While Chlamydia usually infects the mucous membranes of the genitals or anus, it can also infect other areas of the body, including the throat. Oral Chlamydia, while less common, can also spread through unprotected oral sex.
While more than 1.5 million people suffer from infection with Chlamydia yearly, the number is likely much higher. This bacterial infection, often called the ‘silent disease,’ is mainly expected to be underdiagnosed. Consequently, a mixture of a lack of symptoms and failure to test makes this sexually transmitted infection the most common.
What is Oral Chlamydia?
Chlamydia is an infection caused by a bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis. This bacteria lives in the mucous membranes of the body. While that usually means the cervix in women or the urethra or anus in men and women, it can also mean the throat or the eyes. Chlamydia in the throat is called a pharyngeal chlamydia infection.
This bacteria can be present in sperm or vaginal fluid. Meanwhile, getting this fluid in your eye or throat is one way of spreading. It can also spread through oral sex.
How do you get oral Chlamydia?
With 50% of men and 75% of women experiencing no symptoms while infected with Chlamydia, regular screenings are essential to prevent the spread of this STD.
While many may consider penetrative sex without a condom’ risky behavior,’ Chlamydia can also spread through oral sex. It is less common than genital or anal Chlamydia.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the risks of getting oral chlamydia increase if:
- You perform oral sex on a male that has an infected penis.
- You perform oral sex on a female with an infected vagina or urinary tract.
- You perform oral sex on a male or female that has an infected rectum.
Furthermore, you are also at risk when receiving oral sex from an infected partner. Risk increases if you:
- Receive oral sex on the penis from a partner with Chlamydia in the throat.
- Receive oral sex on the vagina from a partner with Chlamydia in the throat. This can result in Chlamydia of the vagina or urinary tract.
- Receive oral sex on the anus from a partner with Chlamydia in the throat.
Related: A common treatable disease Chlamydia
Symptoms of Oral Chlamydia
While some cases of oral Chlamydia may be asymptomatic or mild, others are hard to detect because they mimic other infections.
Signs of Chlamydia usually manifest within 1 to 3 weeks of infection, but in some cases, it may take longer. Early chlamydia symptoms that signal possible infection include:
- The most commonly experienced symptom is a persistent sore throat that can last for days. The discomfort may be consistent or intermittent.
- Pain when swallowing.
- Low-grade fever.
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
- Painless sores in the mouth.
- Lesions around the mouth can appear similar to cold sores.
- Redness with white spots on tonsils resembling strep throat.
- Scratchy, dry throat.
Who is at Risk for Oral Chlamydia?
According to the CDC, the infection rate for Chlamydia is highest in sexually active women 25 and under. It is essential to get a yearly screening, especially if you have a new sexual partner. Screening during pregnancy is critical as Chlamydia can pass on to your unborn child. Moreover, it is also essential to use protection during oral sex as well as penetrative sex.
Those who are at High Risk of Contracting Oral Chlamydia Include:
- Men and women who receive oral sex without a condom or dental dam.
- Those who engage in oral sex with an infected partner.
- Men and women who perform oral sex without a condom or dental dam.
- Those who engage in oral sex with multiple partners.
How is Chlamydia Diagnosed?
While genital chlamydia diagnosis includes a urine test and a swab on the cervix or tip of the penis, oral Chlamydia is much less invasive. Using a throat swab, you can test for this bacterial mouth infection. It is also possible to have Chlamydia in the throat as well as the genitals at the same time.
How is Chlamydia Treated?
Early diagnosis can help with treatment with antibiotics. The longer time passes, the more difficult it is to treat the infection. Moreover, chlamydia symptoms in the mouth require treatment with antibiotics as well.
A full round of oral antibiotics is necessary for chlamydia treatment. Doctors recommend testing the person you have had intercourse within the last 60 days. This is an essential step in preventing infection spread.
In addition, chlamydia infection may reoccur. It is also essential that your partner goes for testing and screening. This will avoid potentially passing the infection back and forth between you.
It is possible to spread Chlamydia while on antibiotics. Therefore, doctors advise avoiding sexual contact for seven days after you complete a full round of antibiotics. Even if you are no longer experiencing any symptoms. Doctors recommend a checkup after three months of treatment course completion.
Oral Chlamydia cannot resolve itself without treatment. Commonly prescribed antibiotics include
Importance of Screening
Chlamydia is the most common notifiable disease. While screening efforts have expanded over the past 20 years, many women are still at risk. While oral Chlamydia is less common, it is still a risk.
Oral sex without protection is still risky and can result in Chlamydia.
What are the oral chlamydia complications?
Having Chlamydia in the throat can put you at risk for other infections. You may experience problems such as mouth infections, tooth loss, dental pain, and gum disease.
Chlamydia may also cause reproductive complications in women, contributing to infertility, miscarriage, premature birth, and stillbirth.
In men, a progressed chlamydial infection can also result in urethritis (inflammation of the urethra), inflammation of the prostate, and infertility.
Chlamydia may also lead to:
- Reactive Arthritis
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- Proctitis (inflammation of the mucous membrane of the rectum)
- Lymphogranuloma venereum (swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin)
- Increased risks for ectopic pregnancy
How to Prevent Oral Chlamydia
You must have questions like “Can we prevent pharyngeal chlamydia?” Well, here are some precautions that can minimize the risk of contraction:
- Use condoms or dental dams whenever having oral sex with a new partner or a partner with a chance of infection
- Limit your number of sexual partners. Those with multiple partners are at higher risk.
- Avoiding sexual contact with partners did not undergo testing.
- Ensure regular checkups for Chlamydia or other STIs, and make sure your partners do the same.
When to Consult a Doctor
Starting the treatment at the right time can help prevent any serious risks or complications. Got other questions? Chat with one of our board-certified online doctors at Your Doctors Online for an oral chlamydia test, or start your oral chlamydia treatment immediately!
FAQs About Oral Chlamydia Answered By Your Doctors Online Team
Oral Chlamydia is less common. However, it is possible. Unprotected oral sex increases the risk of contracting oral Chlamydia.
How do you know if you have oral Chlamydia?
You may experience a persistent sore throat, swallowing pain, tonsillitis, redness with white, and a scratchy throat.
It is still possible to spread Chlamydia while on antibiotics. Therefore, doctors advise avoiding sexual contact for seven days.
You cannot transmit oral Chlamydia through kissing, hugging, or sharing drinking glasses.
Home remedies do not help cure Chlamydia. Therefore, it is essential to take antibiotics to cure Chlamydia and treat chlamydia symptoms in the mouth or genitals.
Symptoms of Chlamydia last one to two weeks with treatment. It is best to avoid sex for at least a week during the treatment.
Taking the proper treatment at the right time and completing the treatment can prevent re-emission. However, having intercourse with an infected person can reinfect you.
Untreated Chlamydia can lead to severe complications, including infertility caused by pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and inflammation in other body parts.
Late-stage Chlamydia is when the infection spreads to other parts of the body. It includes disease spread to the cervix, testicular tubes, eyes, or throat, which causes pain and inflammation.
Yes, doxycycline is an effective antibiotic for treating Chlamydia with a week of dosage.