Chlamydia in men: Everything you need to know

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By
Timothy Huzar    
Reviewed
by Jill Seladi-Schulman, PhD
Symptoms | Transmission | Treatment | Prevention | Complications | Seeing a doctor


Chlamydia
is a common sexually transmitted infection. Anyone can have chlamydia, but it
may affect males and females differently.
According to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is the most commonly reported
bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States.
In this article, learn about
the symptoms of chlamydia in males, as well as its transmission, treatments,
and possible complications.
Symptoms
of chlamydia in males
Most people with chlamydia do
not experience any symptoms. If a person does have symptoms, these may not
develop for several weeks after the initial infection.
The CDC note that if a male
experiences chlamydia symptoms, they will typically arise from one of two
complications: urethritis or epididymitis.
Urethritis
Urethritis is an infection of
the urethra, the tube that runs through the penis.
The typical symptoms of
urethritis in men include:

  • discharge from the penis
  • dysuria, or pain while
    urinating
  • stinging or itching in the
    urethra
  • irritation at the tip of the
    penis
Epididymitis
Epididymitis is an infection
of a tube at the back of the testicles that stores and carries sperm.
According to the Urology Care
Foundation, a person with epididymitis will experience pain in the testicle,
and it may spread to the groin.
Other
symptoms
Chlamydia can also affect the
rectum. If a person experiences rectal symptoms, these may include:

  • rectal pain
  • discharge
  • bleeding
Chlamydia can cause
conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the eye, but this is rare.
Chlamydia can also infect the
throat, but most people will not experience this or other symptoms. If they do,
they may have a sore throat.
Transmission
According to the CDC,
chlamydia is typically transmitted through sexual contact, but it can occur
whenever the bacteria enters another person’s body.
Transmission usually takes
place during penetrative sex, whether vaginal or anal. However, it can also
spread through oral sex or the sharing of sex toys.
Even if a person has received
treatment for chlamydia, it is still possible for them to become infected
again.
Treatment
In the vast majority of cases,
antibiotics can successfully treat chlamydia. Typical antibiotics for chlamydia
include azithromycin and doxycycline. Chlamydia treatment is the same for males
and females.
A doctor may prescribe
antibiotics as a single larger dose or as a series of smaller doses over 7
days.
To make sure that they do not
transmit the infection, a person should avoid having sex for 7 days after a
single dose of antibiotics, or until the completion of a 7-day course of
antibiotics.
It is vital for a person with
chlamydia to inform any sexual partners, as they may also need testing and
treatment. Some health services offer to contact previous sexual partners
anonymously.
Taking antibiotics exactly as
prescribed will help prevent side effects. It may also help reduce antibiotic
resistance in the general population.
Prevention
Chlamydia is typically spread
through sexual contact, so using barrier protection, such as latex condoms, is
an effective way to prevent infection.
Ways to prevent chlamydia
transmission include:

  • using a condom during
    penetrative sex
  • using a condom on a penis
    during oral sex
  • using a dental dam over female
    genitals during oral sex
  • either not sharing sex toys or
    cleaning and using barrier protection over sex toys
Complications
With treatment, people rarely experience
complications from a chlamydia infection. However, without treatment, chlamydia
in males may cause or increase the risk of:

  • prostatitis, the inflammation
    of the prostate gland
  • scarring of the urethra
  • infertility
  • epididymitis, an infection of
    a tube in the testicle
The American College of
Rheumatology report that chlamydia infections can also cause reactive
arthritis. The symptoms of reactive arthritis are pain in a person’s heels,
toes, fingers, lower back, or joints.
When
to see a doctor
Most people do not experience
any symptoms of chlamydia. It is therefore essential to get tested regularly,
including whenever a person starts seeing a new sexual partner.
If an individual experiences
chlamydia symptoms, it is essential to see a doctor for a diagnosis. Many of
the symptoms are similar to those of other infections, which may require
different treatments.
Likewise, if a person’s
symptoms have not gone away after a course of antibiotics, they should return
to the doctor.
If an individual learns that
they have chlamydia, it is crucial to inform recent sexual partners, so that
they can also receive testing and treatment.
SOURCE:
MEDICAL NEWS TODAY
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.