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Chlamydia – Symptoms And Risk Factors

October 17th, 2016

Chlamydia – Symptoms And Risk Factors

Chlamydia – Symptoms And Risk Factors

Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that is caused by chlamydia trachomatis – a bacterial agent that is commonly transmitted via sexual contact with an infected person. Every year around 90million people across the globe are diagnosed with chlamydia infection; among which young adults and teenagers are the most common victims. As compared to males, females are more frequently infected with chlamydia trachomatis. It usually affects rectum, urethra and cervix, but it can also infect other parts of body such as, lining of throat and eyelid. Usually 90% women and half of the men remain asymptomatic due to which the infection doesn’t gets treated and easily passed on to the healthy sex partners.

What Are Some Risk Factors That May Increase The Risk Of Chlamydia Transmission?

This disease doesn’t spread through casual contact like shaking hands, simple kiss or sharing cups. The most common ways of spreading chlamydia are:

  • Having unprotected sex with an infected person
  • Oral sex (contacting vaginal, anal and penile secretion carrying chlamydia and other infectious agents)
  • Use of toilet paper can also aggravate the risk of transfer of bacteria from vagina to anus and rectum
  • Sex toys if shared without sterilization can also lead to transmission of infection
  • A new born can catch infection from mother during vaginal delivery
  • Infection can be transmitted to other parts of body via fingers

What Are Some Classic Signs And Symptoms Of Chlamydia?

Chlamydia trachomatis takes 7 to 21 days for incubation. As mentioned before, in most cases, infected person remains asymptomatic and even if someone is experiencing symptoms; it is quite likely to miss the diagnosis as most symptoms are either too non-specific or too mild to be noticed. In some cases, the chlamydia infection is misdiagnosed as gonorrhea because both infections present with similar clinical presentation. Symptoms of chlamydial infection are different in both men and women.

STD Tests For Elderly People imageSymptoms In Males

  • Swelling and/or pain in testicles
  • Pain during urination
  • white/cloudy or watery penile discharge
  • Swelling of skin around the anus and genital region

Symptoms In Females

  • Pain during intercourse
  • Bleeding after intercourse
  • An unusual vaginal discharge which can be smelly and/or yellowish-white
  • Heavy menstrual flow during monthly cycles
  • Intermenstrual bleeding (spotting other than periods)
  • Increase frequency of urination
  • Painful urination
  • Swelling around anal skin or inside of vagina
  • Lower abdominal pain, occasionally accompanied with low grade fever and nausea

If chlamydial transmission and colonization occur in the eyelid region, the person will experience symptoms like itching, pain and swelling of eyes. Fluid discharge similar to conjunctivitis can also be experienced. Symptoms of mouth and throat are usually rare but some people may have sore throat. Rectal infection will cause pain, discharge and bleeding.

How To Diagnose Chlamydia?

Infection can be diagnosed via swab testing or the conventional urine sample examination. Swab testing is better and yields reliable results as compared to the urine testing. A swab is placed on the infected area (rectum, urethra, penis, and cervix) and the infected fluid or secretion sample is collected and examined for the presence of pathogen under electronic microscope.

Chlamydia During Pregnancy

As discussed earlier, if mother is infected she can transmit the infection to her child during vaginal birth. Therefore, it is necessary to get treated during the pregnancy. Doctor will prescribe the safe antibiotic which won’t cause any harm to the mother and child.


1. Carter, N., Crofts, M., Garrett, F., Clarke, M., Nicholls, J., Wheeler, H., … & Horner, P. (2015). P09. 02 Reattendance rates in men presenting with symptoms of urethritis–can point of care testing for chlamydia and gonorrhoea improve outcomes?. Sexually Transmitted Infections, 91(Suppl 2), A148-A148.

2. Škerk, V., Schönwald, S., Strapač, Z., Beus, A., Francetić, I., Krhen, I., … & Vuković, J. (2013). Duration of clinical symptoms in female patients with acute urethral syndrome caused by Chlamydia trachomatis treated with azithromycin or doxycycline. Journal of chemotherapy.

3. Veličko, I., Ploner, A., Sparén, P., Marions, L., Herrmann, B., & Kühlmann-Berenzon, S. (2016). Sexual and testing behaviour associated with Chlamydia trachomatis infection: a cohort study in an STI clinic in Sweden. BMJ open, 6(8), e01131

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