Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a bacterium that settles in the mucous membranes, usually in the urethra, vagina or rectum. Many people do not experience any symptoms at all. Therefore, it is important that you test yourself regularly if you have unprotected sex – partly to stop the spread of infection and partly to avoid complications that chlamydia can cause – e.g. fertility problems in later life. Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics.
Chlamydia is an infection caused by a bacterium. The bacterium attaches and proliferates in the mucosa of the ureter of both women and men as well as in the cervix of women. It is easily spread when mucous membranes, mucus secretions or semen comes into contact with other mucous membranes.
Mucous membranes are found in the vagina, on the inner labia, around external urethral orifice, on the eyelid and foreskin, in the rectum, mouth, eyes and throat. The infection usually occurs in the genitals or rectum, but in rare cases can also infect the throat and eyes.
It is most common for the infection to be transmitted by unprotected intercourse, vaginal or anal. The chlamydia bacterium does not survive outside the body, so you cannot be infected by handshakes, toilet visits, bedding or towels.
Complications from chlamydia do not usually appear until 1-3 weeks after infection. The most common symptoms are vaginal discharge and a burning sensation during urination. But over half of all people infected with chlamydia do not get any symptoms at all.
- burning sensation during urination
- discharge from the vagina, penis or rectum
- frequent need to urinate
Women can also get lower abdominal pain, blood-mixed discharge or bleeding during intercourse. Men can experience pain and swelling in the scrotum.
Symptoms of chlamydia can sometimes be mistaken for other STDs. Gonorrhea and mycoplasma are transmitted in the same way as chlamydia and can be characterized by the same symptoms, but the diseases are distinct.
You can also have genital disorders that are not sexually transmitted. For example, urinary tract infection and vaginal candidiasis can also cause burning.
Prevention and protection
To avoid getting chlamydia, you must protect yourself during sex – use a condom. This prevents mucous membranes coming into contact with other mucous membranes, semen or vaginal secretions. Sex toys can also spread the infection.
If you have a permanent partner and neither of you have had sex with other partners, you cannot be infected with chlamydia – provided you have first tested yourself and know that you are not infected.
If you suspect you have chlamydia or are worried about a possible infection, you should do a chlamydia test.
Do a test if:
- you have symptoms that indicate chlamydia
- you have had unprotected sex with a new or temporary partner
- your sex partner has a chlamydia infection
- The condom you used has burst
Following a positive chlamydia test, you will be treated with antibiotics. During the treatment process, usually seven days, you should abstain from sex to avoid the spread of infection.
Sometimes there is a reason to do a control test following treatment – if you are pregnant, have not taken your medicine properly or still experience chlamydia-like symptoms.
Chlamydia that is not treated can cause the bacteria to spread in the body and create serious complications.
In women, an untreated infection can cause damage to the fallopian tubes, making it difficult to get pregnant. If you are pregnant, chlamydia can be spread to the baby during a vaginal delivery. Men can get an infection in the epididymis, which can also affect their ability to have children.
When to consult a doctor
If you or your partner had unprotected sex and there is a risk that you might have contracted chlamydia, you should take a test.
Contact a doctor if you suspect chlamydia and also have abdominal pain, fever, vaginal pain or blood in urine. This also applies to women with irregular periods or bleeding during intercourse.
How APPOTEK can help
APPOTEK can help with Chlamydia. A nurse or doctor will make an individual assessment based on your symptoms in the online consultation. You may then be sent a “Chlamydia home test” and following a positive result, be prescribed antibiotics or referred for further examination.