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Chlamydia in Males

Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers in the U.S. Caused by bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis, it most often starts as an infection of the urethra. The urethra is the tube urine passes through in the penis.

You must see a doctor to check if you have chlamydia.

What are the symptoms?

Twenty percent of men with chlamydia have no symptoms. Some symptoms of chlamydia include:

  • discharge (drip) from the penis that is usually white or clear
  • pain or burning when going to the bathroom
  • having to go to the bathroom a lot
  • pain or swelling in and around the testicles.

How long will it last?

The outcome of a chlamydial infection depends on:

  • the length of time you have been infected
  • how bad the infection is
  • the number of previous chlamydial infections you have had.

If only the urethra is infected, proper treatment should clear up the infection in about 10 days.

If not treated, chlamydia can lead to scarring of the urethra, inability to urinate normally, and inflammation of the testicles. Testicle inflammation can cause you to not be able to have children.

What is the treatment?

  1. Antibiotics

    You will need to take the antibiotic prescribed by your doctor.

  2. Contacts

    Tell everyone with whom you have been sexually active in the last 3 months about your infection. They must also be treated even if they have no symptoms. Do not have sex until both you and your partner have finished all the medication.

  3. Prevention

    Because chlamydia is sexually transmitted, there are ways that you can help prevent this infection. Not having sex (abstinence) is the best method of prevention. Use of condoms is the next best method. In addition, you are less likely to get a sexually transmitted disease if you have just one sexual partner.

Call Your Physician During Office Hours If:

  • Your symptoms get worse.
  • You have other questions or concerns.

Written by David W. Kaplan, M.D., and the staff of the Adolescent Medicine Center, The Children's Hospital, Denver, Colorado.
Copyright 1999 Clinical Reference Systems