Genital Tract Chlamydia Infection
Written by Ada’s Medical Knowledge Team
What is genital tract chlamydia infection?
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection. It is a common condition, and most commonly affects men and women between the ages of 18 and 25. It is passed by having sexual intercourse without a condom. Many people with chlamydia have no symptoms, which allows it to be easily passed on. Some people develop symptoms as the infection gets worse, and these include lower abdominal pain, pain when urinating, and a vaginal discharge in women or discharge from the penis in men. The diagnosis can be made with a urine test or a swab of the genitals. It is treated with antibiotic tablets. Most people recover well after treatment, but untreated chlamydia can cause damage to the reproductive organs and infertility.
This condition is a sexual transmitted infection (STI) caused by a bacteria called chlamydia. Chlamydia infection is spread by having sex without using a condom or by touching the genitals of an infected person. People younger than 25, those who have had multiple sexual partners during the last year or that have unprotected sex are at higher risk of contracting chlamydia.
This condition often causes no symptoms within the first three weeks after infection. Typical symptoms may include a discharge from the vagina or penis, pain during sexual intercourse, pain when urinating, lower abdominal pain and a fever.
The diagnosis is made by a doctor based on the symptoms, the physical examination and a sample of urine or a swab from inside the vagina or the tip of the penis. The urine test and swab can show the presence of the chlamydia bacteria. Many people do not have symptoms, and so are diagnosed during routine screening (testing without symptoms) or because they think they may be at risk of having an STI.
Treatment is by taking antibiotic tablets. It is important to tell all sexual partners about the diagnosis, so that they can also get tested and treated. People who are being treated for chlamydia should not have sex until the antibiotics are finished.
Complications may arise from chlamydia. In men, examples of possible complications include inflammation of the testicles and reactive arthritis. In women, examples include pelvic inflammatory disease and pregnancy complications.
Practicing safe sex is the main way to prevent catching a chlamydia infection. Making sure that sexual partners get tested and treated also helps to prevent spreading the infection.