Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. When transmitted through sexual contact, the bacteria can infect the urinary and reproductive organs.
The term chlamydia typically refers to Chlamydia trachomatis, the STD. But two other types of this bacteria also can lead to illness: Chlamydia pneumoniae, which can be spread through coughing and sneezing, and Chlamydia psittaci, which birds can pass to humans.
Chlamydia can be treated with antibiotics. But in many cases, it causes no symptoms, so people can be infected without even knowing it. If chlamydial infections go untreated, they can lead to more serious health problems, such as infertility. So it's important to take the precautions to prevent chlamydia, and if it's suspected, to seek treatment as soon as possible.
In many cases, chlamydia causes only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. So an infection can last for weeks or months before it is discovered.
In females, chlamydia symptoms can include:
- vaginal irritation
- vaginal discharge
- lower abdominal pain
- burning feeling with urination
Symptoms of Balanitis
The incubation period varies from 3 days to 1 week. The first signs of involvement may be small red erosions on the glans or undersurface of the prepuce, with concomitant development of much preputial exudation; the purulent discharge may be accompanied by phimosis. If the disease is unchecked, confluent ulcerations will develop along with considerable edema of the penis.
Untreated chlamydia also can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can affect the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. In some cases PID has no symptoms, but often causes abdominal or lower back pain, painful urination, pain during intercourse, bleeding between menstrual periods, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, or fever.
In males, chlamydia symptoms can include discharge from the tip of the penis and a burning feeling during urination. Untreated infections can lead to epididymitis, an inflammation of the coiled tubes in the back of the testicles. This can result in testicular swelling, pain, and even infertility.