Chlamydia, Female

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Chlamydia, Female

Chlamydia, Female

A female body showing the reproductive organs, with a close-up view of the uterus, cervix, and vagina.

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). This infection spreads through sexual contact.

Chlamydia can occur in different areas of the body, including:
  • The urethra. This is the part of the body that drains urine from the bladder.
  • The cervix. This is the lowest part of the uterus.
  • The throat.
  • The rectum.

This condition is not difficult to treat. However, if left untreated, chlamydia can lead to more serious health problems, including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can increase your risk of being unable to have children. In pregnant women, untreated chlamydia can cause serious complications during pregnancy or health problems for the baby after delivery.

What are the causes?

This condition is caused by a bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis. The bacteria are spread from an infected partner during sexual activity. Chlamydia can spread through contact with the genitals, mouth, or rectum.

What increases the risk?

The following factors may make you more likely to develop this condition:
  • Not using a condom the right way or not using a condom every time you have sex.
  • Having a new sex partner or having more than one sex partner.
  • Being sexually active before age 25.

What are the signs or symptoms?

In some cases, there are no symptoms, especially early in the infection.

If symptoms develop, they may include:
  • Urinating often, or a burning feeling during urination.
  • Redness, soreness, or swelling of the vagina or rectum.
  • Discharge coming from the vagina or rectum.
  • Pain in the abdomen.
  • Pain during sex.
  • Bleeding between menstrual periods or irregular periods.

How is this diagnosed?

This condition may be diagnosed with:
  • Urine tests.
  • Swab tests. Depending on your symptoms, your health care provider may use a cotton swab to collect a fluid sample from your vagina, rectum, nose, or throat to test for the bacteria.
  • A pelvic exam.

How is this treated?

This condition is treated with antibiotic medicines.

Follow these instructions at home:

Sexual activity

  • Tell your sex partner or partners about your infection. These include any partners for oral, anal, or vaginal sex that you have had within 60 days of when your symptoms started. Sex partners should also be treated, even if they have no signs of the infection.
  • Do not have sex until you and your sex partners have completed treatment and your health care provider says it is okay. If your health care provider prescribed you a single-dose medicine as treatment, wait at least 7 days after taking the medicine before having sex.

General instructions

  • Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines as told by your health care provider. Finish all antibiotic medicine even when you start to feel better.
  • It is up to you to get your test results. Ask your health care provider, or the department that is doing the test, when your results will be ready.
  • Keep all follow-up visits. This is important. You may need to be tested for infection again 3 months after treatment.

How is this prevented?

Three male condoms in different colors.

You can lower your risk of getting chlamydia by:
  • Using latex or polyurethane condoms correctly every time you have sex.
  • Not having multiple sex partners.
  • Asking if your sex partner has been tested for STIs and had negative results.
  • Getting regular health screenings to check for STIs.

Contact a health care provider if:

  • You develop new symptoms or your symptoms are getting worse.
  • Your symptoms do not get better after treatment.
  • You have a fever or chills.
  • You have pain during sex.
  • You have irregular menstrual periods, or you have bleeding between periods or after sex.
  • You develop flu-like symptoms, such as night sweats, sore throat, or muscle aches.
  • You are unable to take your antibiotic medicine as prescribed.


  • Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that is caused by bacteria. This infection spreads through sexual contact.
  • This condition is treated with antibiotic medicines. If left untreated, chlamydia can lead to more serious health problems, including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
  • Your sex partners will also need to be treated. Do not have sex until both you and your partner have been treated.
  • Take medicines as directed by your health care provider and keep all follow-up visits to ensure your infection has been completely treated.

This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.