What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia infection is a common sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis, a strain of bacteria from the Chlamydiaceae family that usually affects the urogenital tract.


When an infected person has unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex, the bacteria can be passed onto an uninfected partner. The bacteria can also pass from an infected mother to her unborn baby during delivery.

Symptoms of Chlamydia infection

Nearly 70 to 80% of women who develop chlamydia infection are unaware they are infected due to the absence of symptoms. Chlamydia can cause the cervix to become inflamed and infected women may complain of pain, bleeding and discharged pus while urinating or after sexual intercourse.

The infection can also pass into the upper genital tract and cause inflammation of the pelvic structures such as the womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries. This is called pelvic inflammatory disease.

Nearly 50% of men with chlamydia also do not have any symptoms. The symptom-free aspect to chlamydia means the infection can easily and unknowingly be spread to uninfected individuals and that the condition often goes undiagnosed while people continue to engage in sexual intercourse.

In men, chlamydia commonly causes urethritis or infection of the urethra. The urethra in males passes through the penis and lets out urine from the bladder. Therefore, among men, chlamydia may lead to pain on urination, difficulty in urinating and discharge of a whitish discharge from the tip of the penis. If the infection moves up the genital tract, and involves the vas deferens and testicle, epididymitis may develop in some affected males.

Over time, the complications of chlamydia may lead to infertility in both men and women.

Chlamydia infection may also affect the eyes as it leads to a condition called trachoma, one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide.

Diagnosis and treatment

Chlamydia infection is tested routinely in sexual health clinics as it is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. Urine and genital swabs are taken and checked for presence of the bacteria. Tests can also be performed at home using home kits. Chlamydia is easily treated with appropriate antibiotics. Lack of timely treatment however may have serious long-term complications.

Further Reading

Last Updated: Jun 21, 2023

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Mandal, Ananya. (2023, June 21). What is Chlamydia?. News-Medical. Retrieved on July 13, 2024 from https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Chlamydia.aspx.

  • MLA

    Mandal, Ananya. "What is Chlamydia?". News-Medical. 13 July 2024. <https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Chlamydia.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Mandal, Ananya. "What is Chlamydia?". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Chlamydia.aspx. (accessed July 13, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Mandal, Ananya. 2023. What is Chlamydia?. News-Medical, viewed 13 July 2024, https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Chlamydia.aspx.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.

You might also like...
Empowering women through self-care: A leap towards health equity