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Chlamydial infections - male

STD - chlamydia male; Sexually transmitted disease - chlamydia male; Urethritis - chlamydia

Chlamydia infection in males is an infection of the urethra. The urethra is the tube that drains urine from the bladder. It passes through the penis. This type of infection is passed from one person to another during sexual contact.

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Male reproductive anatomy

Causes

Chlamydia infection is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. Both males and females may have chlamydia without having any symptoms. As a result, you may become infected or pass the infection to your partner without knowing it.

You are more likely to become infected with chlamydia if you:

Symptoms

Some common symptoms are:

Chlamydia and gonorrhea often occur together. The symptoms of chlamydia infection may be similar to symptoms of gonorrhea, but they continue even after treatment for gonorrhea is finished.

Exams and Tests

If you have symptoms of a chlamydia infection, the health care provider may suggest a lab test called PCR. Your provider will take a sample of discharge from the penis. This discharge is sent to a lab to be tested. Results will take 1 to 2 days to come back.

Your provider may also check you for other types of infections, such as gonorrhea.

Men who do not have symptoms of a chlamydia infection may sometimes be tested.

Treatment

Chlamydia can be treated with a variety of antibiotics. Common side effects of these antibiotics are:

You and your sexual partner must be treated to avoid passing the infections back and forth. Even partners without symptoms need to be treated. You and your partner should finish all of the antibiotics, even if you feel better.

Because gonorrhea often occurs with chlamydia, treatment for gonorrhea is often given at the same time.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Treatment with antibiotics is almost always successful. If your symptoms do not improve quickly, make sure you are also being treated for gonorrhea and other infections spread through sexual contact.

Severe infections or infections that are not treated quickly may rarely cause scarring of the urethra. This problem can make it harder to pass urine, and may require surgery.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if you have symptoms of a chlamydia infection.

Prevention

To prevent infection, practice safe sex. This means taking steps before and during sex that can help prevent you from getting an infection, or from giving one to your partner.

Before having sex:

Be sure that your sexual partner does not have any sexually transmitted infection (STI). Before having sex with a new partner, each of you should get screened for STIs. Share the test results with each other.

If you have an STI such as HIV or herpes, let any sexual partner know before you have sex. Allow them to decide what to do. If you both agree to have sexual contact, use latex or polyurethane condoms.

Remember to:

Other tips include:

Related Information

Urethritis
Chlamydia

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Recommendations for the laboratory-based detection of chlamydia trachomatis and neisseria gonorrhoeae 2014. www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr6302a1.htm. Updated March 14, 2014. Accessed March 19, 2020.

Geisler WM. Diseases caused by chlamydiae. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 302.

Mabey D, Peeling RW. Chlamydial infections. In: Ryan ET, Hill DR, Solomon T, Aronson NE, Endy TP, eds. Hunter's Tropical Medicine and Emerging Infectious Diseases. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 52.

Workowski KA, Bolan GA; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2015. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2015;64(RR-03):1-137. PMID: 26042815 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26042815/.

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Review Date: 4/9/2020  

Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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