Chlamydia is a
common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by
the bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis, which can
damage a woman’s reproductive organs. Many people experience no signs and
symptoms. The disease isn't difficult to treat once
you know you have it. If it's left untreated,
however, chlamydia can lead to more serious health
estimated one in two sexually active women will have
had chlamydia by the time they're 30 years old.
The disease affects both men and women and occurs
in all age groups, though it's most prevalent among
teenagers. Seventy-five percent of chlamydia
infections occur in people under 25.
Left untreated, chlamydia can lead to or be associated with other health
problems, such as:
immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
with chlamydia are at three to five times greater risk of acquiring
HIV than are women not infected with chlamydia.
inflammatory disease (PID).
PID is an
infection of your uterus and fallopian tubes. Although it may cause
no signs or symptoms, PID can damage the fallopian tubes, ovaries
and uterus, including the cervix. Untreated PID can lead to
abscesses in the fallopian tubes and ovaries. The infection can
cause scarring that may lead to infertility. Other possible
long-term consequences include chronic pelvic pain and lingering
infection. Each year, about 1 million U.S. women develop PID. And
chlamydia is responsible for about half those cases. Up to 40
percent of women who have untreated chlamydia develop PID. About 20
percent of women with PID become infertile, almost 20 percent
experience chronic pelvic pain and nearly 10 percent will have a
pregnancy in one of their fallopian tubes.
A chlamydia infection can inflame the epididymis, a coiled tube
located beside each testicle. Epididymitis may result in fever,
scrotal pain and swelling.
The chlamydia organism can spread to your prostate gland.
Prostatitis may result in pain during or after sex, fever and
chills, painful urination, and lower back pain.
If you engage in anal sex, the chlamydia organism can
cause rectal inflammation. This can result in rectal pain and mucus
Touching your eye with a hand moistened with infectious secretions
can cause an eye infection. Left untreated, the eye infection can
result in blindness.
The chlamydia infection can pass from your vaginal
canal to your child during delivery, causing pneumonia or an eye
infection that can lead to blindness.