Chlamydia

Chlamydia is the most common STD. It’s a bacterium. It is estimated that the STD occurs 100,000 times a year in the Netherlands. The chance of infection is very high. You often don’t notice, because there are no complaints. Fortunately, the infection is easy to treat. You get Chlamydia from unprotected sex. Not from kissing and not from the toilet seat

Chlamydia is the most common STD. It’s a bacterium. It is estimated that the STD occurs 100,000 times a year in the Netherlands. The chance of infection is very high. You often don’t notice, because there are no complaints. Fortunately, the infection is easy to treat. You get Chlamydia from unprotected sex. Not from kissing and not from the toilet seat

What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is an STD caused by a bacterium (Chlamydia trachomatis). This bacterium settles in the mucous membranes of the penis, vagina, anus or throat. Chlamydia is transmitted through contact with the mucous membranes. Chlamydia causes an infection.

How do you get Chlamydia?

Chlamydia can be contracted through unprotected sex. The STD can be transmitted through genital, anal and oral sex. In some cases, used sex toys have been found to be the cause of the infection, but this is rare. The bacteria do not survive long outside the body. Condoms prevent Chlamydia.

Do I have Chlamydia?

Many of the symptoms of Chlamydia are general and can have other causes, but combined together, they often indicate Chlamydia. You can also have Chlamydia without noticing it. It is estimated that more than half of people with Chlamydia do not notice it. If you do notice something, it often concerns complaints such as pain when urinating, pain during sex, pain in the lower abdomen and/or a burning sensation in the area of the infection. Complaints are therefore general, only testing provides certainty!

Did you know? Nearly 70% of women don’t notice they have Chlamydia at all. This group has no complaints. The percentage is slightly lower for men. It is estimated that 50% of men do not notice it. Only testing provides certainty.

Symptoms in women

  • More or abnormal discharge
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Pain when urinating
  • Pain when making love
  • Bleeding while not having your period

Symptoms in men

  • Pain when urinating
  • Sore ball sack
  • Discharge from the urethra
  • Respiratory complaints (in the case of an oral infection)

Do you have one or more of these complaints and did you recently have unprotected sex? Then it’s time to take a test.

What are the risks?

The biggest risk with Chlamydia is infertility. This chance is very small for men, but much higher for women. It is estimated that about 500 to 1,000 women become infertile due to Chlamydia every year. Complications in men can include inflammation of the epididymis or prostate.

LGV is one of the risks in men who have sex with men. LGV is an aggressive variant of Chlamydia that is treated in a different way. This Chlamydia variant is, in fact, found exclusively in the anus. This can also occur in women, but it is quite rare.

Chlamydia can cause major complications during pregnancy. This applies to all STDs. If you contract Chlamydia while you are pregnant, you should see your doctor immediately. Chlamydia is easy to treat, even during pregnancy, but this requires different antibiotics.

Chance of infection

The chance of contracting Chlamydia from having unprotected sex with someone who already has Chlamydia is estimated to be 45%. This is high. That is why it’s regarded as a highly contagious STD. That chance applies every time you have sex, even if it is with the same person.

Our own data (2020)

Chlamydia is therefore very common. More than 30,000 people are tested every year via testalize.me. A significant proportion of them test positive for Chlamydia.

  • About 15% of our users test positive for (genital) Chlamydia
  • Just under 10% of them also have Gonorrhoea (double infection)
  • Women and men contract Chlamydia equally often
  • In the case of the anal test, the number of positives is higher, around 20%
  • In the case of the oral test, the numbers are much lower, not even 4%
  • The vast majority (more than 75%) indicate that they have had no complaints

Testing

Testing for Chlamydia is easy. Order your STD test online. You can do the test with urine or a smear. You can take the test as late as 14 days after you had unsafe sex for the last time. We call this the incubation period. The test looks for the Chlamydia bacterium in the body material. If that bacterium is found, you test positive and you need to be treated. If you test negative, there is nothing to worry about.

When testing, you should pay attention to the body location you are testing. If you only had vaginal sex, you test your vagina. But if you also had (or received) anal sex, you should also do an anal test! Oral and anal infections are often missed, simply because these body locations are not tested. Use our test guide to determine which test(s) you need.

Testing yourself for Chlamydia?

Of course you can test for Chlamydia yourself. At home but with an analysis in a laboratory. The test is simple and anyone can perform it (painlessly) themselves. You take body material and you send this material to our laboratory. They perform the analysis and within 48 hours, you can request your results yourself with a unique code. This result is authorised by a microbiologist and therefore extremely reliable.

Treatment

Fortunately, Chlamydia is easy to treat, even online. The venereal disease is treated with antibiotics, often two tablets of azithromycin to be taken at the same time. A week later, the infection is gone. The advice is to wait another week before having sex again. You can still test positive for up to a month after the treatment.

In case of allergies, treatment often involves doxycycline. LGV is also treated with this antibiotic. The sooner treatment is started, the smaller the risk of complications.

You should always be treated by a doctor. You can’t just buy antibiotics, they require a prescription. A general practitioner can prescribe it after which you can pick up the medication at the pharmacy.

Approved by M.D. Annelies Lucas

General practitioner and medical director. Worked as a general practitioner for 25 years, obtained a PhD at the University of Maastricht and was the medical director of Diagnostiek voor U from 2011 to 2020.

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