Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease that you should treat as soon as you notice symptoms or have reason to believe you’ve contracted the disease. Chlamydia is bacterial and sometimes will not cause outward symptoms; however, one common symptom in woman is a vaginal discharge, while men are slightly less likely to have discharge from their penis.
In cases of Chlamydia contact during anal sex, this discharge can come from the anus, typically along with bleeding and immense pain. Infection during oral sex does not often lead to a discharge that is noticeable, because of the infection’s position in the throat or back of the mouth if sores are present, but it will present as an infection with fever, cough and painful swallowing.
Vary rarely Chlamydia will also cause a discharge in other body areas because it can be passed to through touch. According to the Freedom Health Network, Chlamydia can even present in the eyes.
Discharge is among the most common of symptoms and it will occur in about 30% of infected people, typically one to three weeks after the initial infection. Thankfully, Chlamydia is bacterial so you can take antibiotics to treat your STD. Common antibiotics for treating an infection are azithromycin, a single-dose treatment, and doxycycline, which must be taken for about a week. Be sure to follow all medication instructions from your doctor to be sure that the infection clears up.
If you’re concerned about an infection please note that other symptoms of Chlamydia can include:
- Burning feeling during urination.
- Pain in the lower abdomen.
- Pain in the testicles.
- Painful during sexual intercourse in women.
- Bleeding between periods.
Unfortunately Chlamydia is one of the most common STDs in the United States – the Center for Disease Control actually says it is the most frequently reported sexually transmitted disease but some studies disagree. It impacts nearly 3 million people each year, but few get tested because under one-third exhibit symptoms. If you have symptoms, read on to help recognize them, but if you feel you may be at risk even without symptoms it is best to get checked out by your medical professional.
Recognizing Women’s Discharge
Vaginal discharge is a common occurrence among women, and it does not always mean there is cause for concern. Often it will occur during your cycle as a way to help the vagina stay clean and maintain a proper pH level.
Women should familiarize themselves with their common discharge and even its smell to help determine if something is amiss.
Normal discharge, for the average woman, will look like the following, but remember that everyone is unique and your normal may be slightly different:
- Discharge is mostly clear or white, though it may dry with a yellow tint.
- Any smell or scent is mild or not present. This may naturally change during your cycle but should not smell unpleasant.
- Texture can vary, but it will likely be sticky and somewhat stretchy. Again, this changes during a normal cycle and during arousal.
- Volume is typically low during most days with an increase around ovulation.
Columbia University’s healthcare service says that women should be concerned when their vaginal discharge is like any of the following:
- Yellowish or greenish discharge.
- A discharge that suddenly changes colors.
- A strong and bad odor; this can be an overly “fishy” smell.
- Any sudden change in odor.
- Clumpy discharge that has the texture of cottage cheese.
- A significant increase in volume when any other symptoms are present.
Discharge that is specific to Chlamydia can have any of the above changes. In women, these signal an infection or other issue and should be addressed immediately. Some medical professionals give a slightly different profile for Chlamydia discharge, as well as other discharges due to STDs. This profile includes:
- It has a deep yellow color or can be milky-white. It looks like pus.
- It is much thicker than a woman’s normal discharge. The texture will also change from what is normally experienced.
- A very bad smell is also present, even when the discharge volume is small.
- It may be accompanied by blood.
Discharge in Men
Discharge in men is less common and any discharge should be treated as a cause for concern. Any constant discharge from the penis is typically viewed as a sign of infection, either the cause of an STD or a urinary tract infection.
In men, a Chlamydia discharge is often watery and accompanied by painful urination. The infection will often cause burning down the length of the penis, felt most severely at the tip or head. Men will also feel the need to urinate more frequently because of this discharge. It may also be accompanied by an itching sensation.
This discharge will have a consistency of pus and will often sit attached the tip of the penis. It is a fairly consistent discharge and may bubble.
Men also often experience a pain and swelling in the testicles, which does not necessarily coincide with the timing of additional discharge or other symptoms.
Testing and Diagnosis
If you feel you may have any of the above symptoms or have come into sexual contact with someone you think may have had Chlamydia, it is best to get yourself tested immediately. Chlamydia that is left untreated can spread in your body and have a long-term impact on fertility in both men and women.
Doctors at the Mayo Clinic suggest that sexually active men and women age 25 or younger get tested for Chlamydia because the rate of infection is highest for this group – especially for women. However, it is always a good idea to get tested when you have a new sexual partner.
Pregnant women should also get tested for Chlamydia during their first prenatal exam. If you have sex during the pregnancy or change partners during your pregnancy, it is best to get tested again. Chlamydia can spread to newborns and also impact them during a pregnancy as a fetus develops in her mother.
The best approach to discharge in both men and women is to seek out a doctor if anything looks out of the ordinary.