Long Term Effects of Chlamydia in Men

Long Term Effects of Chlamydia in Men | Giddy

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection. Although it affects mostly young women, chlamydia can occur across all age groups in both genders.

Because the long-term effects of chlamydia can lead to health problems, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the symptoms and side effects. From covering the basics to diving into the specific issues regarding chlamydia effects on males, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of this infection so that you can stay informed and proactive.

First, What is Chlamydia?

Before we cover chlamydia’s effects on males, let’s take a look at exactly what a chlamydia infection is and how it’s contracted. 

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease that is caused by an infection with Chlamydia trachomatis. In 2018, the CDC estimated that four million people suffered from chlamydial infections.

The infection is spread through unprotected sex, including vaginal, oral, and anal. It’s also possible for it to pass from mother to child during pregnancy and delivery. 

Any person that is sexually active is at risk to be infected with this bacterial infection. Chlamydia occurs most frequently in adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 to 24 who have multiple sex partners. Additionally, if you’ve had chlamydia in the past, reinfection is possible if you have sex with someone who currently is currently infected. 

Chlamydia can cause cervicitis, or inflammation of the cervix, in women. In both men and women, it can lead to urethritis, inflammation of the urethra, proctitis, an inflammation in the lining of the rectum.

Chlamydia Symptoms

Chlamydia is sometimes called a “silent” infection, as an early-stage chlamydia trachomatis infection can often cause no symptoms at all. If it does cause signs, these can be mild and are often overlooked. Here are some of the symptoms to stay alert for in both men and women.

Symptoms include:

  • Painful urination or burning sensation when urinating
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge (women)
  • Discharge from the penis (men)
  • Painful sexual intercourse for women, including bleeding afterward
  • Bleeding between periods (women)
  • Testicular pain (men)
  • Testicular pain or swelling (men)
  • Rectal pain, discharge, or bleeding
  • Chlamydial eye infections (also called chlamydial conjunctivitis)

Long-Term Effects of Chlamydia

In Men

In men, the long-term effects of chlamydia can range in severity. Complications of an untreated chlamydia infection sometimes include:

Epididymitis

Epididymitis occurs due to the chlamydia infection inflaming the coiled tubes located near the testicles. It can cause fever, swelling, and pain in the scrotum.

Prostate Gland Infection

Some chlamydia effects on males can lead to an infection in the prostate gland. This infection, known as prostatitis, can cause discomfort during or after sex, and painful urination. It can also lead to fever, chills, and lower back pain.

Reactive arthritis

A chlamydial infection puts you at an increased risk of developing reactive arthritis. Also known as Reiter's syndrome, this is a condition that often affects the eyes and joints, as well as the urethra. 

In Women

The effects of chlamydia aren’t just limited to men. In an infected woman, the long-term effects of chlamydia can lead to health problems as well. 

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Untreated chlamydia can spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes. This can lead to PID, or pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause chronic pelvic pain and damage to the reproductive organs. A severe infection of chlamydial PID can require hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics. PID may also lead to something called perihepatitis, or “Fitz-Hugh-Curtis Syndrome,” which causes inflammation in the liver capsule and surrounding membrane.

Ectopic Pregnancy

One of the most serious long-term effects of chlamydia in women is that it can potentially lead to ectopic pregnancy, in which the pregnancy occurs outside the uterus, typically in the fallopian tube. Because there can be life-threatening complications like a burst tube, the pregnancy needs to be removed in this situation.

Tubal Factor Infertility

This is an issue that occurs when the fallopian tubes are blocked to things like diseases, damage, or scarring. When this happens, either the sperm cannot reach the egg for fertilization or the embryo cannot reach the uterus for pregnancy.

Additional Sexually Transmitted Infections

In both men and women, a chlamydia infection leads to an increased chance of getting other infections like gonorrhea, syphilis, or HIV.

There’s also another type of STD called Lymphogranuloma venereum (or LGV), which is caused by 3 various strains of Chlamydia trachomatis. According to Merck, this STD is characterized by “a small, asymptomatic skin lesion, followed by regional lymphadenopathy of the groin or pelvis.” If it’s acquired through anal sex, it can manifest as proctitis (an inflammation of the lining of the rectum). More recently, this infection has shown up as outbreaks around the world in men who have sex with men.

Who Is at Risk

When discussing the long-term effects of chlamydia, it’s important to cover the risk factors as well. Risk factors for chlamydia include:

  • Being sexually active 
  • Having multiple sex partners
  • Frequent changes in sex partners
  • Incorrect condom use 
  • Inconsistent condom use
  • A history of chlamydia or other sexually transmitted infections (reinfection is common)

Chlamydia Diagnosis 

Since many people have no symptoms even when infected, a diagnosis of chlamydia often relies on screening tests. If you don’t want to experience the long-term effects of chlamydia, it’s crucial to get your STI diagnosed and seek treatment. Check out our blog to learn more about the different types of STDs and how often should you get tested for STDs.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends chlamydia screening for sexually active women age 25 or younger, pregnant women, and women and men who are at high risk. High-risk groups include people who have multiple sex partners, people who don’t consistently use a condom, and men who have sex with men. 

Screening and diagnosing chlamydia tends to be simple. Tests may include urine tests, in which a sample of your urine is analyzed in a laboratory setting or a swab test. For women, a doctor will take a swab from your cervix, which can often be done during a pap test. 

When testing men, the doctor inserts a swab into the end of the penis to obtain a sample from the urethra. In certain cases, your doctor may swab the anus. 

Chlamydia Treatment

With the right treatment, chlamydia can be cured with antibiotics. You may either receive a one-time dose or take daily medication for 5 to 10 days. With medication to cure chlamydia, the CDC notes that it’s important that you take all that’s prescribed to properly stop the infection and decrease your chances of complications and long-term effects of chlamydia.

They also recommend that you refrain from having sex until you and your sex partner(s) have completed treatment for the infection. Even if sexual partners do not have symptoms, they will need treatment so that the infection is not passed back and forth between partners during sexual activity. In many instances, the infection will resolve within one to two weeks with proper treatment. 

Chlamydia and Erectile Dysfunction

Left untreated, the long-term effects of chlamydia can lead to infertility and conditions such as erectile dysfunction. Because chlamydia can infect the prostate, this can result in swelling and restricting blood flow to the penis. Not enough blood flowing to that region can lead to trouble achieving and sustaining an erection. 

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Now that we’ve covered the long-term effects of chlamydia, as well as the basic overview of what this sexually transmitted disease is and how it's contracted, you can move forward with being proactive about your health. Try our ED device today!
 

Sources:

  1. Chlamydia Trachomatis. Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed February 9th, 2021.
  2. Risk Factors for Chlamydia. Winchester Hospital. URL. Accessed February 9th, 2021.
  3. Chlamydia Trachomatis. Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed February 9th, 2021.
  4. Chlamydia CDC Fact Sheet. CDC. URL. Accessed February 9th, 2021.
  5. Chlamydia (chlamydia trachomatis genital infection). New York State Department of Health. URL. Accessed February 9th, 2021.
  6. Cervicitis. CDC. URL. Accessed February 9th, 2021.
  7. Urethritis. Harvard Health Publishing. URL. Accessed February 9th, 2021.
  8. Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV). Merck Manuals. URL. Accessed February 9th, 2021.
  9. Can Chlamydia Cause Erectile Dysfunction?. Metromale Clinic. URL. Accessed February 9th, 2021.
  10. Tubal Factor (Fallopian Tubes) Infertility. Care New England Health System. URL. Accessed February 9th, 2021.