It is important to understand that focusing on signs and symptoms is not very useful in determining if someone is infected with chlamydia. First, the symptoms of chlamydia are similar to the symptoms of gonorrhea, and the two infections are often confused. Also, approximately, 75% of women and 50% of men do not experience symptoms. So, most people who are infected will not be able to tell from symptoms.
If a person does have symptoms, they usually develop within one to three weeks after exposure to chlamydia. How long a person remains infectious (able to transmit the bacteria to others) is difficult to determine since so many people are asymptomatic. A person must be considered infectious from the time they become infected until treatment is completed.
Men, women and infants
- Both men and women can experience proctitis (inflamed rectum), urethritis (inflamed urethra) and conjunctivitis (inflamed eyelid).
- Most infections of the mouth and throat are asymptomatic. If present, symptoms are soreness and redness in the throat or mouth.
- The most common complications in newborns include conjunctivitis (pink eye) and pneumonia.
- Most women do not experience any symptoms, but if symptoms are present they may be minor. Symptoms may include:
- vaginal discharge, or
- burning sensation during urination.
If the infection spreads to the fallopian tubes, women may experience
- lower abdominal and lower back pain,
- pain during intercourse,
- bleeding between menstrual periods
- nausea or fever
Men may be asymptomatic or symptoms may be minor. When men do have symptoms, they may experience one or more of the following:
- pus (thick yellow-white fluid) or watery or milky discharge from the penis
- pain or burning during urination
- pain or swelling of the testicle