Females | Males
The main concern for women is that chlamydia can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Studies show that 10-40% of women with untreated cervical chlamydia will develop PID.(1)
What is PID?
PID presents itself as inflammation of the fallopian tubes. In the worst cases the tubes can become blocked through scarring. This scarring is caused by the body protecting itself from chlamydia, not from the disease itself.(2)
Symptoms of PID
- Longer and/or heavier periods;
- More cramping during periods;
- Abnormal mucus discharge;
- Pain in lower abdomen;
- Tiredness, weakness;
- Pain during vaginal intercourse; and
- Pain during pelvic exam (3)
What does PID do to you?
PID can lead to infertility. Many people who develop PID from chlamydia do not experience any symptoms of chlamydia before PID developed.
- 20% of those with PID may become infertile
- 10% may of those suffering PID have an ectopic pregnancy(4)
What is an ectopic pregnancy?
An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilised egg (ovum) lodges in the fallopian tube and is unable to reach the uterus (where it should be for the baby to grow). PID can cause scarring of the fallopian tubes as can other tubal infections or tubal surgery.
Ectopic pregnancies cannot go full term. Thus, the removal of developing cells is necessary to save the life of the mother. (5)
Chlamydia in men is also known as non-specific urethritis (NSU). It can lead to pain or swelling in the testicles and also to epididymitis.
What is epididymitis?
Epididymitis is an inflammation of the testicles.
What does it do?
It can lead to male infertility.
Men and Women
Both men and women can get chlamydia in the rectum from male to female anal sex or male-to-male anal sex. Chlamydia in the rectum can cause proctitis (inflamed rectum).
You can get chlamydia in the eyes. This happens when bacteria from hands is brought into contact with eyes. Conjunctivitis can follow.
It is also possible to get chlamydia in the throat via unprotected oral sex – although this is rare.
1. Stamm, 1990 and Paavonen and Vesterinen, 1998 cited in Victorian Government Health Information
2. STD Handbook
3. Planned Parenthood Federation of America
4. Victorian Government Health Information
5. Medline Plus