Chlamydia is caused by the bacterium chlamydia trachomatis. This bacteria can infect the cervix in women and the urethra and rectum in both men and women.
Occasionally chlamydia can also affect other parts of the body, including the throat and eyes.
Chlamydia often has no symptoms, especially among women. If left untreated, chlamydia can cause serious problems later in life.
SYMPTOMS AND SIGNS
Chlamydia symptoms usually appear between 1 and 3 weeks after exposure but may not emerge until much later. Chlamydia is known as the ‘silent’ disease as in many people it produces no symptoms. It is estimated that 70-75% of women infected with chlamydia are asymptomatic(have no symptoms) and a significant proportion of men also have no symptoms.
An increase in vaginal discharge caused by an inflamed cervix
The need to urinate more frequently, or pain whilst passing urine
Pain during sexual intercourse or bleeding after sex
Lower abdominal pains
Irregular menstrual bleeding.
A white/cloudy and watery discharge from the penis that may stain underwear
A burning sensation and/or pain when passing urine
pain and swelling in the testicles.
In both men and women a chlamydia infection in the rectum will rarely cause symptoms.
By having unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who is infected
From a mother to her unborn baby.
By transferring the infection on fingers from the genitals to the eyes, although it is rare for this to happen.
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