Chlamydia is a relatively common sexually transmitted infection caused by bacteria that usually occurs due to unprotected sexual activity, including oral sex, penetrative sex and genital touching. This makes it quite easy to transmit from person to person regardless of sexual orientation.
The Symptoms of Chlamydia Infection
As with other unprotected sexual activities, if you are experiencing unusual symptoms days or even weeks afterwards, it is always best to have yourself checked out by a doctor. If you have been infected, the symptoms often don’t appear for around one to three weeks. The main problem is that some people don’t notice any symptoms, and so they are more likely to spread it to other sexual partners. This is a good reason why regular testing for sexually transmitted infections is wise for those with multiple partners.
Once symptoms do appear, the usually include the following:
- Pain and discomfort in the lower part of the abdomen,
- Testicular pain and a yellow or green penile discharge if you are male,
- Painful sexual intercourse and a green or yellow discharge from the vagina if you are female,
- A burning sensation during urination similar to a urinary tract infection.
Though chlamydia typically infects the genital areas in both men and women, it is entirely possible to contract it via anal intercourse so that symptoms appear around the anus, and via oral sex so that symptoms appear in the throat.
If chlamydia is left untreated it can cause more severe complications. In women particularly, a condition called Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) can occur if the chlamydia bacteria travel up the fallopian tubes. If this condition is not treated quickly it can cause infertility, because the fallopian tubes become scarred by the disease.
Complications in men are not as severe, but still need to be treated, not least of all because it can be passed on easily to sexual partners. If chlamydia is left untreated in men, it can inflame the delicate structures behind the testicles called the Epididymis. Once this area is inflamed it causes pain and the bacterial infection can also spread to the prostate gland and cause fever and pain in the back.
Treating Chlamydia Infection
Once diagnosed, the treatment for chlamydia is fortunately quite simple. Because it is a bacterial infection, it can be treated with antibiotics, including Doxycycline and Azithromycin, which are commonly available.
As with any illness, prevention is the best course of action, and it is always important to wear a condom during sexual activity with a partner whose status that you don’t know. As with so many diseases, and particularly sexual diseases, symptoms are not always clearly identifiable, and it is always better to err on the side of caution rather than to contract a sexually transmitted disease.
If you are having unprotected sex, or suspect that you might have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease, it is always best to make an appointment and see a doctor. There is no shame in being honest with them and being tested for any infections. It is the responsible course of action and is more likely to lead to more responsible sexual behaviours.