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The ultimate guide to chlamydia

Chlamydia is a sexually transmissible infection (STI), that if left untreated, can lead to serious health problems down the track.

Though chlamydia is easily spread, having good knowledge about the prevention and transmission of this STI will help you maintain a confident and healthy sex life. To assist you, we’ve answered a range of popular chlamydia questions on this page, fully and factually.  It’s the Ultimate Guide to Chlamydia. An Encyclopedia of Chlamydia. An STI FYI.

Question 1: What are the symptoms of chlamydia in males and females?

Most people who have chlamydia don’t show symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they usually develop about 2 to 14 days after having unprotected anal, oral or vaginal sex with someone who has a chlamydia infection.

Symptoms and signs in people who have a vagina can include:

  • a change in vaginal discharge
  • crampy pain in the lower abdomen
  • menstrual changes including longer, heavier periods
  • pain when peeing
  • bleeding/spotting between periods or after sex
  • pain during or after sex.

Symptoms and signs in people who have penis/testicles can include:

  • a discharge from the penis
  • discomfort or irritation at the tip of the penis
  • pain when peeing
  • swollen and sore testes.

Chlamydia can be spread through oral sex, causing an infection in the throat. Chlamydia can also be spread through anal sex, causing an infection in the rectum. This can cause rectal pain and discharge from the anus or have no symptoms.

For more information on symptoms, watch the videos on the chlamydia page.

Question 2: Can you get chlamydia from sex toys?

It’s less likely, but chlamydia can be passed during other types of sex such as sharing sex toys. If you are using and sharing sex toys, play it safe and place condoms and water-based lube on them.

When you’re finished, clean them carefully with a bar of mild soap and water. You can also use a 70% isopropyl alcohol solution to clean toys. Do not use anti-bacterial or perfumed soaps as they can leave a residue which can irritate your genitals.

Question 3: Can you get chlamydia from kissing?

Chlamydia cannot be passed on through casual contact such as kissing and hugging, or from sharing baths, towels, pools, toilet seats or cutlery. STIs are only transmitted via infected fluids (semen, blood or genital secretions) or in the case of herpes, skin-to-skin contact through small cuts in the body and can’t live outside the human body for long periods without breaking down.

Question 4: Can chlamydia make you infertile?

Chlamydia is a curable bacterial infection but left untreated, it can sometimes cause serious complications. These include pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which can lead to infertility (difficulty getting pregnant), painful swelling of the testes and higher risk of ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that begins in the fallopian tubes, not the uterus).

Question 5: Can chlamydia be cured or treated naturally?

Most cases of chlamydia can easily be treated with a single dose of antibiotics. It’s important to take the treatment prescribed and follow up with your GP or healthcare professional to make sure the infection has been cleared.

Home remedies for chlamydia can’t cure the infection but might offer some relief from the symptoms as you complete the entire course of antibiotics.

Question 6: Can I have chlamydia for years without knowing?

The majority of people who have chlamydia don’t experience any symptoms at all. That means that you could have chlamydia for months, or even years, without knowing it.

Even if you do have symptoms, they may not show up for anywhere from 1 week to 3 or more months after the infection is first spread to you through unprotected sex. By getting tested regularly you can stay on top of your sexual health and ensure that you are not spreading an STI like chlamydia unknowingly.

Question 7: How do I tell my partner I have chlamydia?

If you have chlamydia, you will need to inform sexual partners from the last 6 months so they can get tested and treated. If they are not told, they could reinfect you or infect someone else. Most people will appreciate being told and it’s an important step in preventing further infection in the community.

Your GP and health centre can help you inform your partners and let them know they need to be tested. This process is called ‘partner notification’ and it can be done anonymously.

You can also anonymously notify sexual partners via the Let Them Know website if you don’t want to speak to them personally.

Question 8: How does chlamydia impact my pregnancy?

Chlamydia can cause a number of issues during pregnancy.

Women with untreated chlamydia might develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can lead to chronic pelvic pain, infertility and increased risk of ectopic pregnancies. Additionally, pregnant women who are infected with chlamydia have an increased risk of their waters breaking prematurely, causing the baby to be born early.

If a mother has chlamydia during pregnancy, her baby can also become infected at childbirth – causing lung or eye infections. Because of this, doctors recommend that pregnant women should be tested for chlamydia.

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