Symptoms of chlamydia 

Most people who have chlamydia don't notice any symptoms.

If you do get symptoms, these usually appear between one and three weeks after having unprotected sex with an infected person. For some people they don't develop until many months later.

Sometimes the symptoms can disappear after a few days. Even if the symptoms disappear you may still have the infection and be able to pass it on.

Symptoms in women

At least 70% of women with chlamydia don't notice any symptoms. If they do get symptoms, the most common include: 

  • pain when urinating
  • unusual vaginal discharge
  • pain in the tummy or pelvis
  • pain or bleeding during sex
  • bleeding after sex
  • bleeding between periods
  • heavier periods than usual

If chlamydia is left untreated, it can spread to the womb and cause a serious condition called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This is a major cause of ectopic pregnancy and infertility in women.

Read more about the complications of chlamydia.

Symptoms in men

At least half of all men with chlamydia don't notice any symptoms. If they do get symptoms, the most common include: 

  • pain when urinating
  • white, cloudy or watery discharge from the tip of the penis 
  • burning or itching in the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body)
  • pain in the testicles

If chlamydia is left untreated, the infection can cause swelling in the epididymis (the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles) and the testicles. This could affect your fertility.

Read more about the complications of chlamydia.

Chlamydia in the rectum, throat or eyes

Chlamydia can also infect:

  • the rectum (back passage) if you have unprotected anal sex – this can cause discomfort and discharge from your rectum
  • the throat if you have unprotected oral sex – this is uncommon and usually causes no symptoms
  • the eyes if they come into contact with infected semen or vaginal fluid – this can cause eye redness, pain and discharge (conjunctivitis)

When to seek medical advice

If you have any symptoms of chlamydia, visit your GP, community contraceptive service or local genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic as soon as possible. Search for sexual health services near you.

You should also get tested if you don't have any symptoms but are concerned you could have a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

If you're sexually active and under 25 years old, you should get tested for chlamydia every year or every time you have a new partner. You can find your local service on the National Chlamydia Screening Programme website.

Read more about getting tested for chlamydia.

Page last reviewed: 10/06/2015

Next review due: 10/06/2017