Everything That You Need To Know About Chlamydia In Men!

chlamydia in men
Submitted and Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Mavra Farrukh


Only half of the men will get symptoms of the most common STD. Learn the signs, symptoms, and treatment of chlamydia in men. 

It’s the most common reportable disease, yet half of all infected men show no symptoms. Failure to treat this ‘silent disease’ can cause you to become sterile. 

While more commonly reported in females, men are still primarily affected. The largest age group for both genders was those ages 20-24. 

What is Chlamydia in Men? 

Chlamydia is a bacterial infection spread through sexual activities involving the penis, vagina, mouth, and anus. The bacteria that causes chlamydia, chlamydia trachomatis, can be present in semen or vaginal fluid. This bacteria likes to live in mucous membranes and can cause damage to the reproductive system even without producing any symptoms.

In men, chlamydia usually infects the urethra and the anus, depending on the sexual activity that caused the infection. While chlamydia is generally associated with the genitals, it can also be found in the eyelid and throat mucous membranes

Related: Chlamydia-a common treatable STD

Failure to treat this sexually transmitted infection can damage the reproductive system-even sterility. Men are more fortunate in that about 50% will experience symptoms. Only about 25% of women get any indication that they may have caught an STI. 

How is it spread? 

Chlamydia is spread through oral, anal, or penetrative sex with an infected person. It is spread easily through unprotected sex since most cases present no symptoms. 

  • You can contract it by receiving oral sex on your genitals or anus from a partner with an infected throat.
  • Chlamydia can be passed through anal sex with an infected partner.
  • You can become infected by performing oral sex on a partner with infected genitals or anus.
  • Chlamydia can be spread by getting vaginal fluid or semen in the eye from an infected partner.
  • An infected mother can spread chlamydia to her baby during birth.
  • Sharing sex toys without washing or using a condom can spread the infection.
  • Genitals coming into contact with infected genitals can spread the infection without any penetration, oral or anal sex.
  • Despite the fact that chlamydia can be present in the throat chlamydia cannot be spread by kissing. 
  • Chlamydia cannot be spread by sharing personal items like towels, bedding or toilets.

Who is at Risk? 

According to the CDC, women under the age of 25 are at the highest risk of contracting chlamydia. While young women may be at the highest risk, anyone who participates in unprotected sex is at risk. Chlamydia is often asymptomatic, so partners may be passing on the STI without ever knowing they were infected. This is why it is so important to get a yearly screening to prevent the spread of this infection. 

Research shows that there are some people who are at a higher risk of contracting chlamydia.

Those who are considered high risk include: 

  • Men and women who have multiple partners.
  • Those who currently have another sexually transmitted infection.
  • Men who have sex with men.
  • Men and women who have sex without a condom.
  • Those with an infected partner.
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Chlamydia Symptoms in Men

One of the reasons that chlamydia is so common is more often than not, chlamydia doesn’t cause any symptoms. This means if you don’t get an annual screening, you may never experience any symptoms, even in case of an infection

Fortunately for men, they have about a 50% chance of experiencing some symptoms. Although these symptoms are not pleasant, they can prompt a swift diagnosis. 

Some common symptoms experienced by men include:

  • Small amounts of clear or cloudy discharge from the tip of the penis.
  • Pain or itching around the opening of the penis.
  • Pain while urinating.
  • Swelling of the testicles.
  • Pain, bleeding or itching around the anus.

The signs and symptoms of chlamydia in males do not show up immediately. It can take around 5–10 days or more after exposure to chlamydia for symptoms to appear. Different parts of the male urinary system or organs may be affected by chlamydia resulting in:


Urethritis is an infection of the urethra. The urethra is a tube that runs inside the penis and allows semen and urine to exit the body. It is often referred to as non-gonococcal urethritis, which means urethritis that is caused by an infection other than gonorrhoea. The most common symptoms of urethritis include:

  • Frequent urination.
  • Burning or pain while urinating. 
  • Itchy feeling near the opening of the penis.
  • Scant, watery, white discharge or the discharge may appear as a dried film on the tip of the penis.


The epididymis is the coiled tube filled with sperm attached to the back of each testicle. Infection of the epididymis is called epididymitis and can result in the following symptoms:

  • Swelling of the scrotum (can affect one side or both).
  • Testicle pain (can affect one side or both).


Inflammation of the prostate gland is prostatitis. Chlamydia can lead to chronic prostatitis:

Symptoms of prostatitis include:

  • Pain with urination.
  • Difficulty urinating.
  • Pain while ejaculating.
  • Pelvic pain.
  • Incontinence.

Swollen Lymph nodes(lymphadenopathy):

Chlamydia trachomatis is one species of bacteria. It has several subtypes known as serovars. Lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV) is a condition that occur three unique strains of Chlamydia trachomatis. The infection looks tiny, often asymptomatic skin lesions and regional lymphadenopathy in the groin or pelvis. It can manifest as severe proctitis if it transmits through anal intercourse. Without appropriate treatment, LGV can obstruct lymphatic flow, causing swelling of genital tissue. Common symptoms include:

  • A painless ulcer may appear at the site of infection.
  • Painful swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin.


Inflammation or infection of the lining of the rectum is proctitis. Anal intercourse increases the risk of developing proctitis. Some common symptoms include:

  • Rectal pain.
  • Rectal bleeding.
  • Constipation.
  • Rectal discharge.
  • Tenesmus (feeling the urge to pass stool even when you have just done so).

Oral Chlamydia:

Chlamydia can infect the throat as well and is also called pharyngeal chlamydia. Oral chlamydia can cause a sore throat in some people.


Diagnosis is usually simple. Your doctor may ask for a urine sample to check for the bacteria through a urinalysis. Often the practitioner will insert a swab into the tip of the penis to look for chlamydia trachomatis in the urethra. If chlamydia infection is in the anus, it would also diagnose using a swabIn the case of oral sex, a throat swab helps in the diagnosis.

Since most people don’t develop symptoms, screening may help detect chlamydia. Men who have sex with men should diagnose as frequently as every 3–6 months.

Treatment for Chlamydia in Men

Chlamydia treatment in men involves a course of oral antibiotics. Treatment may be a single dose of azithromycin or several doses of doxycycline depending on the symptoms.

In the presence of any symptoms or if your sexual partner tests positive, treatment for chlamydia is provided even before your test results come back. If there is a concern for a possible co-infection with gonorrhoea, a single injection of an antibiotic called ceftriaxone (Rocephin) is administered. An alternative first-line treatment includes a 7-day course of doxycycline. However, if you have additional issues, like epididymitis or prostatitis, treatment is usually required for longer.

It is important to inform any current or past partner about your diagnosis so they are also able to be tested. You can still spread chlamydia while taking your antibiotics. It is important to abstain from sex for seven days after your last treatment.  

It is possible to become reinfected with chlamydia. Moreover, it is important to take all your antibiotics and have any possible partners tested and treated to prevent reinfection. 

Prevention of Chlamydia in Men

Prevention is key to helping eradicate chlamydia because it often presents no symptoms. Many people have the infection and unknowingly infect their partners. 

There are some steps you can take to better protect yourself:

  • Always have anal sex with a condom.
  • Always have penetrative sex with a condom.
  • Use a dental dam for oral sex on a vagina or anus.
  • Use a condom for oral sex on a penis.
  • Get tested and encourage your partner to get tested for STDs annually.

Long-Term Effects of Chlamydia in Men

The long-term effects of chlamydia in males can vary. However, some of the complications of untreated chlamydial infection include:


Epididymitis, inflammation of the coiled tube at the back of the testicles, can present as fever, pain and swelling in the scrotum.


Infection in the prostate gland is known as prostatitis. Chlamydia can result in prostatitis, pain during or after sex, and painful urination. It can accompany other symptoms such as fever, chills, and lower back ache.

Reactive arthritis

Another complication of a chlamydial infection includes the development of reactive arthritis. This is called Reiter’s syndrome, which affects the eyes(eye inflammation), joints and the urethra. 

Can chlamydia make men infertile?

Undiagnosed and untreated chlamydia can result in inflammation of the reproductive organs. In men, it can spread to the testicles, resulting in epididymitis, which may cause sterility. 

How long should I wait to have sex if I am getting treatment for chlamydia?

If you are treated with a single dose of antibiotics, it is recommended to wait at least 7 days after you take the dose before you have intercourse to prevent reinfection.

When to Consult a Doctor

Starting the treatment at the right time can help prevent any serious risks or complications. Speak with a doctor at Your Doctors Online to get a diagnosis for chlamydia or get a prescription for chlamydia. It is essential to practice safe sex to prevent the spread of chlamydia.

Chat With A Doctor To Get A Prescription And Lab Test For Chlamydia

FAQs About Chlamydia in Men Answered By Your Doctors Online Team

What does chlamydia do to men?

Men with chlamydia do not usually have any signs or symptoms. However, men can experience symptoms such as penile discharge, pain or burning while urinating, swelling of the testicles, bleeding or itching around the anus.

How does chlamydia affect males?

Chlamydial infection in males usually affects the urethra resulting in burning while urinating or penile discharge. Untreated infections can lead to complications such as epididymitis or prostatitis as well.

How long can you have chlamydia without knowing?

Symptoms usually appear within 1-3 weeks after exposure, but sometimes symptoms can occur after several months. Many remain asymptomatic; therefore, regular screening is essential in sexually active individuals.

Can you die from chlamydia?

Chlamydia does not cause death; untreated infection can lead to complications in both men and women. It can result in inflammation of reproductive organs and may contribute to infertility.

How long can chlamydia be dormant?

Most people with chlamydia are asymptomatic. Usually, symptoms appear between 1-3 weeks after transmission of infection. However, chlamydia can remain dormant for several years as well.

Does chlamydia smell?

Women infected with chlamydia may experience a strong-smelling vaginal discharge. Men can experience a foul-smelling penile discharge as well.

What happens if chlamydia goes untreated in males?

Untreated infections can lead to epididymitis and inflammation of the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles. This can affect fertility.

Can chlamydia cause erectile dysfunction?

Prolonged infections can give rise to complications. Chlamydia can cause infection of the prostate gland. This may restrict blood flow to your penis, causing erectile dysfunction. Chlamydia may also cause pain in the testicles contributing to erectile dysfunction. 

What medications are used to get rid of chlamydia?

Chlamydia treatment in men involves a course of oral antibiotics. Depending on the symptoms, treatment may be a single dose of azithromycin or several doses of doxycycline.

Can chlamydia be cured?

Yes, the correct treatment can cure chlamydia. However, you must take the medicine as prescribed to cure your infection.

How long does it take for chlamydia to show up in males?

Symptoms usually appear between 1 and 3 weeks after exposure. However, some individuals don’t develop symptoms until many months later. The signs and symptoms of chlamydia in males do not show up immediately. It can take around 5–10 days or more after exposure to chlamydia for symptoms to appear. 

What are the first symptoms of chlamydia?

Some symptoms of chlamydia in men include pain when urinating, white or cloudy discharge from the tip of the penis, pain in the testicles, or burning or itching in the urethra.

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