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What Are the Long-Term Effects of Chlamydia When Not Treated?

If chlamydia is not treated, it can have negative long-term effects. Untreated chlamydia can affect the female reproductive organs through pelvic inflammatory disease, which can lead to inflammation of the fallopian tubes, uterus, and ovaries. This inflammation can cause an increased buildup of scar tissue, which can result in infertility.

In most cases, when chlamydia has damaged the reproductive organs, it is nearly impossible to reverse the changes. Women who reach this point may be unable to conceive in the future. Besides causing infertility, it can also lead to chronic pelvic pain and ectopic pregnancy.

Symptoms

Chlamydia is a silent infection and can linger for months or even years before it is discovered. In a large majority of people, chlamydia does not cause any symptoms. That is probably why the infection is often detected at a later stage. Symptoms may take seven to 14 days to develop and may include a thin vaginal discharge, burning sensation while urinating, or vague pain in the genital area.

Treatment and Precautions

Chlamydia can be treated with antibiotics. It is very important that your partner is also treated at the same time. Otherwise, the cycle of transmission continues. When someone has gonorrhea, syphilis, or trichomoniasis, doctors almost always test their partner at the same time.

The infection can be prevented by practicing safe sex and by getting tested regularly.

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