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Chlamydia

Information about symptoms and treatment for chlamydia

Chlamydia is the most commonly contracted sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the UK. Like many STIs, primary infection is mainly spread through unprotected sexual activity including vaginal, oral and anal sex. It very often doesn't cause any noticeable symptoms whatsoever, meaning that many people do not realise they are infected and unwittingly spread the infection further during unprotected sex. Chlamydia is a bacterial STI and completely curable, and medications such as Azithromycin or Doxycycline are available to order online.

Dr Hilary Jones Dr Hilary Jones
OnlineClinic Medical Advisor

"STIs can cause long-term complications if they are not treated. Taking the right medication is vital."

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What is chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a bacterial STI that affects approximately 200,000 in the UK every year according to the NHS. It may also be referred to as a sexually transmitted disease (STD) although the term 'infection' is medically correct. As it is bacterial, it can be cured completely with the correct antibiotics.

Chlamydia is very often asymptomatic meaning it can go completely unnoticed but can cause complications in the long-term if left so it is recommended to go for periodic STI testing if you have unprotected sex, which all test for chlamydia as well as other common sexually transmitted infections.

Chlamydia causes

Chlamydia is caused by a particular bacterium known as chlamydia trachomatis. This bacteria can live inside the penis, vagina and rectum. It is spread through unprotected sexual activity of any kind including vaginal, oral and anal sex. It can also be transferred through objects such as sex toys, although this is rare.

People who have multiple sexual partners and frequently engage in unprotected sex have an increased risk of contracting this and other sexually transmitted infections, however it does only take one time with an infected partner, making it highly contagious and the most commonly contracted STI in the UK.

Chlamydia symptoms

The vast majority of people infected with chlamydia do not realise as it can have no symptoms at all (also known as asymptomatic). In many cases, the only way to know if you have chlamydia, as well as a number of other sexually transmitted infections, is to go to the sexual health clinic or GUM clinic for a test. This is free of charge in the UK. If you do happen to be experiencing symptoms, they can differ between men and women to include the following:

Symptoms in women

  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • An abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Blood in the urine
  • Feeling an urgent need to urinate

Symptoms in men

  • Small amounts of discharge from the tip of the penis
  • Painful urination
  • Burning and itching around the opening of the penis
  • Pain and swelling around the testicles

Both sexes can also include pain during intercourse.

Long term effects of chlamydia

While chlamydia can be treated easily by using the right antibiotics, it can stay unrecognised for lengthy periods of time; this can sometimes be years and can lead to complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease in women, which can lead to fertility issues. This is also a possibility for men as chlamydia can negatively affect sperm production, and also lead to Epididymitis (swelling and pain in the testicles).

Treating chlamydia

If you have taken a test and it has come back with a positive result confirming you have the chlamydia, there isn't anything to worry about as there are things that can help straight away. The most important thing when treating a bacterial sexually transmitted infection is to start a course of medication as soon as possible. That way, you can clear the infection quickly, which means you stand less chance of experiencing symptoms and developing complications, as well as passing it on. You can take a look below and see what kind of treatment is most suitable for you.

Prescription medication for chlamydia

Prescription medication is the only clinically proven option for the treatment of chlamydia and recommended by doctors. The type of prescription treatment you receive will depend on where the infection is based. For penile and vaginal chlamydia, the most widely used medicine is Azithromycin. For rectal chlamydia, a course of Doxycycline is most commonly prescribed. Antibiotics have a 95% success rate when used as prescribed by your doctor.

Azithromycin can be taken as a single dosage of 500mg on the first day of treatment, followed by a once daily treatment of 250mg for four days. It allows your body to better fight off the infection by preventing the bacteria from producing proteins.

Doxycycline is taken over a seven day period as the dosage is lower, making it a more suitable option for people who do not tolerate high doses of medicine very well. The usual recommendation is to take one 100mg tablet of Doxycycline twice every day for one week.

It is highly advised that all your sexual partners from the past six months also seek treatment, to prevent further spread of the STI to other people. If you don't want to contact them yourself, this can be done anonymously through your GUM clinic.

Natural treatments and remedies for chlamydia

There are a number of claimed natural herbal remedies for chlamydia including the use of garlic, usnea and echinacea. However, there is no concrete evidence that proves their effectiveness in treating this sexually transmitted infection.

Preventing chlamydia

Chlamydia can be completely avoided if one takes certain preventative measures, including regular STI testing at your local GUM clinic or GP practice (double check your doctor's surgery beforehand as some don't offer a full comprehensive test, especially if you're above 25). Some of the other measures are listed below.

Using a latex condom - Using a condom doesn't just prevent chlamydia from being passed on, but other STIs as well. It's important for you a different condom each time you have sex.

Informing your past/present sexual partners - It's important you discuss your infection with your current partner(s), as they will require a course of treatment as well. This is also applies to any partner you've had sex with in the past 6 months.

Abstaining from sex until treatment is complete - By speaking to your doctor, you'll be able to find out when you can return to having sex if you're having treatment for chlamydia.

Buying treatment for Chlamydia

You can buy chlamydia treatment to clear up the infection within a week, posing limited disturbance to your life. Prescription treatment is the recommended method that is proven to be highly effective medication. If you have tested positive for chlamydia, you can receive your treatment - whether it's Doxycycline or Azithromycin - the very next day when ordered with OnlineClinic. To buy chlamydia medication in the UK, you must complete a quick consultation to be issued a prescription. The doctor will be able to tell which treatment you need based on your test and symptoms, cutting out the face-to-face appointments. You can do this online for free with no obligation at OnlineClinic, and all of our treatments are packaged discreetly so you can get your package delivered anywhere that is convenient.

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