Chlamydia is a very common sexually transmitted disease (STD). Most people do not have symptoms. Because of this, chlamydia may not be noticed until it causes severe problems. Left untreated, this infection can cause women and men to become sterile. This means they will not be able to have children.
Many people with chlamydia have no symptoms. Women are more likely than men not to have symptoms.
If symptoms show up in women, they include:
If symptoms show up in men, they include:
These symptoms usually disappear after a few weeks, whether or not you are treated. However, if you are not treated, the chlamydia will still be present and can cause long-term problems.
If the infection is not treated, it can lead to more serious health problems. In women, this can be pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can make a woman sterile. It can also cause an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy. This type of pregnancy cannot be carried to term. Symptoms of PID include fever, pain during sex, and pain in the belly.
Sexually active women should get checked for chlamydia regularly. This can help prevent PID.
When found early, chlamydia can be treated. It can be cured with antibiotic medicines. If you have it, tell your partner right away. Because women often don’t have symptoms, men should ask their partners to get tested.
Know your partner’s history. Protect yourself by using a latex condom whenever you have sex. If you are pregnant, take extra care to get proper treatment. Untreated chlamydia in a pregnant woman can pass the infection on to the baby, causing possible eye, ear, or lung problems. There is also the possibility of a premature delivery.
American Social Health Association STD Hotline 800-227-8922 www.ashastd.org
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 800-232-4636 www.cdc.gov/std