Chlamydia is a type of bacteria. It can cause sterility in women and men. In women, it infects the cervix and can spread to the urethra, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. It can cause bladder infections and serious pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ectopic pregnancy, and sterility. In men, chlamydia infects the urethra and may spread to the testicles, causing epididymitis, which can cause sterility.

Chlamydia can also lead to Reiter's syndrome - especially in young men. Reiter's syndrome involves eye infections, urethritis, and arthritis. One in three men who develop Reiter's syndrome become permanently disabled. In infants, chlamydia can cause pneumonia, eye infections, and blindness. Chlamydia is the most common and most invisible sexually transmitted bacterial infection in America. Three million American men and women become infected every year.

Common Symptoms

  • Discharge from the penis or vagina
  • Pain or burning while urinating, more than usual urination
  • Excessive vaginal bleeding
  • Painful intercourse for women
  • Spotting between periods or after intercourse
  • Abdominal pain, nausea, fever
  • Inflammation of the rectum or cervix
  • Swelling or pain in the testicles

Up to 85 % of women and 40 percent of men with chlamydia have no symptoms. Many women discover they have chlamydia only because their partners are found to be infected. Other women discover that they must have had it for some time when they are treated for the infertility that it can cause. Symptoms appear in seven to 21 days - if they appear. If your partner is a man, and he has a urinary tract infection, you may have chlamydia.


  • Vaginal and anal intercourse
  • From the birth canal to the fetus
  • Rarely, from the hand to the eye


Can be confused with gonorrhea and other conditions. Examination of tissue samples or urine is necessary for correct diagnosis.


Both partners can be treated successfully with antibiotics.


Condoms offer very good protection against chlamydia.