Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted Infection (STI) that can go undetected for long periods of time due to the lack of symptoms. This is why it’s so common, as many people do not realise that they are infected and do not take the appropriate precautions to protect themselves and their sexual partners. Many men and women can have the infection but not experience any symptoms; however some people do notice that they have unusual discharge and a burning sensation when they urinate. Read on to find out how changes to your genital discharge could be a sign that you are infected with chlamydia.
What is discharge?
A fluid that is created by the glands inside the cervix and vagina, it transports dead cells and bacteria out of the vagina. It helps to keep the vagina healthy and clean, and is perfectly normal.
Chlamydia discharge and women
It is completely normal to experience vaginal discharge, as it is produced by the glands in your vagina and cervix to help keep your vagina clean and healthy. It’s important that you know what is normal for you so that you can recognise any changes. Your discharge will change throughout your menstrual cycle, but if you have had unprotected sex (sex without a condom) and notice anything out of the ordinary, it is advised that you go for an STI test. You can either visit your GP, a GUM (Genitourinary Medicine) clinic or order a test online from a service like Online Doctor.
What does chlamydia discharge look like?
Discharge caused by cervicitis (the infection of the uterine cervix), is the most common sign of chlamydia in women. The discharge can appear to be milky and white in colour; however, discharge caused by chlamydia does not always look the same. It can vary from woman to woman; therefore any changes to the discharge that you normally produce could be a sign of infection. Whether the smell, colour, consistency or amount has changed can all be signs that you may have chlamydia. Women may also experience the need to urinate frequently which is accompanied by a burning sensation when they do so, very similar to that of a urinary tract infection (UTI). Other symptoms to look out for are pain during or after sex and bleeding between periods.
Men and chlamydia discharge
Similarly the signs of chlamydia for men include discharge and painful urination. If you notice any discharge from the tip of your penis or your rectum, it is advisable that you get checked by a healthcare professional and tested for chlamydia. Chlamydia can infect the urethra (the tube where urine comes out of) and cause a urinary tract infection (UTI), resulting in a burning sensation when you urinate. This tends to be accompanied by discharge from the tip of the penis, which varies depending on the individual. It can look white, cloudy and watery or yellow and pus-like. Occasionally the discharge will not be present until it is squeezed out of the urethra. This discharge can also be accompanied by burning or itching sensations around the opening of the penis, which can be extremely unpleasant. If you notice any discharge, bleeding or pain in your rectum it is also advised that you get tested for STIs.
How can I catch chlamydia?
Chlamydia can be contracted from unprotected vaginal, anal and oral sex with someone who has the infection. Find out how else it can be transmitted here.
What are the symptoms of chlamydia?
Those infected with chlamydia tend to experience no symptoms, however if they do these can include bleeding between periods and painful urination. Find out more about the signs of chlamydia in men and women here.