not cause long-term problems if it is treated before any complications develop.
Left untreated, chlamydia can lead to many complications, especially for women.
If a woman has chlamydia when she gives birth, her newborn can be
Having a chlamydia infection that was cured does not
protect you from a future infection. A new exposure to chlamydia will reinfect
you, even if you were treated and cured.
increases your risk of becoming infected with
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) if you are exposed
to the virus.1
Untreated chlamydia can
cause a variety of complications.
Complications in women
Complications in pregnant women
Complications in newborns
- Premature delivery. A premature infant has an
increased risk of health problems.
- Inflammation of the surface of
the eyes and the lining of the eyelids (conjunctivitis). About one-half of newborns who have
chlamydia get conjunctivitis.
- Infection of the nose and
- Lung infections, such as pneumonia
- Ear infection (otitis media)
- Urethritis, though this is
very rare in infants
Complications in men
- Inflammation of the
tubes that hold sperm (epididymitis)
of the prostate, the gland that makes most of the fluid in semen (prostatitis)
Other complications of untreated chlamydia in all people
spread by touching the infected area and then touching the hand to the
- Inflammation of the mucous membrane of the rectum (proctitis),
if the chlamydia is from anal sex
- Varied symptoms, such as joint
and eye inflammation, caused by bacterial infection (Reiter's syndrome, or reactive arthritis)
- Lymphogranuloma venereum, or LGV. This is caused
by a type of chlamydia that is usually rare in the United States, but it is
becoming more common in men who have sex with men. It causes open sores in the
genital area, headache, fever, fatigue, and swelling of the
lymph nodes in the groin. It also causes proctitis in
people who get chlamydia through anal sex.
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Devika Singh, MD, MPH - Infectious Disease
December 11, 2012
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