infected.
Whats The Fastest Way To Get Rid Of Chlamydia
The main treatment for chlamydia is antibiotics. Azithromycin and doxycycline are the two prescription medications used to treat chlamydia, they will get rid of it the fastest.
Taking these antibiotics properly can completely cure chlamydia in about 1 week. Treatment might involve taking a single pill, or it might involve taking medicine for a whole week.
No matter what, make sure you take all the pills your doctor prescribes. Otherwise the infection might come back.
In men, chlamydial infection of the lower genital tract causes urethritis and, on occasion, epididymitis. Urethritis is secondary to C. trachomatis infection in approximately 15 to 55 percent of men, although the prevalence is lower among older men.2 Symptoms, if present, include a mild to moderate, clear to white urethral discharge. This is best observed in the morning, before the patient voids. To observe the discharge, the penis may need to be milked by applying pressure from the base of the penis to the glans.
The diagnosis of nongonococcal urethritis can be confirmed by the presence of a mucopurulent discharge from the penis, a Gram stain of the discharge with more than five white blood cells per oil-immersion field, and no intracellular gram-negative diplococci.2 A positive result on a leukocyte esterase test of first-void urine or a microscopic examination of first-void urine showing 10 or more white blood cells per high-powered field also confirms the diagnosis of urethritis.
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Put Sex On Hold During And After Chlamydia Treatment
If you were given a single dose of antibiotics to treat your chlamydia, you should not have any kind of sex for a full seven days after the day you took the medicine. If youre taking antibiotics for a week, wait another seven days after the last day of your treatment. Be sure to take all of the medicine that is prescribed for you.
Not having sex for seven days after treatment is important so you dont spread the infection to your partner or partners.
Medication stops the infection and can keep you from spreading the disease, but it wont cure any permanent damage that the infection caused before you started treatment. In women, such damage can include blocking the fallopian tubes, causing infertility.
If you still have symptoms for more than a few days after you stop taking your medicine, go back to see your doctor or other healthcare provider so they can check you again.
Will Any Antibiotic Get Rid Of Chlamydia
If you are diagnosed with chlamydia, your doctor will prescribe oral antibiotics. A single dose of azithromycin or taking doxycycline twice daily for 7 to 14 days are the most common treatments and are the same for those with or without HIV. With treatment, the infection should clear up in about a week.
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What Happens If You Dont Get Treated For Chlamydia
Even though chlamydia is common and doesnt usually cause any symptoms, it can become a big deal if its not caught and treated early.
Chlamydia can spread to your uterus and fallopian tubes if it goes untreated for a long time. This can cause you to have pelvic inflammatory disease . PID can cause permanent damage that leads to pain, infertility, or ectopic pregnancy. So getting tested regularly for chlamydia really lowers your chances of getting PID.
If you have a penis, a chlamydia infection can spread to your epididymis if its left untreated, and can cause chronic joint pain. Rarely, it can make you infertile.
Having chlamydia may increase your chances of getting or spreading HIV.
If you have chlamydia during your pregnancy and dont treat it, you can pass it to your baby when youre giving birth. Chlamydia can also cause eye infections and pneumonia in newborns, and it also increases the risk of delivering your baby too early.
Testing and treatment for chlamydia is quick, easy, and the best way to avoid all of these problems.
Urethritis Due To Gonorrhea Or Chlamydia
You have urethritis. This is an inflammation in the urethra. The urethra is the tube between the bladder and the tip of the penis. Urine drains out of the body through the urethra. There are 2 main types of this condition:
Gonococcal urethritis . This is an infection caused by gonorrhea.
Nongonococcal urethritis . This is an infection that is often caused by chlamydia. Other infections can also be the cause.
Men are more likely to have symptoms, but may not. Symptoms can start within 1 week after exposure to an infection. But they can take a month or more to appear. Or they may not even occur. Some symptoms are:
Burning or pain when urinating
Irritation in the penis
Pus discharge from the penis
Pain and possible swelling in one or both testicles
Infections in the urethra are often caused by a sexually transmitted infection . The most common STIs are gonorrhea, chlamydia, or both.
Gonococcal urethritis is an infection of the urethra. Its caused by gonorrhea. Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection . Gonorrhea can also be in other areas of the body. This can cause:
Rectal pain and discharge
Without treatment, the infection can get worse and spread to other parts of your body. The infection can cause rashes, arthritis, and infections in your joints, heart, and brain.
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How Easy Is It To Get Rid Of Chlamydia
It is relatively simple to get rid of chlamydia after receiving a diagnosis. The typical recovery time isnt much longer than two weeks for an average case. One of the largest hurdles for many patients comes with detecting chlamydia in the first place. This is why its important to regularly schedule STD screenings that include chlamydia and gonorrhea while sexually active with multiple partners.
How And When To Take It
Your dose of doxycycline depends on why you are taking it.
The usual dose is 100mg to 200mg once or twice a day. If youre taking doxycycline more than once a day, try to space your doses evenly throughout the day. If you take it twice a day, this could be first thing in the morning, and in the evening.
For preventing malaria, youll take 100mg once a day, usually in the morning. Start taking doxycycline 1 or 2 days before going to an area where there is malaria. Carry on for 4 weeks after leaving the area. Check with your doctor or pharmacist that doxycycline is the best medicine to prevent malaria in the country you are travelling to.
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Home Remedies For Chlamydia
There are several home remedies for chlamydia and a number of websites claim that these home remedies can cure chlamydia. While some of the home remedies have been shown to have antibacterial properties, antibiotics are the only proven cure for chlamydia. It isnt worth the risk of infertility or illness to not treat chlamydia.
If you experience symptoms, some of these home remedies may be effective for symptom relief, but they cannot cure the infection itself.
Chlamydial Infection Among Neonates
Prenatal screening and treatment of pregnant women is the best method for preventing chlamydial infection among neonates. C. trachomatis infection of neonates results from perinatal exposure to the mothers infected cervix. Initial C. trachomatis neonatal infection involves the mucous membranes of the eye, oropharynx, urogenital tract, and rectum, although infection might be asymptomatic in these locations. Instead, C. trachomatis infection among neonates is most frequently recognized by conjunctivitis that develops 512 days after birth. C. trachomatis also can cause a subacute, afebrile pneumonia with onset at ages 13 months. Although C. trachomatis has been the most frequent identifiable infectious cause of ophthalmia neonatorum, neonatal chlamydial infections, including ophthalmia and pneumonia, have occurred less frequently since institution of widespread prenatal screening and treatment of pregnant women. Neonates born to mothers at high risk for chlamydial infection, with untreated chlamydia, or with no or unconfirmed prenatal care, are at high risk for infection. However, presumptive treatment of the neonate is not indicated because the efficacy of such treatment is unknown. Infants should be monitored to ensure prompt and age-appropriate treatment if symptoms develop. Processes should be in place to ensure communication between physicians and others caring for the mother and the newborn to ensure thorough monitoring of the newborn after birth.
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Testing And Treating Sexual Partners
If you test positive for chlamydia, it’s important that your current sexual partner and any other recent sexual partners you’ve had are also tested and treated.
A specialist sexual health adviser can help you contact your recent sexual partners, or the clinic can contact them for you if you prefer.
Either you or someone from the clinic can speak to them, or the clinic can send them a note to let them know they may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection .
The note will suggest that they go for a check-up. It will not have your name on it, so your confidentiality will be protected.
Page last reviewed: 01 September 2021 Next review due: 01 September 2024
Long Term Complications Of Chlamydia In Females
In women, a chlamydia test may be positive from a swab / urine test even though you have no symptoms. In 70% of women who test positive, chlamydia symptoms are absent. If left untreated, the infection may persist and then affect the pelvic organs the uterus , the Fallopian Tubes and ovaries.
- Over time, if untreated, the pelvic tissues become scarred, and the tubes may become blocked. This is called Pelvic Inflammatory Disease .
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Treatments For Gonorrhea And Chlamydia
Since both STDs are caused by a bacterial infection, the treatment is a regimen of oral antibiotics.
Some strains of gonorrhea in the US have become antibiotic resistant, sometimes called super gonorrhea. Therefore, a medical physician will decide on the best course of antibiotics.
The most commonly recommended antibiotics for both chlamydia and gonorrhea are:
The infection should clear after one to two weeks.
You should never stop taking antibiotics until the recommended course is finished, even if you think the infection cleared or you are feeling better.
If you do not finish the antibiotics, the infection can come back and be resistant to the antibiotics you were taking.
Additionally, since antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria are already more common, if your symptoms continue after a few days of taking antibiotics, consult your doctor. They may switch you to a different strain of antibiotics.
Some people report home remedies for chlamydia and gonorrhea easing their symptoms, but the only effective treatment for both STDs are antibiotics.
Gonorrhea and chlamydia are curable by taking the appropriate medication as directed however, repeat infections are common.
You and your sexual partner should always be tested after three months of completing treatment, especially if you are unsure whether your partner received treatment.