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Chlamydia is one of the most common STIs among young people. It is passed on during sex, especially if you don’t use condoms. Sometimes you have symptoms, but often you won’t notice it at all. Chlamydia is easy to treat with drugs. That usually gets rid of the infection.

Video: Doctor Hanna about chlamydia

Chlamydia symptoms

If you have chlamydia, then you may get symptoms. You’re most likely to notice something 1-3 weeks after having sex. 

In men, this is usually fluid – also called discharge – coming out of your penis. It’s often watery and happens after you get up in the morning. Peeing might also be painful or give a burning sensation. 

Women may have fluid coming out of their vagina. This discharge is normal, but if you have chlamydia it will be more than usual and look different too. Peeing might also be painful, or give a burning sensation. 

Chlamydia can sometimes affect your anus and cause some discomfort. That could be itching, or pain when you’re having a poo.

Female symptoms

  • More fluid (discharge) than normal that may look different
  • Pain or burning sensation when peeing 
  • Pain or vaginal bleeding during or after sex
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Itching or irritation in the anal area
  • Blood in your poo or diarrhoea

Male symptoms

  • Fluid coming out of your penis, mostly in the morning
  • Pain or burning sensation when peeing 
  • Pain in your scrotum
  • Itching or irritation in the anal area
  • Blood in your poo or diarrhoea

Chlamydia with no symptoms

Women and girls usually don’t notice that they have chlamydia. Nor do some boys or men. So you can even have chlamydia without any symptoms. And pass it on to someone else during sex.

Easy to treat!

Chlamydia is an STI that’s easy to treat with drugs. Do you think you may it? Perhaps because:

  • You had sex without a condom
  • You have symptoms
  • You had sex with someone who has chlamydia

Then go to your doctor or a Sense  clinic for an STI test. If you get a bit nervous about going, you’re not the only one – other people often feel that way too.

What happens if chlamydia is left untreated?

If the chlamydia infection isn’t treated, most girls and women will never have any symptoms! But in some of them the infection will spread to the fallopian tubes. This can cause severe lower abdominal pain, sometimes with a fever. Or chronic abdominal pain later in life. Do you have any of these symptoms? Then make an appointment to see your doctor or go to a Sense clinic.

Can it make you infertile?

Yes it can, but there is only a very slight risk of this. There is a greater risk of you having difficulty getting pregnant if you’re infected with chlamydia more than once. And if you have symptoms.

Tell your sex partners

If you have chlamydia, tell the people you’ve had sex with recently. Then they can get tested and treated too. Talk to the doctor about who you should tell.

Is telling other people something you find difficult to do? Your doctor or someone at the STI clinic can help you warn people without mentioning your name, using a website. 

Safe sex

Having safe sex is important when you go further than kissing and caressing or petting. Do you want to make sure you don’t get any STIs or get pregnant? Then always have sex safely.

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Partner notification

Do you have an STI? Warn your partner(s)! Even if you don't have any symptoms. Your partner can have an STI without knowing it and pass it on to others.

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This page was updated on June 24, 2022. The medical information on this page has been checked by Hanna Bos, infectious disease control doctor at Soa Aids Nederland.