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Chlamydia - Symptoms of chlamydia

NHS Choices Medical Reference

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Most people who have chlamydia don't notice any symptoms.

If you do get signs and symptoms, these usually appear between one and three weeks after having unprotected sex with an infected person. For some people the symptoms occur many months later, or not until the infection has spread. 

Symptoms in women

Around 70-80% of women with chlamydia don't notice any symptoms. If women do get symptoms, the most common include: 

  • pain when urinating (peeing)
  • a change in vaginal discharge
  • pain in the lower abdomen
  • pain and/or bleeding during sex
  • bleeding after sex
  • bleeding between periods
  • heavier periods than usual

If chlamydia is left untreated in women, it can spread to the womb and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is a major cause of infertilitymiscarriage and ectopic pregnancy (when a fertilised egg implants itself outside the womb, usually in one of the fallopian tubes).

Symptoms in men

Around half of all men with chlamydia don't notice any symptoms. If men do get symptoms, the most common include: 

  • pain when urinating (peeing)
  • discharge from the tip of the penis (this can be a white, cloudy or watery discharge)
  • pain in the testicles

Some men have mild symptoms that disappear after two or three days. Even if the symptoms disappear you will still have the infection and be able to pass it on. If chlamydia is left untreated in men they are at risk of complications such as orchitis (swollen testicles), reactive arthritis (inflammation of the joints) and infertility.

Chlamydia in the rectum, throat or eyes

Chlamydia can infect the rectum, eyes or throat if you have unprotected anal or oral sex. If infected semen or vaginal fluid comes into contact with the eyes you can also develop conjunctivitis.

Infection in the rectum can cause discomfort, pain, bleeding or discharge. In the eyes chlamydia can cause irritation, pain, swelling and discharge the same as conjunctivitis. Infection in the throat is less common and usually causes no symptoms.

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Medical Review: November 17, 2011
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