Sexual health questions: Chlamydia

Source of information

What is Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a type of bacteria that can infect various regions of the body in both men and women, including the penis, vagina, anus and throat.

How can I catch Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is transmitted through unprotected sexual contact, from one individual who has it to another who does not. Chlamydia cannot be transmitted through kissing or sharing toilet seats or towels.

What are the symptoms and signs of Chlamydia in men and women?
Approximately 80% of women and 50% of men will have no symptoms or early signs of a Chlamydia infection. This makes it difficult to tell whether an individual is infected or not. However, some people do get symptoms, which may include:

  • Burning or painful sensation when urinating in both men and women
  • Vaginal discharge or “mucus” coming out of the vagina, back pain, unusual pain during sex and bleeding between periods in women
  • Penile discharge or “mucus” coming out of the penis, inflamed or swollen testicles and/or discomfort around the tip of the penis in men.
Did you know? STI / STD facts from Tocolo Health and Wellbeing Clinic, Watford, Herts WD5 0DR

Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the UK. However, 80% of women and over 50% of men have no symptoms; so, the only way to know if you have it is to get tested.

Did you know? STI / STD facts from Tocolo Health and Wellbeing Clinic

How can Chlamydia be tested / checked?
Chlamydia can be very harmful, so it is important to get tested regularly.

Testing at Tocolo is easy, fast and painless. Our usual test for Chlamydia is with a urine sample but we can also test you with a swab from your throat, anus or vagina, if you choose (we even test for Gonorrhoea at the same time).

The results of our standard test are available after two days from when we receive the sample or on the same day if you choose the FAST test option.

Info about STIs / STDs from Tocolo Health and Wellbeing Clinic

Here’s information about STIs / STDs

Herpes 1 & 2      
Hepatitis B      
Hepatitis C      

What are the risks if Chlamydia is left untreated?
Chlamydia is one of the most important preventable causes of infertility.

If left untreated, Chlamydia can permanently damage the sexual organs leading to infertility in women and reduced fertility in men. In women, it can infect the cervix (the entrance to the womb from the vagina) and urinary tract. In men, it can infect the urinary tract causing swelling or inflammation of the testicles.

In pregnant women, Chlamydia can lead to increased risk of miscarriage, preterm delivery and potentially fatal tubal (ectopic) pregnancy. If the baby is exposed to the infection during delivery, he or she could suffer from an eye infection or pneumonia; therefore, it is important to get tested.

What if I test positive for Chlamydia?
Chlamydia can be treated with a short course of antibiotics. To cure Chlamydia completely, the antibiotic treatment usually takes seven days. During this time, the infection could still be passed during unprotected sex, even when symptoms have disappeared.

Tocolo will provide you with a prescription to treat the infection if you do test positive for Chlamydia.

You may want to consider having a repeat Chlamydia test at the end of your treatment to check that the infection has completely cleared. You should also contact your previous partners to notify them about your result as he/she may also need to get tested.