How Do They Test For Chlamydia In Men?

Chlamydia is one of the most common bacterial infections that are spread through sexual intercourse – not only in the United States but in several other areas of the world too. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1.7 million cases of this sexually transmitted infection were reported in 2018. This data accounts for the United States alone. The World Health Organization estimates that about 2.7% of men around the world have been infected with Chlamydia between 2009 and 2016. 

Due to the fact that chlamydia is a condition that affects male and female patients in unique ways, it is important to consider the differences in testing for these conditions too. In this post, we will consider some unique ways that chlamydia tends to affect men and take a look at what tests are performed to identify the presence of this bacterial infection in a male patient. 

Complications Of Chlamydia In Male Patients

Chlamydia is an infection that is far more prevalent among women, particularly during young adulthood, compared to the prevalence of the condition in men. Still, men do need to understand that the condition can affect them – and will often not yield any symptoms. This, however, does not mean the bacterial infection poses no harm. 

In cases where symptoms do develop in a male patient, the individual may experience the following signs of chlamydia:

  • There may be a discharge from the man’s penis
  • The testicles may become painful
  • There may be pain during urination
  • The lower abdominal might also develop pain conditions

Since chlamydia is a bacterial infection in nature, men do need to understand that there are certain complications that can develop. These complications can sometimes be serious and require medical attention. 

Urethritis is a common complication of chlamydia in men. The condition causes a bacterial infection to develop in the urethra. This is a tube that runs throughout the patient’s penis – it is used to expel both urine and semen from the body. 

Urethritis causes irritation in the tip of the patient’s penis and can make the inside of the penis feel itchy. There may also be a burning or stinging sensation within the penis – this is the urethra showing signs of the infection. A discharge can also occur from the penis. 

Another complication to consider is epididymitis, which is an infection that affects a small tube that helps carry sperm toward the prostate. The tube is found behind the testicles. 

Diagnostic Tests For Chlamydia In Male Patients

The process of diagnosing chlamydia in men works slightly different from how the procedure works in female patients. There are certain laboratory tests that a doctor will need to perform on a male patient to determine if they have been infected with chlamydia. Additionally, the doctor will also need to rule out the presence of other sexually transmitted infections. This is critical due to the fact that some of the other STIs that can affect a man may have similar symptoms as chlamydia. 

The first test performed on men who are suspected of having been infected with the chlamydia bacterial infection is a urine sample test. The doctor will ask the male patient to provide them with a urine sample. The sample will then be sent toward a laboratory. 

A scientist at the laboratory facility will analyze the urine sample that was sent to them. This will help them determine if the organism that causes chlamydia is present in the urine of the patient. This may provide an indication of chlamydia urethritis, which means the urethra of the patient has been infected with the bacterial infection. 

If the patient experiences discharge from the tip of their penis, then a swab might also be conducted. This test is called a urethral discharge culture. A technician or a doctor will be able to perform the swab itself. 

The process is relatively straightforward. The doctor will use a sterile agent, with the most commonly used option being alcohol, to wipe the tip of the patient’s penis. This helps to create a sterile environment on the penis. 

Once wiped, a cotton swab is inserted into the urethra. The insertion is made at the tip of the patient’s penis, where there is an opening. The swab will collect a sample of the discharge that is located in the urethra. 

The cotton swab is packed in a special container and sent toward a laboratory. In the majority of cases, the doctor will order the swab to be tested for the presence of a sexually transmitted infection known as gonorrhea. Both chlamydia and gonorrhea can have similar symptoms – especially when a discharge is expelled from the penis. 

The urethral discharge culture swab is not only used to test for the presence of gonorrhea, however. The scientists at the laboratory will be able to utilize this swab sample in order to test for the presence of any organisms that might be the cause behind an infection the male patient is suffering from. 

By gaining a better view of the bacterial species that are causing the infection, the doctor will be able to provide the patient with a more effective treatment. The treatment will most likely include the use of a specific antibiotic that is effective against the identified bacterial microorganisms. 

It Is Easy To Get Tested For Chlamydia

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection that can affect both men and women. While both genders can be affected, the specific effects and method of diagnosis for the bacterial infection differs between male patients and female patients. We looked at the methods used to assist in the diagnosis of chlamydia among men in this post, as well as some particular factors that are unique to a male patient with this condition.