Fortunately treating chlamydia is quick and easy. It involves a short course of antibiotics.
The two most commonly prescribed chlamydia treatments are Azithromycin and Doxycycline. They are an effective treatment for chlamydia, and if taken correctly cure more than 95 out of every 100 cases of chlamydia.
Doxycycline is the currently recommended first-line antibiotic to treat chlamydia by the UK health body the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
Doxycycline is a longer course treatment and will involve taking two capsules every day for one week. However, it currently has a lower chance of bacterial resistance than azithromycin meaning treatment is more likely to be effective.
If complications are suspected then a longer course of antibiotics may be necessary. Ensure you follow the treatment guidelines set out on medication to treat chlamydia. If treatment is taken incorrectly then it could be ineffective.
If doxycycline isn’t appropriate, usually because of an allergy, then azithromycin will become the preferred antibiotic. Azithromycin is taken as a single-dose treatment of two tablets. Both tablets are swallowed at once with a glass of water on an empty stomach. It needs to be taken either an hour before food or two hours after food for maximum effectiveness.
Buying chlamydia treatment
You can purchase chlamydia treatment online from The Independent Pharmacy if you meet one of the following criteria:
- You have already had a positive test result for chlamydia
- There is a high chance you have chlamydia and you cannot wait for a test result
- A sexual partner has tested positive for chlamydia
- You have had a chlamydia test from The Independent Pharmacy that has returned positive
You should refrain from having sex for at least one week after completing your course of chlamydia treatment antibiotics.
If your sexual partner hasn’t undergone any treatment, it would be advised not to have sex with them until they have been tested or have taken the appropriate antibiotics.
It is advised to always avoid having sex until all the related symptoms have gone completely (for 7 days as a minimum).
How long will the antibiotics take to work?
Chlamydia antibiotics, Azithromycin or Doxycycline, usually clear symptoms quickly. Pain on passing urine and discharge normally clear within a week.
However pelvic pain or testicular pain can take two weeks to pass. Menstrual irregularities should improve by the next cycle.
Any symptoms that persist may be an indicator of failed treatment. If this occurs then you should see your doctor or local sexual health clinic for further treatment.
If the course of chlamydia treatment is taken correctly then there will be no need for re-testing to check the chlamydia has gone. A follow-up test is only advised if any of the following applies:
- You didn’t take the medication as instructed
- Your symptoms remain
- Your symptoms have come back
- You had sex before you and your partner had completed treatment
There are many reasons why you may be experiencing persistent symptoms. For example, due to antibiotic resistance, sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia are becoming more difficult to treat.
Here are some other reasons why your chlamydia symptoms might not be clearing up :
- You have another underlying sexually transmitted infection (STI) at the same time. This will need further investigations or tests. Gonorrhoea commonly occurs in conjunction with chlamydia.
- You have an unrelated infection e.g. a lower urinary tract infection or endometriosis.
- On rare occasions, the strain of bacteria can be resistant to the antibiotics and further treatment is required. Another chlamydia test may be required but this will have to be performed after 6 weeks. Any earlier and the test will present a positive result from the initial infection.
In the case of failed treatment or unresolved symptoms, you should see your GP or visit your local GUM clinic.
Can Chlamydia be left untreated?
Chlamydia does not go away on its own and should not be left untreated. Why? Because not getting treated leaves you open to a myriad of risk factors.
Men who don’t get treated risk several complications, including swollen testicles (orchitis), reactive arthritis, and infertility.
Chlamydia may also cause problems with the reproductive system. For example, women who go without treatment run the risk of infection spreading to the uterus and fallopian tubes, resulting in pelvic inflammatory disease and even infertility.
Moreover, the infection in pregnant women can pass to the child during delivery via the birth canal. It can cause pneumonia, eye infections, preterm labour and low birth weight.
Chlamydia screening and treatment for chlamydia during pregnancy can prevent these complications. This is not part of the routine NHS antenatal screening but your midwife or GP can arrange a simple swab test.
Common antibiotic treatments like doxycycline cannot be taken during pregnancy, but azithromycin is safe and effective. If you think you have chlamydia and you are pregnant, you should see your doctor for treatment.
How can I prevent myself from getting Chlamydia (and other sexually transmitted infections)?
There are measures you can take which will help guard against chlamydia and other sexually transmitted diseases.
- Using a condom during penetrative sex — this applies to both vaginal and anal intercourse
- During oral sex use a condom to cover the penis
- If using sex toys, don’t share them with others without first washing the toy or covering it with a fresh condom
- If performing oral sex on the female genitals, or when rubbing female genitals together, make use of a device called a dental dam — a dental dam is a thin piece of latex or plastic used to cover the female genitals