How Do I Know If I Have Dormant Chlamydia?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

The only reliable way to tell if you have dormant chlamydia is to get testing for it. This sexually transmitted disease (STD) won’t have any symptoms for most of the people who contract it. Even when cases are symptomatic, many people don’t recognize the initial infection and the disease can return to dormancy. The lack of symptoms is a real hazard of the illness. Permanent damage to the reproductive system may be caused before the condition is recognized.

Using safe sex practices can help reduce an individual's chances of contracting chlamydia.
Using safe sex practices can help reduce an individual's chances of contracting chlamydia.

If symptoms of chlamydia occur, women may notice vaginal discharge that is unusual, or urination could be accompanied by a burning sensation. Sometimes fever, pain during intercourse, or abnormal bleeding occurs. Other symptoms in women might be a low fever or back pain. In men, the opening of the penis may be red or sore, a small amount of discharge could be present, and the testicles might feel painful.

Newborn babies can contract chlamydia from their untreated mothers during the birthing process.
Newborn babies can contract chlamydia from their untreated mothers during the birthing process.

With dormant chlamydia, these signs are likely to be absent. Ignoring the infection runs particular risks for women. Complications, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, scarring of the fallopian tubes, increased risk for ectopic pregnancy, and decreased fertility can occur. Dormant chlamydia in men can cause significant pain and infection, and a small percentage of men are permanently sterile as a result of the STD.

Scarring of the fallopian tubes may happen as a result of dormant chlamydia.
Scarring of the fallopian tubes may happen as a result of dormant chlamydia.

Since it’s impossible to self-diagnose dormant chlamydia, the best way to detect it is to test for it regularly. Testing is often conducted once yearly. It may be recommended more frequently if people have sex with a partner without using condoms. Finding out that a sexual partner has chlamydia is also a reason to pursue testing, even if condoms were used.

Urine samples may be ordered to determine if a patient has chlamydia.
Urine samples may be ordered to determine if a patient has chlamydia.

The basic test for chlamydia in women and men takes a swab of the area the bacteria may inhabit. This could be inside the vagina, around the tip of the penis, near the anus, or inside the throat. Getting a swab for the test isn’t likely to last for more than a few seconds for most patients.

With dormant chlamydia, complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease may occur.
With dormant chlamydia, complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease may occur.

People who are being tested for dormant chlamydia should consider themselves infected until they hear otherwise, particularly if there is a reasonable chance of the test being positive. If the STD is suspected, it makes sense to forgo sexual intercourse until after the results of the test are known. Should the test be positive, women and men might undergo additional examination to determine if the disease has caused damage to reproductive health. When the result is negative, people can protect themselves in the future with safer sex practices, and regular testing.

Individuals with chlamydia are able to donate blood as long as they are feeling well.
Individuals with chlamydia are able to donate blood as long as they are feeling well.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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