Chlamydia Symptoms In Women

What Are the Symptoms of Chlamydia in Women?

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection. Chlamydia in women often remains symptomless and it can go undetected for a long time. Which symptoms does female chlamydia cause and how can you diagnose it? Find out how to spot the infection early on and stay safe.

Which Symptoms Are Common in Women?

The most common symptoms of chlamydia in women are:

  • unusual vaginal discharge
  • pain or burning sensation during urination
  • frequent urination

These symptoms typically appear within 1 - 3 weeks after you have been infected by a partner. However, the majority of women who catch the infection never experience any symptoms. Often, they are unaware that they are infected. As a result, chlamydia continues to be a very common sexually transmitted infection, especially amongst young men and women.

Don’t rely on symptoms to tell whether or not you have chlamydia. If you have had unprotected sex with a partner who has not recently tested negative you should get tested. You can either visit a local GUM clinic or order your test kit online.

What Does Chlamydia Discharge in Women Look Like?

The most well-known chlamydia symptom is unusual discharge. It is normal to experience discharge from the vagina on a regular basis but if you notice any changes, you ought to get tested. Discharge caused by chlamydia does not always look the same, so any change you notice could be a sign of infection. If your discharge changes in smell, colour or quantity you should always consult a doctor. 

I Am Experiencing Bleeding Between Periods - Do I Have Chlamydia?

If a chlamydia infection progresses and causes cervicitis or pelvic inflammatory disease, it can also cause bleeding between periods. If you experience spotting or bleeding between periods and have not recently started or changed your hormonal contraceptive, this could be a sign of an underlying problem like chlamydia. 

Chlamydia and Cervicitis

Cervicitis is a common condition, which can have various causes. Cervicitis is an inflammation of the cervix and it can be caused by an allergic reaction, injury or irritation. It can also be caused by chlamydia.

Typical symptoms of cervicitis are:

  • unusual bleeding
  • bleeding after sex
  • grey or pale yellow discharge
  • pain during sex
  • problems with urination
  • pain during urination
  • frequent urination

If cervicitis is not treated, it can develop into pelvic inflammatory disease.

Can Chlamydia Cause PID Symptoms?

If you have chlamydia for a long time, you can develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) as a result. This happens, when the chlamydia infection spreads and affects your womb, fallopian tubes or ovaries.

PID can cause the following symptoms:

  • abdominal pain
  • pain during sex
  • pain during urination
  • bleeding between periods
  • unusually painful or heavy periods
  • unusual discharge (may be green or yellow)

PID can also sometimes cause severe symptoms, such as severe pain in the abdomen, fever, nausea and vomiting.

In many cases, PID does not cause any obvious symptoms. However, this doesn’t mean that it is harmless. PID can cause irreparable damage to your reproductive organs and make you infertile if it is not treated.

You can prevent getting PID as a result of an STI by getting tested for sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea on a regular basis and by using a condom every time you have sex.

PID is treated with antibiotics, which are either taken by mouth or given by injection. The course usually lasts for 14 days.

How Quickly Does Chlamydia Turn Into PID?

There is no general rule of thumb to explain how long it takes for chlamydia to turn into PID. Many women who have chlamydia never develop PID, whereas others might do so within a few weeks or months after getting infected. You should see a doctor as soon as you notice any symptoms of PID and get checked for chlamydia if you believe you could have it.

Bleeding During Sex - a Sign of Chlamydia?

Bleeding during sex can be a sign of cervicitis. As chlamydia is a risk factor for cervicitis, it could indicate that you have chlamydia. However, there could be other reasons why you may experience unusual bleeding, for example injury or a side effect from your contraceptive pill.

Does Chlamydia Increase the Risk of an Ectopic Pregnancy?

As PID can cause scarring to your fallopian tubes, it also increases your risk of an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy occurs, when an egg develops outside the womb. It is a very dangerous condition which needs to be diagnosed and treated as early as possible. As chlamydia increases your risk of PID, it also increases your risk of an ectopic pregnancy.

Chlamydia During Pregnancy - What Are the Risks?

In the UK, all pregnant women are invited to a routine chlamydia test at the beginning of their pregnancy. Chlamydia screening is highly recommended for women who are pregnant or planning for a baby, as chlamydia can be passed to the infant during childbirth.

Although the infection is relatively harmless in adults, it can have life-threatening consequences for babies as it can cause pneumonia. It is also possible for the baby to develop chlamydial conjunctivitis (an eye infection) as a result of being exposed to the bacteria during birth. Chlamydial conjunctivitis is one of the main preventable causes for blindness in children.

If you are diagnosed with chlamydia during pregnancy, you will be given an antibiotic treatment to clear the infection before the birth and protect your baby.

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