Chlamydia Infection

What is chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is caused by a bacteria most often spread through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. You have an increased risk of chlamydia if you have another STI, such as gonorrhea. Your risk is also higher if you have more than 1 sex partner.

What are the signs and symptoms of chlamydia?

You may have no symptoms. Even without signs and symptoms, you can still pass the infection on to your sex partner. The signs and symptoms of chlamydia are:

  • Vaginal redness or itching

  • Discharge from your vagina, penis, or rectum

  • Pain with urination

  • Pain during sex

  • Abdominal pain

  • Testicular pain

  • Fever

How is chlamydia diagnosed?

Your caregiver will examine you and ask if you have other health conditions. He may need to take a sample of fluid from your vagina or penis. This will be tested for the bacteria that causes chlamydia.

How is chlamydia treated?

Antibiotics are given to kill the bacteria that cause chlamydia. Take them as directed.

What are the risks of chlamydia?

If untreated, chlamydia may spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes. This can cause damage that may make it difficult for a woman to get pregnant. Untreated chlamydia increases the risk of becoming infected with HIV. Chlamydia may infect an unborn baby and cause a lung or eye infection. This could lead to blindness in your unborn baby. Chlamydia increases your risk of delivering your baby early. Chlamydia can cause infections of the prostate or testicles. Through touching, chlamydia can spread to the eyes and lead to blindness.

How can I care for myself while I have chlamydia?

  • Keep your genital area clean and dry. Take showers instead of baths, and use unscented soap.

  • Do not douche unless your caregiver tells you to. Do not use feminine hygiene sprays or powders.

  • Tell your caregiver if you are pregnant.

How can I prevent the spread of chlamydia?

  • Wash your hands: Wash your hands with soap and water after going to the bathroom. This helps prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of your body, such as your eyes.

  • Wear a condom: Use a latex condom to prevent chlamydia and other STDs. Use a new condom each time you have sex.

  • Tell your sex partners: Tell anyone you have had sex with in the last 3 months that you have chlamydia. They may also be infected and need treatment.

  • Do not have sex until you and your partner have taken all your antibiotics: Ask your caregiver when it is safe to have sex.

When should I contact my caregiver?

Contact your caregiver if:

  • Your signs or symptoms last longer than 1 week or get worse during treatment.

  • Your signs or symptoms return after treatment.

  • You have pain during sex.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care?

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have a fever or repeated vomiting.

  • You have severe abdominal pain.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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