Chlamydia (genital chlamydial trachomatis) is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases, and it is passed on from one person to another by engaging in unprotected sexual activity. Although easily treatable, one of the most frightening things about this bacterial infection is that symptoms are often mild or unnoticeable, and it can lead to more serious health complications if left untreated. It is estimated that, in men, around 50% of infected individuals will have no symptoms whatsoever. This is why Chlamydia is derived from the Greek word meaning “cloak”. You should seek medical advice about chlamydia treatment if you suspect that you have put yourself at risk or have noticed any of the following warning symptoms.
Chlamydia Symptoms in Men
In men, the most frequently reported symptoms affect the genital region, and can cause:
- Tenderness or a dull ache in the testicles.
- A burning pain when urinating.
- Itchiness at the tip of the penis, caused by inflammation of the urethra.
- Any discharge from the penis, especially if it is clear or cloudy in colour.
Chlamydia can affect other areas of the body if you have engaged in other kinds of sexual activity, such as oral or anal sex, with an infected partner. The infection can, for example, cause discomfort in the eyes, rectum, and throat, and other potential symptoms include:
- Itchy or painful eyes, appearing almost like conjunctivitis.
- Discharge from the rectum which can be incredibly uncomfortable.
- A sore throat, swollen glands, or a fever. Many people infected in this manner do not notice any symptoms at all, and this is a much rarer symptom.
The only way to find out for certain whether you have chlamydia is to get tested by a medical professional. The chlamydia test is very simple and involves either providing a urine sample or having a swap taken from the infected area.
If chlamydia is left untreated, there can be serious implications for a man’s general and reproductive health. The infection can spread to the epididymis and testes, causing swelling and inflammation of the reproductive tract. In short, a persistent chlamydia infection damages sperm and can cause fertility problems. There have also been studies linking untreated chlamydia infections with a person’s susceptibility to arthritis, conjunctivitis, and rheumatological disorders.
Fortunately, treating chlamydia is straightforward, and around 95% of persons infected will be cured by receiving antibiotics. While this can take the form of a single dose, sometimes doctors will recommend a longer period of treatment. It is important to refrain from sexual activity until you have finished the prescribed course of antibiotics.
The risk of chlamydia can be prevented by abstaining from risky sexual activities and by having fewer sexual partners. If you are starting a new relationship, having both yourself and your new partner tested for sexually transmitted infections will also significantly decrease the likelihood of contracting chlamydia or experiencing long-term health problems caused by undiagnosed infection. A condom should be used during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Additionally, sex toys should also always be covered with a condom if they are being shared.