Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease, also known as a STD. This means you can get it by having unprotected sex with someone who is infected. However, you can prevent an infection by having safe sex with, for example, a condom.
The STD is caused by bacteria. The bacteria causes an infection of the urethra, cervix, rectum or throat. It’s one of the most common STDs in the Netherlands. Pregnant women who have chlamydia can infect their baby during delivery. This can result in an eye infection and respiratory infections in the baby.
You can have chlamydia without knowing it. This means you can infect others without realising it.
Women can suffer from the following symptoms:
- Burning sensation when urinating.
- Pain when urinating.
- Pain in the lower abdomen.
- Vaginal discharge, which is more than usual or looks different than usual.
- Pain during sex.
- Bleeding during sex.
Women can become less fertile from chlamydia.
Men can suffer from the following symptoms:
- Pain or a burning sensation when urinating.
- Discharge from the penis. The discharge is transparent to yellow-green in colour, also referred to as the clap.
- Pain in the scrotum.
There are also other symptoms which can occur in both men and women:
- Inflamed mucous membrane of the anus after anal sex. This can cause itching, pain or a burning sensation. There may also be blood, mucus or pus in your stool.
- Pain in your joints.
- Sore throat after oral sex.
Practicing safe sex with a condom will prevent chlamydia. You can also prevent chlamydia during oral sex by using a condom or other means of contraception, such as a dental dam.
It’s important you let all your sex partners of the last six months know if you’ve been diagnosed with chlamydia. They can then also be tested. It will also reduce the chance of them subsequently infecting their own sex partners. If you feel embarrassed about informing your sex partners about the STD, you also have the option of doing so anonymously via various websites. They will then be informed they’ve had sex with someone with chlamydia, but will not be shown any names.
It’s important to arrange for a test at your GP or the GGD if you think you’ve contracted chlamydia. Whether or not you have chlamydia won't be visible for three weeks after the infection. Men are tested with a urine test. You will need to urinate in a urine sample bottle, which will then be examined by the doctor. The doctor can determine whether you have chlamydia. Urine often isn’t enough for women and cells from the vagina will therefore need to be examined. Women will be given a cotton swab which they can use to collect a sample from their vagina themselves. You will be given antibiotics to kill the bacteria if you have chlamydia. It’s important not to stop your antibiotic plan in the meantime, even if you’re no longer suffering from chlamydia symptoms. Bacteria can remain if you don't finish your antibiotic plan, which means you will continue to have chlamydia.