Chlamydia is one of the most commonly contracted sexually transmitted infections in the UK. Around 5% of sexually active people will pick up the infection at some point, so regular screening is important for those with new partners. The infection is often symptomless so it often goes undiagnosed for long periods of time, and the health complications can be fairly severe if it’s left untreated.
If you’re diagnosed with Chlamydia, the good news is that it can normally be cleared up fairly quickly. The common treatment is a course of antibiotics, with Azithromycin or Doxycycline typically prescribed by your doctor. Doxycycline is the longer course of the two, usually involving a week of treatment. Azithromycin is a single dose treatment, and both will take around a week to fully clear the infection from your system.
The treatment gets to work quickly, and most people notice an improvement in any symptoms within a day or two. If you notice that the symptoms don’t improve within the week it’s important to seek further advice as it’s possible you may have another STI. You can have a test done at your local sexual health clinic, or they can be ordered online from sites like Dr Felix.
If you experience pelvic pain and pain during intercourse after your treatment then it’s important to see a doctor or nurse for further investigation. There may be other causes of the pain which need to be identified and treated.
It’s recommended to avoid any sexual contact for at least a week following the completion of you and your partner’s course of treatment. This should prevent any re-infection and give the antibiotics plenty of time to clear everything up.
If you’re diagnosed with Chlamydia it’s important that you tell any sexual partners you may have had in the preceding weeks and months. The condition is spread through unprotected sexual contact, so it’s likely that any sexual partners you’ve had may have picked up the infection as well.
If you’re diagnosed at a sexual health clinic they can often discuss the best way of contacting these people, and some will provide you with a contact slip which will explain everything to your partners. These slips won’t have your name on them in order to protect your confidentiality, but it will encourage them to be tested.
Chlamydia which has remained undiagnosed for a long period of time can have an effect on fertility in women. Fertility testing will not normally be offered as part of Chlamydia diagnosis and treatment, but if you find that you and your partner are struggling to conceive after treatment then you should discuss things with your doctor. The majority of infected women will not experience any issues with fertility.
While it can cause some issues if left undiagnosed, Chlamydia is ultimately a highly curable infection. It’s fairly common amongst sexually active people so there’s no reason to feel embarrassed or worried about seeing treatment. If you have any concerns please speak to a nurse or doctor and they will advise the best course of action.