Complications from a chlamydia infection are more common and more serious in women than in men. Dr. Patel, can you tell us about some of these potential complications?
Absolutely, Dr. Mayzik. In women, an untreated chlamydia infection can spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes, causing a serious condition called pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID. PID can cause permanent damage to the reproductive system, which can lead to long-term pelvic pain, infertility, and ectopic pregnancy. In some cases, PID caused by chlamydia can lead to inflammation of the liver capsule, a condition called perihepatitis or Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome.
Pregnant women with untreated chlamydia are more likely to go into labor too early. In addition, the infection can be spread to the baby during childbirth, which can lead to eye infections and pneumonia.
Although men don't often have complications from chlamydia, an infection that spreads to the epididymis can cause testicular pain, fever, and in rare cases, infertility.
Both men and women can develop reactive arthritis, a type of arthritis that occurs as a reaction to infection in the body. Untreated chlamydia can also increase the risk for HIV in both men and women.