Chlamydia infections in women
Chlamydia is an infection that can be passed from one person to another through sexual contact. This type of infection is known as sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Cervicitis - chlamydia; STI - chlamydia; STD - chlamydia; Sexually transmitted - chlamydia; PID - chlamydia; Pelvic inflammatory disease - chlamydia
Chlamydia is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. Both males and females may have this infection. However, they may not have symptoms. As a result, you may become infected or pass the infection to your partner without knowing it.
You are more likely to become infected with chlamydia if you have:
Most women do not have symptoms. But some have:
If you have symptoms of a chlamydia infection, your health care provider will collect a culture or perform a test called a nucleic acid amplification test.
In the past, testing required a pelvic exam by a health care provider. Today, very accurate tests can be done on urine samples. Vaginal swabs, which a woman collects herself, can also be tested. Results take 1 to 2 days to come back. Your provider may also check you for other types of STIs. Most common STIs are:
Even if you have no symptoms, you may need a chlamydia test if you:
Chlamydia can be treated with antibiotics. Some of these are safe to take if you are pregnant. Common side effects include:
Both you and your partner need to take the antibiotics.
You and your partner are asked to abstain from sexual intercourse during the time of treatment.
Gonorrhea often occurs with chlamydia. Therefore, treatment for gonorrhea is often given at the same time.
Safe sex practices are needed to prevent becoming infected with chlamydia or spreading it to others.
Antibiotic treatment almost always works. You and your partner should take the medicines as directed.
If chlamydia spreads into your uterus and fallopian tubes, it can cause scarring. Scarring can make it harder for you to get pregnant. You can help prevent this by:
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Make an appointment with your provider if:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chlamydial infections in adolescents and adults. www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015/chlamydia.htm. Updated June 4, 2015. Accessed May 4, 2018.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Recommendations for laboratory-based detection of Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae, 2014. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2014;63(RR-02):1-19. PMID: 24622331. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24622331.
Geisler WM. Diagnosis and management of uncomplicated chlamydia trachomatis infections in adolescents and adults: summary of evidence reviewed for the 2015 centers for disease control and prevention sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines. Clin Infect Dis. 2015;(61):774-784. PMID: 26602617 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26602617.
Geisler WM. Diseases caused by chlamydiae. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 318.
LeFevre ML; US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med. 2014;161(12):902-910. PMID: 25243785.www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25243785.
Workowski KA, Bolan GA; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines. 2015. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2015;64(RR-03):1-137. PMID: 26042815. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26042815.
Review Date: 4/19/2018
Reviewed By: John D. Jacobson, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda Center for Fertility, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.