What are chlamydia and gonorrhea?

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are both common sexually transmitted infections. They can infect both men and women. Women can get chlamydia or gonorrhea in the vagina/uterus, anus, or throat. Men can get chlamydia or gonorrhea in the urethra (inside the penis), anus, or throat.

How do you get chlamydia or gonorrhea?

Both chlamydia and gonorrhea can be transmitted during oral, vaginal, or anal sex with someone who has the infection. A woman can also pass chlamydia or gonorrhea to her baby during childbirth. If you've had one of the infections and were treated in the past, you can get re-infected if you have unprotected sex with someone who has it.

Do chlamydia and gonorrhea cause any symptoms?

Chlamydia and gonorrhea often do not cause any symptoms. So you may not realize that you have one or both of the infections. People with chlamydia or gonorrhea who have no symptoms can still pass the disease to others.

If you do have symptoms, they may not appear until several weeks after you have sex with an infected partner.

Symptoms in women may include:

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge, which may have a strong smell

  • A burning sensation when urinating

If the infection spreads, you might get lower abdominal pain, pain during sex, nausea, or fever. Undiagnosed chlamydia or gonorrhea can cause scarring of the fallopian tubes resulting in difficulty getting pregnant or infertility.

Symptoms in men may include:

  • Discharge from your penis

  • A burning sensation when urinating

  • Burning or itching around the opening of your penis

  • Pain and swelling in one or both testicles

If chlamydia infects the rectum (in men or women), it can cause rectal pain, discharge, and/or bleeding.

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