What is it?
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a bacterium (a microscopic organism) that lives as a parasite inside human cells. Approximately 75% of women and 50% of men will have no symptoms of the infection.
When left untreated, it can permanently damage the sexual organs leading to infertility in women and reduced fertility in men. In women, it can infect the cervix and urinary tract and can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) when it reaches the fallopian tubes.
In men, it can infect the urinary tract causing swelling or inflammation of the testicles. If left untreated, chlamydia can be very harmful so it is important to get tested regularly.
How can I get it?
It is normally passed on though sexual activity with someone who has it. The bacteria can thrive in various regions of the body including the penis, vagina, anus, and throat so unprotected contact with any of these areas may lead to infection.
How do I know if I have it?
As most people do not have any early symptoms, it is often difficult to tell whether you are infected. For those people who do get symptoms, these may include:
- Burning or painful sensation when urinating for men and women.
- For women, discharge or a "mucus" coming out of the vagina, back pain, unusual pain during sex and bleeding between periods.
- For men, a discharge or "mucus" coming out of the penis, inflamed or swollen testicles and/or discomfort around the tip of the penis.
Testing at Better2Know is easy, fast and painless. Our usual test is with a urine sample, but we can also test you with a swab from your throat, anus or vagina if you choose (we even test for gonorrhoea at the same time). The results are available 4 days from when the sample is received in the laboratory.
The infection is curable and can be easily treated with a course of antibiotics, for which you can receive a prescription at many of our Better2Know clinics.
Chlamydia is one of the most important preventable causes of infertility. Left untreated it can lead to infertility in women and reduced fertility in men.
In pregnant women, it can lead to increased risk of miscarriage, preterm delivery and potentially fatal tubal (ectopic) pregnancy. If the baby is exposed during delivery, he or she could suffer from eye infections or pneumonia.