Chlamydia Symptoms in Men

Chlamydia can be hard to identify because it’s often symptomless, but it can cause symptoms. Its symptoms and effects can also be different for men and women, so it’s vital to know the differences and what to look out for. Here, we’ll take a look at chlamydia symptoms in men and what to do if you’re worried about it.

If you think you’ve caught chlamydia or been exposed to it you should get tested before having sex again, even if you don’t have symptoms. It’s the most common STI in the country and because it’s sometimes symptomless, it’s very easy to spread.

Dr Babak Ashrafi Clinical Lead for Service Development

Medically reviewed by

Dr Babak Ashrafi

Last reviewed: 12 Feb 2024

What Are the Common Symptoms of Chlamydia in Men?

At least 50% of men who have chlamydia show no symptoms.

If you do have symptoms, they usually take 1 to 3 weeks to develop and can include:

  • discharge that is white, cloudy or watery
  • pain when you pee
  • burning sensation in the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body) and at the tip of the penis
  • swollen and painful testicles (usually affects both testicles)

The infection that causes chlamydia can also appear in other areas of the body causing different symptoms:


Rectal pain or discharge can also be a symptom of chlamydia that has infected your rectum after unprotected anal sex.


Your eyes can become red, inflamed and may produce discharge, which is called chlamydial conjunctivitis. Chlamydial conjunctivitis is usually caused by infected semen or vaginal fluid entering the eyes.


Oral chlamydia affects the throat and can be confused with other conditions, such as a cold or allergic reaction. Symptoms of oral chlamydia include:

  • sore throat
  • pain in the mouth
  • sores around the mouth that don’t heal
  • swollen tonsils or lymph nodes in the neck/throat
  • bumps on the tongue
  • white spots at the back of the throat

How common is chlamydia?

Chlamydia is the most common STI in the UK, especially in younger people. In 2021, it accounted for 55% of all STIs in people aged 15 to 24.

A review of medical studies in 2013 found that rates of chlamydia are similar in men and women.

How Do Men Catch Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is passed on through sexual contact. This means you can get chlamydia by:

  • having unprotected (not using a condom) vaginal, oral or anal sex
  • not using a condom when sharing sex toys
  • not washing sex toys after sharing them
  • infected semen or vaginal fluid getting into your eye
  • your genitals coming into direct contact with your partner's genitals

What Happens if You Don’t Treat Chlamydia?

If you have chlamydia and do not treat it, you can develop complications which can have a long-term impact. They include:


If chlamydia spreads to the testicles and the tubes carrying sperm from the testicles, those tubes can become swollen and painful, causing epididymitis (also known as epididymo-orchitis). Although this is a rare condition, it can lead to permanent infertility. It is usually treated with antibiotics.

Reactive arthritis

Sexually acquired reactive arthritis is known as SARA. If you have SARA, your joints, eyes or urethra become inflamed and sore. SARA is more common in men who have chlamydia. It usually improves in a few months and can be treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen.

How is Chlamydia Diagnosed in Men?

For men, genital chlamydia is usually diagnosed with a urine test. Women typically have a swab test which takes bacteria from their vagina. A lab will then use the test to identify the type of bacteria causing the infection. You can get tested at your doctor or a sexual health clinic. You can also buy a test online from Superdrug Online Doctor. We send the test in discreet packaging for you to take at home, and you will get the results within 2 to 3 days of us receiving your sample.

When should I get tested?

If you have had unprotected sex with a new sexual partner and have no symptoms, wait 2 weeks and then take a chlamydia test. If you have symptoms you think are caused by chlamydia, you can test sooner than 2 weeks, but you may have to repeat the test after 2 weeks if you get a negative result.Always get tested if you or your partner develop any symptoms that could be caused by chlamydia.If you are sexually active, take a test every year or every time you have a new partner.

Do I need to test again after I have taken treatment for chlamydia?

Doctors recommend testing again for chlamydia 6 weeks after treatment to ensure the infection has cleared up. It is very common to get reinfected with chlamydia within 6 months of infection, so retaking the test can help reduce the risk of passing on the infection without knowing.

How to Treat Chlamydia

Chlamydia is usually treated with an antibiotic called Doxycycline. You need a prescription from a doctor to take doxycycline. It’s often prescribed for you once your test results are back, but if it is very likely that you have been infected, you may be prescribed it immediately.

Here at Superdrug Online Doctor, we can prescribe you doxycycline treatment for chlamydia in three easy steps:

  1. Complete a short, confidential online questionnaire
  2. Our doctors will review your answers and prescribe your medication
  3. It is delivered discreetly to your door, or you can collect it from one of our stores

If you are allergic to doxycycline or if you have other conditions, doctors may prescribe you a different antibiotic called azithromycin.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you cannot take doxycycline, so alternative antibiotics like amoxicillin or erythromycin may be prescribed.

What is the success rate of treatment for chlamydia?

Antibiotics are 95% effective in treating chlamydia if you start them promptly and complete the course.

Although antibiotics stop the infection, it is very common to get chlamydia again from a new infection. It is essential to take precautions to avoid getting it again. Use condoms and wash shared sex toys.

How long does it take for chlamydia to go away after treatment?

Symptoms normally start to clear up quickly as you start taking the antibiotics, but you must finish the whole course to ensure the infection has completely gone.

If you finish the antibiotics and you still have symptoms, get advice from your doctor as soon as possible.

When can I have sex again after treatment?

When you can have sex again after taking treatment for chlamydia depends on which antibiotic you have been prescribed. Always follow your doctor’s instructions to ensure you do not pass the infection onto others.

  • Doxycycline: finish the whole course
  • Azithromycin: wait seven days after finishing treatment

How do I know if chlamydia has gone after treatment?

You can only tell if chlamydia has cleared up by taking another test. However, if you have finished the course and no longer have symptoms, it is highly likely that the infection has gone.

Do not test earlier than 6 weeks after finishing your treatment as the result may still be positive even if the infection has cleared.

How to Reduce the Risk of a Chlamydia Infection

You can reduce your risk of catching chlamydia and also passing it on if you do have it by:

  • using a condom, including for oral and anal sex
  • using a dental dam (a piece of soft, thin plastic) for the female genitals during oral sex
  • avoiding sharing sex toys
  • if you do share sex toys, use condoms over them and wash them carefully

Regular testing is also an important part of knowing if you have chlamydia and preventing the spread. It is recommended you get tested once a year and when you have sex with a new partner.

Women under 25 years old may be offered tests as part of the National Chlamydia Screening Programme (NCSP).


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