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How Long Can Chlamydia Lay Dormant?

Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the UK. A possible reason for this is that most people are unaware they are infected due to the virus typically being dormant. In this article, we’ll explore how you contract chlamydia and how it is passed on. But most importantly, how long can chlamydia lay dormant? 

Chlamydia can lay dormant for over 10 years without the carrier knowing, causing a low-grade infection. This is because chlamydia is a common asymptomatic (showing no symptoms while infected) STD, and most people are unaware if they are infected. 

Read on to find out more about how chlamydia is transmitted, how long you can have chlamydia without knowing, how to prevent an infection and how to treat it if you test positive. 

A man's back looking into the distance

How Long Can You Have Chlamydia Without Knowing?

You can have chlamydia for months or even years without knowing due to the asymptomatic nature of the infection. This means you will be infected, but symptoms won’t be apparent. Chlamydia, if left untreated, can cause serious health problems and affect both female and male fertility

Can You Pass Chlamydia On Without Symptoms?

Even if you are asymptomatic with Chlamydia, it is still possible to pass on the disease. Bacterial infection is transmitted via bodily fluids during sexual activity; therefore, it is vitally important to practise safe sex and be tested regularly to ensure that you are clean of sexually transmitted infections. 

How To Know If You Have Chlamydia?

Whilst Chlamydia often lays dormant in many people, the disease may flare up and cause symptoms due to a change in the immune system, such as a cold or flu. 

The most common symptoms of chlamydia include:

  • Unusual discharge from the bottom, vagina or penis
  • Testicle pain and swelling 
  • Pain when urinating 
  • Bleeding after sex or spotting between periods for women
  • Pain in the tummy 

However, STDs such as Chlamydia can often be asymptomatic. It is reported that nearly 75% of women and 50% of men are asymptomatic when infected with Chlamydia. To reduce the risk of transmission, it is essential to regularly test for STDs, particularly if you have multiple sexual partners.

Where Can You Get Chlamydia? 

Chlamydia most commonly infects the genital tract; however, it can also infect someone’s: 

  • Cervix 
  • Urethra
  • Eye
  • Mouth
  • Rectum

Does Chlamydia Go Away On Its Own?

It is highly unlikely that Chlamydia will go away on its own without treatment, which is why it is so important to be tested regularly and be treated swiftly if positive. Whilst it has been known for some infected with Chlamydia to recover without treatment, this is uncommon and very risky as untreated Chlamydia may lead to more severe health problems.

How Can You Treat Chlamydia?

Following a positive test, the most common and effective treatment for Chlamydia is a course of antibiotics, usually for 7 days. You should abstain from sexual activity for one week following a successful course of antibiotics and ensure that regular sexual partners, as well as previous partners, are informed and tested.

What Happens If You Don’t Get Treatment For Chlamydia?

Although you may not present with symptoms, you may develop serious health problems if Chlamydia is left untreated. Potential health problems may include:

Discrete Sexual Health Screening With Your Sexual Health 

Many STIs, such as Chlamydia, can be asymptomatic, which makes it difficult to know if you are infected. The only way to find out if you have an STI is to be tested regularly, especially before engaging with a new sexual partner. Find out everything you need to know about chlamydia on our advice page

At Your Sexual Health, there is a wide range of sexual health tests, including Chlamydia tests, that can help you determine if you have any sexually transmitted infections. Visit our clinics page to get started, or order a postal test straight to your door. 

Related Questions

Can You Get Chlamydia In Your Mouth?

Although less common than vaginal or penile chlamydia, you can get chlamydia in your mouth. Oral chlamydia is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia Trachomatis and can be passed on through unprotected oral sex with someone who has contracted a  chlamydia infection.

How Do You Know If You Have Oral Chlamydia?

The most common symptoms of oral chlamydia include but are not limited to:

  • Sore throat
  • Pain around the mouth
  • Sores in the mouth that don’t heal
  • Sores and blisters on the lips and mouth
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fever 

Can You Pass On Chlamydia Through Kissing? 

Oral chlamydia can’t be transmitted through kissing. It also won’t be passed on through non-sexual contact, such as drinking from the same glass or sharing a towel.

If you’d like to read more, check out one of our recent articles: Can you get chlamydia from kissing?