Chlamydia in Men
Chlamydia is a bacterial infection caused by the organism Chlamydia trachomatis, which spreads through sexual contact (vaginal, oral, or anal) with an infected individual or due to close genital contact. This sexually transmitted disease can affect both males and females.
Risk factors of Chlamydia
- Sex with an infected individual
- Man-to-man sexual contact
- Sex with multiple partners
Asymptomatic in a majority of cases, one or more of the following symptoms may show after a few days to weeks after exposure to the infection:
- Discharge from the penis
- Burning during urination
- Painful sex
- Swelling or pain in the testicles
- Itching or burning on the penis tip
Apart from the genitals, Chlamydia may also affect:
- The rectum or anus (through unprotected anal sex) causing pain, discharge, or bleeding from the anus;
- Eyes (through contact with infected vaginal or seminal fluid) leading to conjunctivitis or
- Throat (through unprotected oral sex) resulting in sore throat.
Diagnosis of Chlamydia
If you had potential exposure to an individual who is at high risk of being infected, it is recommended to get screened for common STDs/STIs (sexually transmitted diseases/ infections) along with Chlamydia since several STDs mimic the symptoms of Chlamydia.
Chlamydia can be tested with a blood sample by screening for Chlamydia antibodies. The Chlamydia test of choice is testing the urine sample with the DNA PCR method to detect Chlamydia organisms directly. A swab test with a sample taken from the urethra can also be done.
Treatment of Chlamydia
Chlamydia infection is easily treatable with a course of antibiotics like doxycycline and azithromycin if detected early. Both partners are advised to take the treatment simultaneously even if only one partner has the symptoms.
Prevention for Chlamydia
- Practice safe sex: use condoms, dental dams, etc.
- Get routine testing for STDs when you have a new partner
- Maintain proper hygiene
Complications after Chlamydia
Complications may occur if Chlamydia is left untreated.
Erectile Dysfunction is a long-term complication of untreated Chlamydia. Chlamydia can travel through the urethra and reach the prostate gland to cause prostatitis i.e. inflammation of the prostate gland. Prostatitis can cause swelling of the prostate gland that may hamper the blood flow to the penile region and thus, affect erection.
Chlamydia may also cause epididymitis i.e. inflammation of the epididymis, the sperm carrying tube. This may lead to infertility. Rarely, Chlamydia may reach the testicles resulting in pain and swelling, and hence, having sex becomes painful.
In some cases, a chlamydia infection can cause reactive arthritis which is a type of arthritis, that occurs as a result of the body’s reaction to the infection.