Chlamydia is the most common curable STI in the UK with thousands of new cases diagnosed every year, with chlamydia symptoms not always being noticeable. That is why testing for chlamydia is very important.
The majority of people infected with chlamydia don't experience any symptoms.
Common chlamydia symptoms include pain on passing urine, discharge from your penis and change to your vaginal discharge. If you aren’t showing any chlamydia symptoms but have had unprotected sex, consider taking a chlamydia test to make sure you’re in the all-clear.
Chlamydia symptoms men
Key symptoms of chlamydia in males include:
- Pain when peeing
- White, cloudy or watery discharge from the end of the penis
- Burning or itching sensation in the tube that carries urine out the body (urethra)
- Testicle discomfort
Chlamydia symptoms women
Symptoms of chlamydia in women to look out for are:
- Pain when peeing
- Vaginal discharge which is unusual
- Tummy or pelvic pain
- Pain during sex
- Bleeding after sex
- Bleeding between periods
Chlamydia symptoms in men and women
Men and women can be infected with chlamydia in their throat or bottom (rectum) if they've had unprotected oral or anal sex. This can be tested for and treated successfully. Individuals with either rectal or throat infections can have no symptoms.
Rectal symptoms include discomfort and discharge.
Chlamydia in the throat usually has no symptoms
Impact of untreated chlamydia
Ignoring chlamydia symptoms poses serious risks to your health. Chlamydia is one of the main causes of infertility around the world and can damage the reproductive systems of both men and women. Since chlamydia symptoms don’t appear in a high number of cases, many people may be at risk without even realising it.
In women, the bacteria can spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes, and lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can spread as far as the liver's protective cover. This disease can result in miscarriages, stillbirths and infertility, as well as life-threatening ectopic pregnancies (pregnancies outside the womb). PID is also extremely uncomfortable and and sometimes results in long term chronic pelvic pain.
In men, chlamydia can spread to the testicles and cause them to swell painfully 'epididymitis'. Research has also suggested that untreated chlamydia can increase men’s chances of contracting HIV and passing it on.
A rare form of treatable arthritis called “sexually acquired reactive arthritis” triggered by a sexually transmitted bacteria can be developed by both men and women.
Chlamydia or gonorrhoea?
Chlamydia shares similar symptoms with gonorrhoea, which can make it difficult to distinguish between the two.
Pain when passing urine and discharge from the penis or vagina are symptoms experienced by both men and women for both of these STIs. In addition, painful testicular swelling in men can happen in Chlamydia and gonorrhoea infections.
It is difficult to differentiate these two STIs based on symptoms alone, so you will need to take an STI test to confirm your condition before it can be treated. You can order a postal gonorrhoea and chlamydia test kit from our online sexual health clinic.
Since chlamydia often does not show any symptoms, it is especially important to test for it. If you have had any type of sex without a condom, have a new sexual partner, have more than one sexual partner or think you have been exposed to chlamydia you should get tested. Ideally you should test 2 weeks after the last unprotected sex for an accurate result.
Thankfully, chlamydia tests are very simple to take:
Testing for men: A chlamydia test for men requires a urine sample. You can order a urine test here. If you are a man who has sex with men, we recommend testing for chlamydia in a urine sample and swabs from your throat and rectum.
Testing for women: A chlamydia test for women requires a vaginal swab. You can order a swab test here.
You will receive free chlamydia treatment should you test positive, provided you are medically suitable.
You can also order chlamydia treatment through our site if you have tested positive for chlamydia using another testing service, or if you have had sex with someone who has been diagnosed with chlamydia.
Chlamydia treatment is usually very straightforward. Our confidential service allows you to purchase treatment safely and discreetly without needing to see a doctor face-to-face.
Chlamydia treatment for uncomplicated infection usually consists of taking an antibiotic tablet for seven days. Our clinicians will assess the most suitable treatment for you. If taken correctly, treatment is highly effective.
It is important to inform current or previous sexual partners, as they need to be tested and treated for chlamydia.