Bacterial infections

Chlamydia

What is it?

Chlamydia is the most common form of bacterial STI that can easily be passed on during vaginal, anal or oral sex. Depending on where a person becomes infected with chlamydia, it can be found in the vagina, rectum, urethra or throat.

Even though chlamydia may be present, many people do not have any symptoms at all, although some people may experience an unusual discharge from the vagina or penis, pain when urinating or having sex or bleeding after sex.

Health effects

If not detected and treated, chlamydia can have long-term effects on our health.

In women, the infection can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) and could also spread throughout the reproductive organs and cause permanent blockage of the fallopian tubes – meaning that it could be difficult or impossible to conceive (have a baby) without IVF treatment.

In men, the infection could spread up the urethra and into the testicles – causing pain and swelling of the testicles or block the vas deferens (the tube which sperm leave the body from).

Treatment

Treatment for chlamydia consists of a course of antibiotic tablets. This is a very effective treatment for most people, but they should refrain from having sex until they (and their partner – if they have one) have completed treatment.