What is scary is that most people who have a chlamydial infection have no symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they may not appear until several weeks after you have sex with an infected partner. Even when chlamydia causes no symptoms, it can damage a woman’s reproductive system, cause ectopic pregnancy, infertility, and chronic pelvic pain.
Women with symptoms may notice:
- abnormal vaginal discharge
- Itching or burning sensation with urination
- Postcoital bleeding (spotting after sexual intercourse)
Symptoms in men may include:
- discharge from their penis
- burning sensation when urinating
- Pain and swelling in one or both testicles (although this is less common)
Men and women can also get infected with chlamydia in their throats and rectums. This happens either by having receptive anal sex, or by spread from another infected site (such as the vagina or penis to the rectum and/or urinary tract). While these infections often cause no symptoms, they can cause:
- rectal pain, discharge, bleeding
- sore throat
How will my doctor know if I have a chlamydial infection?
Laboratory tests can diagnose chlamydia. Your health care provider may ask you to provide a urine sample or may use (or ask you to use) a cotton swab to get a sample from your vagina to test for chlamydia. Self test kits are available for you to collect samples at home and mail back to a lab.