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Chlamydia

Chlamydia is a very common sexually transmitted disease (STD). Most people do not have symptoms. Because of this, chlamydia may not be noticed until it causes severe problems. Left untreated, this infection can cause women and men to become sterile. This means they will not be able to have children.

Close-up image of packaged condoms.

Symptoms

Many people with chlamydia have no symptoms. Women are more likely than men not to have symptoms.

If symptoms show up in women, they include:

  • Yellow discharge (fluid) from the vagina or anus

  • Bleeding between periods

  • Pain or burning during urination

If symptoms show up in men, they include:

  • Clear discharge (drip) from the penis or anus

  • Pain or burning during urination

Potential Problems

If the infection is not treated, it can lead to more serious health problems. In women, this can be pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can make a woman sterile. It can also cause an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy. This type of pregnancy cannot be carried to term. Symptoms of PID include fever, pain during sex, and pain in the abdomen.

Women should get checked for chlamydia regularly. This can help prevent PID.

Treatment

When found early, chlamydia can be treated. It can be cured with antibiotic medications. If you have it, tell your partner right away. Because women often don’t have symptoms, men should ask their partners to get tested.

Prevention

Know your partner’s history. Protect yourself by using a latex condom whenever you have sex. If you are pregnant, take extra care. Untreated chlamydia in a pregnant woman can cause eye, ear, or lung problems in the baby.

Resources

American Social Health Association STD Hotline  800-227-8922  www.ashastd.org

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  800-232-4636  www.cdc.gov/std

 

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