What is chlamydia?
Chlamydia (klah-MIH-dee-ah) is the most common sexually transmitted bacterial infection in the U.S. Its full name is chlamydia trachomatis (trah-ko-MAH-tis). It is a kind of bacteria that can infect the penis, vagina, cervix, anus, urethra, or eye.
Chlamydia is the name of several types of bacteria. Chlamydia trachoma, for example, has been a major cause of blindness for centuries. Chlamydia trachomatis is sexually transmitted. One strain occurs primarily in the tropics and causes lymphogranuloma venereum -- symptoms include skin lesions and swelling of certain glands in the genital area. The other, we simply call "chlamydia," a very common infection in the U.S.
What are the symptoms of chlamydia?
Usually, chlamydia has no symptoms. Up to 85 percent of women and 40 percent of men with chlamydia have no symptoms. Most people are not aware that they have the infection.
When symptoms do occur, they may begin in as little as 5-10 days after infection.
When women have symptoms, they may experience:
bleeding between menstrual periods
vaginal bleeding after intercourse
the urge to urinate more than usual
abnormal vaginal discharge
mucopurulent cervicitis (MPC) -- a yellowish discharge from the cervix that may have a foul odor
When men have symptoms, they may experience:
pus or watery or milky discharge from the penis
pain or burning feeling while urinating
swollen or tender testicles
These symptoms are like the symptoms of gonorrhea. They are called nongonococcal urethritis (NGU). Men often don't take these symptoms seriously because the symptoms may appear only early in the day and can be very mild.
In women and men, chlamydia may cause the rectum to itch and bleed. It can also result in a discharge and diarrhea. If it infects the eyes, chlamydia may cause...