How Symptoms of Chlamydia Differ Between Men and Women

May 7th 2016

Abnormal Bleeding

A major symptom of chlamydia in women is abnormal bleeding from the vagina. This occurs because the disease typically infects the cervix and causes it to bleed easily, leading to spotting between periods. Women with symptomatic chlamydia may also experience excessive cramping during their normal periods. This is often paired with abnormal vaginal discharge, even when it does not include blood.

Symptomatic men also often experience discharge from the tips of their penises, but it does not usually include blood. It is clear or cloudy in color.


Chlamydia is typically more painful for women than men. Both may experience pain and burning during urination, but women also experience pelvic pain. This may occur in the form of severe cramping during menstruation, but some women also experience pain between periods. This symptom may be more common in women who do not treat the disease quickly. Women with symptoms also often experience pain during sexual intercourse.


Untreated chlamydia is more serious for women than for men. The infection can progress up the reproductive system into the fallopian tubes, which can cause chronic pain. It can also cause serious problems relating to pregnancy. If it develops into pelvic inflammatory disease, it can damage the fallopian tubes and make it difficult for the woman to get pregnant even after the infection is cured. If the woman does become pregnant, she may be more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy, which can be life-threatening.

Pregnant women with chlamydia have greater risks. The disease makes premature delivery more likely, which can mean stillbirth or physical and developmental disabilities. Newborns of mothers with chlamydia may have pneumonia or conjunctivitis caused by the disease.

Other Symptoms

Women with chlamydia sometimes experience a low-grade fever, especially during menstruation. They sometimes experience a thick, smelly vaginal discharge that is yellowish in color. Both men and women can experience chlamydia infections in the anus, but women may be more likely to get it as a secondary illness that spreads from the vaginal infection.

Women may experience swelling around the vagina, while men may find their testicles swollen and painful. Both may feel itching or burning around their genitals, but women also sometimes feel the need to urinate more frequently.


Chlamydia is sometimes referred to as the silent infection, as it has no symptoms in the majority of patients. When it does have symptoms, they can be mild and may manifest differently in men and women.

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