Chlamydia in throat symptoms

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Chlamydia in throat symptoms
  • Written by Dr. Andrea Pinto Lopez

Chlamydia is a bacterial sexually transmitted disease (STD) that’s caused by Chlamydia trachomatis. Most cases of chlamydia affect the genital area, but this bacteria can infect other parts of your body. Untreated chlamydia can be spread to your partners, and it could also put you at risk of health complications in the long run. It’s very important to learn how to identify the signs of chlamydia and other STDs so you can spot it easily.

So if you’ve ever asked yourself “Can chlamydia affect you orally?”, just keep reading to discover the answer.

Can oral sex cause throat infections?

Yes. Numerous sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can be spread through unprotected oral sex. According to the CDC, STDs that can be transmitted during oral sex include:

  • Chlamydia

  • Gonorrhea

  • Syphilis

  • Herpes

  • Trichomoniasis

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)

  • HIV

Oral STDs can occur after oral-to-genital contact, and it’s important to highlight that genital STDs can also be transmitted if you receive oral sex from a partner with an oral STD. Most cases of oral STDs are completely asymptomatic, which means it’s very important to practice safe sex, use dental dams and condoms during oral sex, and get tested for STDs regularly if you have an active sex life.

You can get STD tests at many different places, including your own home. If you want to get screened for STDs from home, you simply have to order an at-home STD test kit, and you’ll be able to collect your samples in privacy and comfort.

Can chlamydia be in your throat?

Yes. As we mentioned above, chlamydia throat infections can happen if you’ve given oral sex to an infected partner.

Pharyngeal chlamydia is far less common than genital or anorectal chlamydia. A study published in the Journal of the International AIDS Society found that approximately 4.6% of participants had chlamydia in the throat. This study also suggested that most cases of pharyngeal chlamydia resolve on their own within 6 and 12 weeks — however, more research is needed on this topic. 

Another study published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dental Research found a prevalence of chlamydia of approximately 54%. This study also found that oral chlamydia could be involved in the development of other oral infections, such as gingivitis and periodontal disease. 

Chlamydia in the mouth symptoms

Most cases of chlamydia in the throat don’t cause any symptoms, which makes this condition very difficult to diagnose.

In some cases, signs of chlamydia in the mouth can include:

  • A sore throat

  • Pain while swallowing

  • Bumps on the tongue

  • White spots in the back of the throat or tonsils

  • Swollen tonsils

  • Swollen neck lymph nodes

  • Oral redness and irritation

  • Low-grade fever

This STD can be confused with other diseases, such as a common cold — however, colds tend to cause other symptoms, such as constant mucus in the throat, sneezing, and general malaise.

Can chlamydia cause cold sores?

No. Cold sores are caused by oral herpes, which is typically caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), or herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). HSV-1 is the most common cause of cold sores, and it’s spread through oral-to-oral contact such as kissing and in some cases, during oral sex. HSV-2 is more likely to cause genital herpes as it’s spread through sexual contact; however, HSV-2 could also cause oral herpes in some people.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the symptoms of oral herpes or cold sores include:

  • A tingling, burning, or painful sensation that develops in the area where the blisters will erupt

  • Small clusters of fluid-filled blisters that can be extremely painful

  • The fluid leaks from the blisters, which become open sores before scabbing over

  • Flu-like symptoms during the initial infection

Can you get chlamydia in your throat from kissing?

No. Pharyngeal chlamydia isn’t spread through casual contact, according to Planned Parenthood. Instead, chlamydia around the mouth is transmitted during unprotected oral-to-genital contact with a partner who has genital chlamydia. In order for a chlamydia infection to happen, the bacteria has to come into contact with a mucous membrane, such as the throat, genitals, anus, eyes, or mouth.

Different types of casual contact that can’t lead to chlamydia include:

  • Kissing

  • Hugging

  • Holding hands

  • Sitting on the toilet

  • Coughing

  • Sneezing

Getting chlamydia in your throat isn’t likely, but you should still take all the necessary measures to prevent it. Unprotected oral sex can lead to different STDs, which could cause different health complications over time. Early chlamydia in throat detection helps prevent further STD transmission to new partners.

In addition to safe sex, one of the best ways to maintain your reproductive health is by getting tested for STDs regularly — especially if you have had multiple partners, or have recently started to have sex with a new partner. You can learn more about STD testing at


STD Risk and Oral Sex – CDC Fact Sheet -

The role of saliva in gonorrhoea and chlamydia transmission to extragenital sites among men who have sex with men: new insights into transmission -

Chlamydia trachomatis in the gingival sulcus and pharynx in patients of Northeast Mexico -

Oral Herpes - 

Chlamydia -

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