How Long Can A Person Have Chlamydia (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 1-2 weeks

A sexually transmitted disease ( or STD) that is seen in both men and women, chlamydia affects the human body due to a bacterium called chlamydia trachomatis. This disease is passed on through unprotected sex – be it vaginal, oral, or anal. Another means of transmission is the usage of sex toys that are also being used by an infected person.

If a pregnant woman is infected with chlamydia, she may transfer it to her child during the pregnancy, causing the child to contract pneumonia on birth and complicating or even preventing further pregnancies. However, it is not possible to contract chlamydia by kissing, hugging, or sharing towels with an infected person.

How Long Can A Person Have Chlamydia?

Duration of the disease (in days)
Majority of cases, (with no complications)7
Rare cases (with complications)14

People may contract chlamydia without displaying any of its symptoms. However, this does not mean it is not infectious. With treatment, chlamydia is cured in 7 days and in some cases, in 14. Usually, symptoms that you have contracted chlamydia may show up on your body from 1 to 3 weeks after transmission or they may not appear altogether. Men should lookout for the following symptoms of the disease –

  1. Burning sensation during urination
  2. Cloudy or clear discharge from the penis
  3. Burning and itching sensations in/around the penis
  4. Pain and/or swelling around testicles

Likewise, women should like out for the following symptoms –

  1. Abnormal vaginal discharge (which may smell)
  2. Bleeding between periods
  3. Abdominal pain accompanied by fever
  4. Pain during sex
  5. Painful urination
  6. Burning and itching sensations in/around the vagina
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Interestingly, even though chlamydia is an STD, it may show up in your throat or eyes too. While there are generally no symptoms when there is chlamydia in your throat, when in the eyes, you may experience redness, pain, and discharge from them.

Women under the age of 25 and older women with risk factors are more susceptible to this disease. Pregnant women, if undiagnosed, may have a great risk of their health and that of their baby’s. Thus, you must test somewhat regularly for chlamydia, especially if you have an active sex life. If you are worried you may have chlamydia or if your sex partner(s) got diagnosed with chlamydia, then you must discuss getting the test with your healthcare provider.

For the test, a urine sample may be taken or the doctor may take a swab from the symptomatic area.

Why Does A Person Have Chlamydia For That Long?

Chlamydia takes 1-2 weeks to be cured with treatment. It is relatively pretty easy to treat chlamydia. It can be cured by antibiotics since it is caused by bacteria. In most cases, the physician may prescribe you one large dose of the antibiotic Azithromycin. They may otherwise prescribe Doxycycline which must be taken twice a day for an entire week.

According to your medical situation, your health practitioner may prescribe you an antibiotic. The important thing is to carefully follow the doctor’s instructions to be sure that the infection is fully cured. Even with single-dose medications, this might take up to 14 days to happen. Meanwhile, it is essential to stop any sexual activity with another person. As your infection may take 7-14 days to clear up, there is a risk of transmitting it if you engage in sexual activity during that period.

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While chlamydia is cured easily, it is quite possible to contract it again. Therefore, depending on your doctor’s advice, you should get checked regularly for it.

It is very important to take chlamydia seriously and get it treated as soon as possible. If left untreated, it may cause long-term health complications, especially in women. In men, the infection may spread to the prostate gland or epididymis (tube holding testicles in place). In women, PID can occur as a result of chlamydia, leading to uterus damage or scarring of fallopian tubes, causing the woman to become infertile. It may also cause women to face difficult pregnancies.

Conclusion

The best way to prevent chlamydia for a sexually active person is to practice safe sex. This means using a condom with every new partner, getting tested regularly for STDs with new partners, and using dental dams during oral sex. You can protect yourself and your partner by being open about getting tested and using protection.

Always follow your doctor’s advice and prescription. Be honest about your situation to get proper treatment. In this way, chlamydia will not lead to any debilitating conditions in either men, women, or non-binary people.

References

  1. https://cmr.asm.org/content/8/4/451.short
  2. https://academic.oup.com/jid/article-abstract/179/Supplement_2/S380/2191462