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Home :: Chlamydial Infections

Chlamydial Infections

Urethritis in men and urethritis and cervicitis in women compose a group of infections that are linked to one organism: Chlamydia trachomatis. These chlamydial infections are the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the United States, affecting an estimated 4 million Americans each year.

Trachoma inclusion conjunctivitis, a chlamydial infection that occurs rarely in the United States, is a leading cause of blindness in Third World countries. Lymphogranuloma venereum, a rare disease in the United States, is also caused by C. trachomatis.

Untreated, chlamydial infections can lead to such complications as acute epididymitis, salpingitis, pelvic inflammatory disease and, eventually, sterility. Some studies show that chlamydial infections in pregnant women are associated with spontaneous abortion and premature delivery. Other studies haven't confirmed these findings.


Transmission of C. trachomatis primarily follows vaginal or rectal intercourse or oral-genital contact with an infected person. Because signs and symptoms of chlamydial infections commonly appear late in the course of the disease, sexual transmission of the organism typically occurs unknowingly.

Children born of mothers who have chlamydial infections may contract associated conjunctivitis, otitis media, and pneumonia during passage through the birth canal.

Signs and symptoms

Vaginal discharge, abnormal bleeding, discomfort in the lower abdomen, and sometimes painful urination are some of the symptoms of Chlamydia. Men infected with the bacteria may complain of a burning sensation upon urination, a mucous discharge from the penis, and increased frequency of urination. However, Chlamydia may also be present with no noticeable symptoms at all. As many as 80% of women may be symptom free.


Chlamydia is easily confused with gonorrhea because the symptoms of both diseases are similar and the diseases can occur together, though rarely.

The most reliable ways to find out whether the infection is chlamydia are through laboratory tests.

  • The usual test is for a health care provider to collect a sample of fluid from the vagina or penis and send it to a laboratory that will look for the bacteria.
  • The other test looks for bacteria in a urine sample and does not require a pelvic exam or swabbing of the penis, and results are available within 24 hours.


Antibiotics are used to treat and cure chlamydia. A single dose of azithromycin or a week of doxycycline are the most commonly used treatments. All sex partners should also be treated to avoid reinfection. You should not have sex until you and your sex partner(s) have finished treatment. There are safe antibiotics to cure chlamydia during pregnancy.

  • The only certain way for sexually active people to prevent genital chlamydial infection is by abstaining from sexual contact. Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can reduce the risk of transmission of chlamydia.
  • Have a sexual relationship with one partner who has been tested for chlamydia and is not infected is another way to reduce your chances of getting infected. Be faithful to each other, meaning that you only have sex with each other and no one else.
  • To reduce the risk of transmission, good personal hygiene should be maintained - frequent hand washing with soap and the proper disposal of used tissues is essential.

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Disclaimer: website is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent any disease. Always take the advice of professional health care for specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment. We will not be liable for any complications, or other medical accidents arising from the use of any information on this web site. Please note that medical information is constantly changing. Therefore some information may be out of date.