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Chlamydia: Care Instructions

Overview

Chlamydia is a bacterial infection spread through sexual contact. It's one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Most people who get chlamydia don't have symptoms. But they can still infect their sex partners. If chlamydia in women is not treated, it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), a severe pelvic infection. PID can make it hard for a woman to get pregnant.

Antibiotics can cure chlamydia. Your sex partner or partners also need treatment to keep from spreading the infection. Tell your doctor if you might be pregnant. Certain antibiotics should not be used in pregnancy.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Chlamydia often is treated with a single dose of antibiotics in the doctor's office. If your doctor prescribed antibiotics to take at home, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Do not have sex with anyone while you are being treated. If your treatment is a single dose of antibiotics, wait at least 7 days after you take the dose before you have sex. Even if you use a condom, you and your partner may pass the infection back and forth.
  • Make sure to tell your sex partner or partners that you have chlamydia. They should get treated, even if they do not have symptoms.
  • Your doctor may have done tests for other STIs.
  • Your doctor may advise you to be tested again for chlamydia in 3 or 4 months.

How can you prevent it?

It's easier to prevent an STI than it is to treat one:

  • Limit your sex partners. The safest sex is with one partner who has sex only with you.
  • Talk with your partner or partners about STIs before you have sex. Find out if they are at risk for an STI. Remember that it's possible to have an STI and not know it.
  • Wait to have sex with new partners until you've each been tested.
  • Don't have sex if you have symptoms of an infection or if you are being treated for an STI.
  • Use a condom (a male or female condom) every time you have sex. Condoms are the only form of birth control that also helps prevent STIs.
  • If you're pregnant, be extra careful. Some STIs can be passed to your baby during delivery.

Vaccines are available for some STIs, such as HPV. Ask your doctor for more information.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have sudden, severe pain in your belly or pelvis.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new belly or pelvic pain.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have new or increased burning or pain with urination, or you cannot urinate.
  • You have pain, swelling, or tenderness in the scrotum.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You have unusual vaginal bleeding.
  • You have a discharge from the vagina or penis.
  • You think you may have been exposed to another STI.
  • Your symptoms get worse or have not improved within 1 week after starting treatment.
  • You have any new symptoms, such as sores, bumps, rashes, blisters, or warts in the genital or anal area.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.