How Long Does It Take to Show Signs of Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is the most prevalent bacteria on the planet. Based on 2018 statistics, around 2.86 million are infected annually, and more than two-thirds of those infected are young teenagers and adults between the ages of 15 and 24. Every sexually active individual is exposed to chlamydia and can get infected no matter how many or how few partners they’ve changed. 

Here, we will help you answer some of the most common questions you might have about this infection. We will talk about when you can expect the infection to turn up, how to recognize it, and why you need to get tested. 

When Can I Expect for Chlamydia Signs to Show Up?

Chlamydia is a serious issue for both women and men. The majority of the infected experience no signs, which is why 70% of the women infected, and most men have no clue they carry it. 

If the signs do show up, it will take 1 to 3 weeks after the patient has been exposed to the infection for the bacteria to manifest and produce symptoms. What most people don’t know about is that every bacteria has an incubation period, chlamydia has one as well. 

This period can vary for every individual. For example, for some individuals, the incubation period can last for a couple of days, so the first signs of the infection will start to develop just days after they have been exposed to the bacteria. 

For others, it can take months for any signs to show, which means the incubation period lasts much longer, and the only way to know if that individual is infected with chlamydia is to get tested. But, on average, it takes 1 to 3 weeks after the person has been infected for any signs to show.

How Do I Recognize the Signs?

Chlamydia, like most STIs, is often asymptomatic – that means most people won’t experience any signs of the infection. If the signs do appear, both women and men will be equally affected. Even though these signs can affect different areas in the body, both sexes will experience them in a similar way. 

Here are the most typical signs for women:

  • Pain during menstruation
  • Fever with pain in the abdomen
  • Excessive vaginal discharge often with a bad odor
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Pain when urinating
  • Burning and itching around or in the vagina
  • Bleeding when not on a period

Even though women are more prone to chlamydia, men can still get infected. 

Here are the most typical signs for men:

  • Pain when urinating
  • White, cloudy, or clear discharge 
  • Itching and burning around or inside the opening on the tip of the penis
  • Swollen and painful testicles

To get on-time treatment, it’s important to recognize the symptoms. That’s why we have decided to list both the signs for men and women. But, do have in mind that most of the signs don’t actually mean you have chlamydia. 

In fact, they can also be caused by other infections completely unrelated to chlamydia. Nevertheless, you must get tested if you do recognize the signs so you can avoid any unwanted health complications. 

What Happens to Those Who Don’t Get Treated?

Since more than 50% of the infected don’t experience any signs of chlamydia, many people unknowingly pass their infection onto their partner and leave it to manifest in their system for years. 

Even though chlamydia is not a life-threatening infection, if left untreated, it can cause serious health problems. For women, untreated chlamydia can move up into the fallopian tubes and womb and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). If it travels to the uterus as well, it can lead to endometritis. 

In time, these diseases will become a serious problem and can cause:

  • Infertility
  • Lower back pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Damage and inflammation to the reproductive tissues
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Increased risk of developing HIV
  • Joint pain

Any prolonged damage to the reproductive tissues can cause irreversible damage, and once it gets to this stage, chlamydia can be a serious burden, and infertility can no longer be treated. 

In men, the infection can affect the testes and spread to the reproductive tract. When it gets to this area, the infection can cause serious inflammation, swelling, fever, and pain. However, if left untreated, it can have the same consequences as in women, and that is infertility. 

That’s why it’s crucial to get on-time treatment and regularly get tested for chlamydia even if you don’t notice any signs or symptoms. 

Typical Antibiotics Prescribed to Those Infected

You can treat chlamydia and completely remove it from the system. The best treatment options are prescribed by your doctor, and they include proper antibiotics with high potency. Depending on the potency required and how allergic you are to the ingredients, your doctor can prescribe:

  • Doxycycline 
  • Erythromycin 
  • Ofloxacin 
  • Azithromycin 
  • Levofloxacin 

How Long Does It Take Before Chlamydia Becomes Contagious?

After the incubation period ends, the bacteria is usually ready to get transmitted, but it can also be transmitted immediately after a person gets infected. The longer the bacteria remain in the system, the more it will manifest, and it will be much easier for it to be transmitted. So, the moment the incubation period is complete, chlamydia often becomes contagious. 

But, if an individual seeks treatment and takes the proper antibiotics, like doxycycline, the infection won’t be a problem anymore. To be precise, seven days after the treatment has started, the bacteria will be managed, and the infection will no longer be contagious. 

It Is Important to To Know When The Symptoms Appear 

It often takes 1 to 3 weeks for chlamydia to show up, but it depends on every individual. The majority of people don’t have a clue they are infected since they don’t experience any signs. To avoid any health complications and successfully treat the infection, it is crucial to get tested regularly.