young people

Chlamydia

What is chlamydia?
 

Chlamydia is a common STD that can infect both men and women.1 And most people who have it don’t know they have it because it often has no symptoms.2

It can cause serious, permanent damage to a woman’s reproductive system. This can make it difficult or impossible for her to get pregnant later on. Chlamydia can also cause a potentially fatal ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that occurs outside the womb).1

Did you know?

Most people who have chlamydia don't know it since the disease often has no symptoms

Who should get tested

CDC recommends yearly chlamydia testing of all sexually active women younger than 25 years, as well as older women with certain risk factors (those who have a new sex partner or multiple sex partners), and all pregnant women.  Men should speak with their healthcare provider if they are at risk for chlamydia and if testing is recommended.

Chlamydia’s effects on your health

In Women: If you have a genital chlamydia infection and it is not promptly treated, the bacteria may move up to your uterus, fallopian tubes (egg canals), ovaries (egg sacs) and nearby structures. When these organs and structures become infected, it is called pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID.1

PID may cause scar tissue to form inside your fallopian tubes.3 If your fallopian tubes become completely blocked with scar tissue, you may not be able to get pregnant without medical help.1 If your fallopian tubes are partially blocked when conception occurs, an embryo may get stuck in one of the tubes instead of moving into your uterus. This is called a tubal or ectopic pregnancy, and it can be life-threatening if you do not receive immediate medical treatment. 1,3

In Men: Men rarely have health problems from chlamydia. The infection can cause a fever and pain in the tubes attached to the testicles. This can, in rare cases, lead to infertility.

Group of people talking to each other
The Right Tests for Each Stage of the Reproductive Journey

Chlamydia and pregnancy

If you have a history of chlamydia or PID and you become pregnant, you should seek medical care as early as possible to make sure the developing embryo is inside the uterus and not a fallopian tube. Pregnant women who have chlamydia are at increased risk for premature labor.1

If you are already pregnant and you become infected with chlamydia, your baby could become infected during birth. The bacteria can cause an eye infection (conjunctivitis) or a lung infection (pneumonia) in your baby.1 Both of these serious infections require treatment with antibiotics.

Supporting your sexual health through education and testing

We want you to take charge of your health by staying informed and having open conversations with your healthcare provider. When you see your doctor, they will ask you questions about your health, and it is important to be honest and forthcoming.

Remember: You should ask questions, too. Together, you and your doctor will make decisions about your healthcare and any treatment you may need.1

References

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chlamydia fact sheet. Available at: http:// www.cdc.gov/std/Chlamydia/STDFact-Chlamydia.htm. Accessed April 22, 2019.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2015. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2015;64:3.

3. US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for chlamydial infection: US Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med. 2014;161(12)902-10.