Experts sometimes refer to chlamydia as a "silent" infection because a majority of infected people experience no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they may not appear until several weeks after contact with the bacteria. Dr. Alvarado, can you tell us about some of these symptoms?
Sure, Dr. Mayzik. For both men and women, a chlamydia infection can cause symptoms of urethritis, or inflammation of the urethra, and proctitis, or inflammation of the rectum. Urethritis can cause painful, burning, or frequent urination, as well as pus or watery discharge from the urethra. Proctitis can cause rectal pain, discharge, and bleeding.
Women may also experience pain during intercourse. If the infection spreads further into the woman's reproductive system, symptoms may include lower abdominal or pelvic pain, nausea, fever, and bleeding between periods.
Although it is uncommon, a chlamydia infection in men can spread to the epididymis, which may cause pain and swelling in one or both testicles.
There are several different lab tests that can diagnose chlamydia. The most sensitive and accurate tests are called nucleic acid amplification tests, or NAATs. NAATs are able to test specimens from urine samples and vaginal swabs.