WARNING: The Embarrassing Bodies website contains images of an explicit medical nature and nudity in a medical context.

NHS Choices Condition

Content supplied by NHS Choices

If chlamydia is not treated it can spread to other parts of the body and cause long-term problems.

Women

In women, if chlamydia is not treated it can spread to other reproductive organs causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and inflammation of the cervix (cervicitis), fallopian tubes (salpingitis) and Bartholin's glands (Bartholinitis).

Infection with chlamydia during pregnancy may also be linked to early miscarriage or premature birth of the baby.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Chlamydial infection is one of the main causes of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women. PID is an infection of the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes that can cause infertility, persistent pelvic pain and an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy. The condition can be treated using antibiotics, and early treatment will reduce the risk of infertility. You should avoid having sexual intercourse while receiving treatment for PID.

Cervicitis

Cervicitis is an inflammation of the neck of the womb, the cervix. It often causes no symptoms but you may experience some discomfort, have a vaginal discharge containing pus or irregular bleeding. Some people also experience pain during intercourse and urinary symptoms, such as the need to urinate more often, and a burning pain when they urinate. When left untreated cervicitis causes the cervix to become enlarged and cervical cysts to develop, which may become infected. Chronic (long term) cervicitis can cause backache, deep pelvic pain, and a persistent vaginal discharge.

Salpingitis

Infection with chlamydia can cause a blockage of the fallopian tubes. This may prevent eggs from passing along, or entering the tubes. Even a partial blockage of the fallopian tubes will increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy occurring. This is when a fertilised egg is implanted outside of the womb, usually in a fallopian tube..Microsurgery can sometimes be used to effectively treat a blockage.

Bartholinitis

The glands that produce the lubricating mucus to make sexual intercourse easier are known as the Bartholin's glands. They are situated on either side of the vaginal opening. Infection with chlamydia can cause the glands to become blocked and infected and lead to a Bartholin's cyst. A cyst is usually painless but if it becomes infected it can lead to a pus-filled Bartholin's abscess. An abscess is usually red, very tender and painful to touch, and can cause a fever. An infected abscess  will need to be treated with antibiotics.

Men

Urethritis

Urethritis in men is inflammation of the urethra (the urine tube) that runs along the underside of the penis. Symptoms include a white or cloudy discharge from the tip of the penis, a burning or painful sensation when you urinate, the urge to urinate often and irritation and soreness around the tip of the penis. If left untreated a urethral stricture can occur, this can seriously interfere with the flow of urine and lead to back pressure which can damage the kidneys. Urethritis can be treated with antibiotics.

Epididymitis

Epididymitis is the inflammation of the epididymis, a long tube that connects the testes (where sperm are produced) to the vas deferens (a pair of ducts where sperm collect ready for ejaculation through the urethra).  An infected epididymis can become inflamed, causing swelling and tenderness in the affected area of the scrotum. Infection can lead to an accumulation of fluid in the area or even an abscess.  If left untreated epididymitis can lead to you becoming infertile.

Reactive arthritis

Reactive arthritis develops as a reaction to an infection, such as chlamydia. Symptoms include inflammation of the joints (arthritis), the urethra (urethritis) and the eyes (conjunctivitis). Although chlamydia can sometimes cause inflammation of the joints in women, reactive arthritis is more likely to occur in men. There is no cure for arthritis and although symptoms usually get better in three to 12 months, they can recur after this. Symptoms can be controlled by non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibruprofen.

view information about Chlamydia on www.nhs.co.uk »

Important Notice

The information provided on this website (including any NHS Choices medical information) is for use as information or for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical care by a qualified doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. We do not warrant that any information included within this site will meet your health or medical requirements. This Embarrassing Bodies site does not provide any medical or diagnostic services so you should always check with a health professional if you have any concerns about your health.


If you want to embed our videos in your site, read our embedding T&Cs here