Chlamydia treatment | How do you treat chlamydia?

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Chlamydia treatment | How do you treat chlamydia?

If you have recently found out that you have chlamydia, or you suspect that you will receive a chlamydia diagnosis. This may be the article for you. 

We will discuss chlamydia treatment, how long it takes to treat chlamydia, how to know when chlamydia has successfully been treated, and what happens if chlamydia goes untreated. 

Chlamydia treatment: How do you treat chlamydia? 

Chlamydia treatment involves oral antibiotics. 

Your doctor will prescribe the antibiotics should you receive a chlamydia diagnosis. Antibiotics may also be recommended for your sexual partner if you have been having unprotected sex within that given timeframe. 

There are different therapeutic options available to treat chlamydia, including:

  • Doxycycline 100 mg 2 twice a day for 7 days
  • Azithromycin 1 g (single dose)
  • Levofloxacin 500 mg once a day for 7 days

From the beginning of your treatment process, the infection should clear up in around one week. Your health practitioner may recommend that you abstain from sex until you have been re-tested for chlamydia. 

what-is-the-treatment-for-chlamydia-infographic

How long does it take to treat chlamydia? 

On average, it takes 7 days to treat chlamydia from the moment you start taking medication

You should abstain from sex during this 7 day period as it is possible to pass the infection to other people during this period, even if you are not experiencing any symptoms. 

How do you know when chlamydia is gone?

The only way to be fully sure that your chlamydia has cleared is to get re-tested following treatment. The infection should be cleared 7 days after you have started your course of antibiotics. 

Finishing the entire course of antibiotics is very important or you could be at risk infecting your partner and/or becoming reinfected. 

The antibiotics that are used to treat chlamydia are generally very effective. Research shows that doxycycline is practically 100 percent effective in eliminating chlamydia, with slightly lower curation rates for azithromycin.

The most common reasons why chlamydia treatment can fail is not taking the full course of antibiotics, and not abstaining from sex during the recommended time. It’s very important to finish your course of antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor, even if you’re no longer experiencing symptoms before you finish the medication.

It is equally important that both you and your partner are treated for chlamydia before you have sex again to lower the risk of re-infection, as well as waiting the recommended time period. 

What happens if chlamydia is left untreated?

If chlamydia goes untreated, it can lead to serious health complications in both males and females. 

The health complications of untreated chlamydia in males include:

  • An increased risk of acquiring other STIs
  • Epididymis 
  • Reactive arthritis 

Increased risk of acquiring other STIs

Untreated chlamydia can increase a person’s chances of contracting other STDs, including the chance of acquiring or transmitting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Epididymitis

Epididymitis is an infection which leads to the swelling in the testicles and the epididymis. The epididymis refers to the tube located at the back of the testicle that carries and stores sperm. Epididymis can feel like a sudden, sharp or gradual dull pain. The testicles and scrotum may feel swollen or tender. Epididymitis can be treated with a course of antibiotics. If it is left untreated, it may affect male fertility. This might feel like a sudden or gradual pain and the scrotum may feel tender and swollen. 

Reactive arthritis

Reactive arthritis is a condition that may arise from long-term untreated chlamydia. The condition causes swelling and redness in the body’s joints, particularly in the feet, ankles and knees. Reactive arthritis may develop in those living with untreated chlamydia. It develops after a bacterial infection such as a sexually transmitted infection or food poisoning. 

The symptoms of reactive arthritis include pain and stiffness in the joints, urinary problems, eye inflammation, or swollen toes and fingers. If you develop any of reactive arthritis following a bacterial infection, it’s important to reach out to your health care provider.

The health complications of untreated chlamydia in females include:

  • An increased risk of acquiring other STIs 
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Fertility/pregnancy complications 

Increased risk of acquiring other STIs

Women are at an increased risk of contracting other STDs in the same way that males may be if they are living with untreated chlamydia, meaning that untreated chlamydia in women may also increase the risk of acquiring or transmitting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

If left untreated, chlamydia can spread to the womb, ovaries and fallopian tubes. This can lead to a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). 

Over time, PID can lead to a number of health complications such as: 

  • Infertility or difficulty getting pregnant 
  • Chronic pelvic pain 
  • An increased risk of ectopic pregnancy (where the egg implants itself outside of the womb)

In most cases, the symptoms and treatment for pelvic inflammatory disease are the same. PID is treated using antibiotics.

Fertility/Pregnancy Complications 

Untreated chlamydia can lead to fertility and pregnancy complications. If you do not get treated for chlamydia before becoming pregnant, the infection can be passed to the baby which could lead to an eye infection (conjunctivitis) and/or a lung infection (pneumonia). 

Untreated chlamydia can lead to premature births and/or a low birth rate. The good news is that it is possible to get tested and treated for chlamydia before or during pregnancy. 

Chlamydia is often known as the “silent disease” due to the fact that it so rarely showcases symptoms. If you are concerned that you have contracted chlamydia, do not put off getting tested, whether you visit your doctor or opt for a home STD testing option. 

FAQs

How long can I have chlamydia without knowing? 

It is possible to have chlamydia for months and in some cases, even years.

As chlamydia often doesn’t have symptoms, it is possible to have chlamydia for an extended period of time without knowing that you have it. 

How can you get chlamydia if no one cheats? 

It is possible to carry bacteria for a long time if you are not treated, therefore it is possible to infect your partner or be infected by your partner a long time after the initial infection.

How do you know when chlamydia goes away?

The only way to know if chlamydia has cleared is to get re-tested. Typically in those who have symptoms, the symptoms will begin to clear up once the treatment process has been started.

Resources 

 

 

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