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For Teens: Understanding Chlamydia

Man holding box of condoms.
Use latex condoms to help prevent the spread of STDs like chlamydia.
Chlamydia is an STD (sexually transmitted disease) that spreads when body fluids are passed during sex. Signs of chlamydia are sometimes hard to notice. So get checked if you think you might have it. Chlamydia can be cured. But if it’s not treated soon enough, it can cause sterility. This can prevent you from being able to have kids.

What to look for

Chlamydia symptoms may appear within a few days or weeks after you catch it. The symptoms can also change over time. Early on, common signs include:

  • Discharge from the penis or vagina

  • Pain or burning during urination

  • Pain and discharge from the rectum if chlamydia was caught during anal sex


Chlamydia can be treated and cured with medicine. A single dose is often all that’s needed. Your partner also needs to be treated. Otherwise they can pass the disease back to you. And don’t have sex until you’re told it’s OK.

If you don’t get treated

Chlamydia can spread and cause damage that keeps you from being able to have kids. Here are some warning signs of that damage:

  • Men can have continued discharge, pain and swelling in the testicles, and fever.

  • Women can get an infection that leads to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

What is PID?

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection in women. It can cause mild or severe symptoms. These include pain in the lower belly, fever, vaginal discharge, and pain during sex. Over time, PID can damage the reproductive organs and cause sterility.

© 2000-2018 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.