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Chlamydia: All You Need To Know

Medically reviewed by January Velasco, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Sky Abundo · Updated Mar 11, 2021

Chlamydia: All You Need To Know

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD), caused by a bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis. It is the most common bacterial STD in the world. 

It is important to treat the disease immediately, as complications may arise if the infection is left untreated.

This is especially important because most infected are asymptomatic, or do not show any symptoms. Many can be carriers and unknowingly transmit the infection.

One of the most commonly associated symptoms with chlamydia is a pus-like discharge from the reproductive organ.

Causes of Chlamydia

Chlamydia is a contagious disease. It is transmitted through unprotected sexual activity with a person carrying the infection. The infection can spread through the penis, vagina, anus, or mouth.

Transmission occurs when mucous membranes come into contact with infected secretions, such as semen, vaginal or anal fluids. These mucous membranes include the mouth, vagina, penis, and anus.

Most transmissions occur through sexual intercourse, but there are key exceptions. Pregnant women who are infected with chlamydia may pass this on to their babies during childbirth. What’s more, chlamydia can increase the risk of pre-term birth, stillbirth, or miscarriage.

Another exception is conjunctivitis (eye infection), which occurs when the eye comes into contact with infected body fluids.

Symptoms of Chlamydia

Symptoms for men and women may vary due to differences in their reproductive systems.

Chlamydia Symptoms in men

  • Unusual, foul-smelling discharge from the penis
  • Pain during urination, caused by infection of the urinary tract
  • Frequent urination
  • Testicular pain, which signals that the bacteria has reached the scrotum

Symptoms in women

  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Bleeding in between periods
  • Unusual, foul-smelling discharge from the vagina
  • Abdominal pain
  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Low back pain

For some women, the bacteria may reach the fallopian tubes. This may cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which is a medical emergency and can occasionally lead to infertility.

Some symptoms of PID are:

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding between periods
  • Severe pelvic pain

Both men and women may also contract the bacteria orally and carry the infection in their throat. It may not cause any symptoms, but when it does, it is characterized by: 

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Sore throat

Men and women also share symptoms in the of case anal infection. These include: 

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Discharge from the anus

Men and women may also catch conjunctivitis, or eye infection, from the bacteria.  

Some symptoms of conjunctivitis are:

  • Eye redness
  • Irritation
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Discharge

What does chlamydia discharge look like?

Most people with chlamydia don’t show any symptoms, but those who do may report unusual discharge.

It is also easy to spot because it is not usual for the body to produce this kind of discharge. It is important to ask “what does chlamydia discharge look like” to easily identify and treat the disease. 

What does chlamydia discharge look like in men?

What does chlamydia discharge look like in men? It is a liquid that smells bad and looks like pus, oozing out of the penis head and settling around the tip.

The discharge may look thick and cloudy. It may also be brown, green, or yellow. Men usually notice unusual discharge 1-5 days after transmission.

What does chlamydia discharge look like in women? 

Chlamydia discharge in women is characterized by foul-smelling discharge coming from the vagina.

What does chlamydia discharge look like in women?

It is usually thick and may be yellow in color. Women may notice these symptoms after 1-3 weeks after transmission.

Testing for Chlamydia

To determine if someone has chlamydia, they must be tested by a medical professional. Testing is usually done if a patient or their recent sexual partner reports symptoms. Regular testing is also recommended for sexually active individuals. 

The doctor takes a swab sample from a woman’s cervix, or a urine test for a man. Rectal or throat samples may also be taken, depending on the site of infection. 

Doctors may immediately prescribe treatment to prevent any long-term complications.

Treatment for Chlamydia

Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat chlamydia. Some of these are:

  • Azithromycin
  • Doxycycline
  • Erythromycin
  • Levofloxacin
  • Ofloxacin
  • Amoxicillin

It is highly recommended that the patient’s sexual partner undergo treatment for chlamydia as well.

While in treatment, it is important to abstain oneself from any sexual activity. It is possible to transmit and contract chlamydia even after being cured from a previous infection. Be mindful to consult with a doctor before trying any of the listed medications.

Prevention of Chlamydia

Abstinence from any sexual activity still remains the most certain way of preventing this condition. Aside from this, here are some other methods for reducing the risk of infection:

  • Use condoms 
  • Limit the number of sexual partners
  • Get regular tests for any STDs
  • Make sure your sexual partner is cleared of any STDs
  • For women, avoid douching because this can reduce good bacteria in the vagina, which may protect against infection

As with any STD, preventing chlamydia means engaging in safe sexual activity. Maintaining safety during intimacy does not just protect you from infection, it can also positively impact your overall health.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

January Velasco, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Sky Abundo · Updated Mar 11, 2021

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