Chlamydia Treatment

Chlamydia is an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) caused by the spread of bacteria, known as Chlamydia Trachomatis. It is spread when an infected person engages in sexual activity with a non-infected person. If left untreated, chlamydia can cause long term complications such as infertility and reactive arthritis (pain and swelling in your joints). 

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Azithromycin Tablets

Azithromycin Tablets

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Doxycycline Tablets For Chlamydia

Doxycycline Tablets For Chlamydia

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What is chlamydia?

Chlamydia is an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) caused by the spread of bacteria, known as Chlamydia Trachomatis. It is spread when an infected person engages in sexual activity with a non-infected person. If left untreated, chlamydia can cause long term complications such as infertility and reactive arthritis (pain and swelling in your joints). 

How do you get chlamydia?

Chlamydia is spread by having sex with an infected individual, or by coming into contact with the genital fluids (semen or vaginal fluid) of an infected individual.

You can get chlamydia by:

  • Unprotected sex (including vaginal, anal and oral)
  • Using sex toys that haven’t been washed after use or protected with a condom before use by an infected person
  • Your genitals coming into contact with an infected person’s genitals, even if there is no penetration or ejaculation.
  • Getting infected genital fluids (vaginal fluid or semen) in your eyes


You cannot get chlamydia from:

  • Kissing, hugging or sharing a bed with an infected individual
  • Toilet seats or swimming pools

What are the symptoms of chlamydia?

Most of the time, chlamydia has no symptoms. Therefore, it is important to get yourself tested on a regular basis, especially if you have numerous sexual partners. In those that experience symptoms, they usually appear several weeks after contracting the infection.

Symptoms of chlamydia can include:

  • Pain while having sex
  • Pain whilst peeing
  • Pain in the lower stomach
  • Vaginal discharge that is milky white or yellow in colour and may have a strong smell
  • Bleeding in between periods or after sex
  • Discharge from the penis
  • Tender and swollen testicles
  • Pain and discharge from the anus
  • Sore throat


Just remember that chlamydia symptoms are not always present, and it is important to get tested regularly, especially if you have multiple sexual partners.

What is the treatment for chlamydia?

Antibiotics for chlamydia include azithromycin or doxycycline. They come as oral tablets or pills, and are swallowed whole with water. The recommended chlamydia treatment is doxycycline, azithromycin is only prescribed where doxycycline cannot be taken. The reason for this is because doxycycline is more effective. Chlamydia treatment for males and female is the same.
Your body is unable to get rid of the infection without antibiotics, and it is important to use chlamydia treatment if you have tested positive. Most people experience no side-effects from treatment. 
To find out more information, see our Commonly Asked Questions article. 

How long is chlamydia treatment?

Doxycycline should be taken twice daily for 7 days. If you are unable to take doxycycline, the alternative is azithromycin, which is taken over a period of 3 days. You are required to take two 500mg tablets on the first day, and one 500mg tablet on the second and third day. It is important not to have sex throughout the treatment course and for a week after finishing treatment. This is because it can take up to 7 days after treatment for your body to respond to the antibiotics. It is important to take the full course of chlamydia antibiotics. 

What treatment for chlamydia should I use?

Chlamydia treatment with doxycycline

Doxycycline has proven to be more effective as a chlamydia treatment and is the first line of treatment. Doxycycline needs to be taken two times a day for one week. Doxycycline is unsuitable for those who are pregnant or breast-feeding, those that have a high exposure to UV rays such as natural sun light and sunbeds or those that have previously experienced a stomach upset from antibiotics. It is also unsuitable for those who have certain medical conditions and those taking certain medication. The medical questionnaire will determine whether doxycycline is suitable for you to take or not. 

Chlamydia treatment with azithromycin

Azithromycin is an alternative chlamydia antibiotic, for those that are unable to take doxycycline. It is taken over a three-day period. 

Is doxycycline or azithromycin more effective as a chlamydia antibiotic treatment?

Doxycycline is more effective as a chlamydia treatment according to the British Associate for Sexual Heath and HIV. Due to antibiotic resistance, azithromycin is not as effective. Those that are allergic to, or intolerant of doxycycline, and pregnant women, should be treated with azithromycin.

Chlamydia treatment side effects

Chlamydia tablets are usually well tolerated, however, as with all medication, side effects may be present. Side effects are usually mild and most people will not experience them. The most common side effects of chlamydia treatment include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Sickness
  • Thrush

Can chlamydia go away without treatment?

Chlamydia can go away without treatment in a small number of people. Most people will require a short course of chlamydia tablets, to get rid of the infection. Leaving it untreated will mean that the infection can last for a long time, and potentially cause health complications. 

What happens if you don’t use chlamydia treatment?

In females, if chlamydia is left untreated, it can spread to the uterus (womb) and the fallopian tubes (the tubes that carry a fertilized egg from the ovaries to the womb ready for pregnancy). Chlamydia in the uterus and fallopian tubes can cause what is known as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). Although PID may not have any symptoms at first, it can lead to long-term pain in the pelvic region and cause permanent damage to your reproductive system. This could affect your ability to get pregnant and may also cause an ectopic pregnancy, a life-threatening situation where a pregnancy occurs outside of the uterus (womb), usually inside the fallopian tubes. If you have chlamydia that has not been treated whilst pregnant, there is a possibility that you could pass the infection onto your child. This can result in the baby developing conjunctivitis (eye infection) or pneumonia (lung infection).

In males, if chlamydia is left untreated, it can spread to the testicles and epididymis (the tube that stores and carries sperm). This can result in your testicles becoming swollen and painful (a condition known as epididymitis). If not treated, it can cause extreme pain and discomfort and may even lead to infertility.

In both males and females, if chlamydia is not treated, it can cause reactive arthritis. This is a painful condition that causes swelling and stiffness to the joints. After treatment, most people return to normal activity after 6 months.

What do I need to know about chlamydia antibiotic treatment?

In most cases, you can cure chlamydia quickly with minimal side-effects by taking a short course of antibiotics. Once you or your partner's diagnosis is confirmed, you should start chlamydia treatment as soon as possible. Please note that you cannot become immune to catching chlamydia, and if you regularly have different sexual partners, it is important to get tested for chlamydia regularly. You can get chlamydia treatment online from a registered pharmacy. Alternatively, you can visit your local sexual health clinic.

Does chlamydia go away after treatment?

Antibiotics for chlamydia are highly effective, and most of the time, chlamydia goes away after treatment. Unlike herpes, chlamydia does not stay in your system for life. However, chlamydia can come back after treatment if you contract the infection again. Antibiotics do not provide protection going forward and will only treat current infections. You should take adequate precautionary measures to protect yourself. We recommend carrying out a chlamydia test each time you have a new sexual partner.

How long will it take for symptoms to go away after taking chlamydia tablets?

Symptoms usually disappear within 1-2 weeks after having completed treatment. If symptoms persist, you may need to visit your GP to have further treatment or to have tests carried out.

What to do if you are still feeling chlamydia symptoms after treatment

Chlamydia symptoms should start to get better within the first few days of treatment. It can take around 2 weeks for all the symptoms to go away completely. If your symptoms have not improved after 2 weeks of starting chlamydia medication, you should visit a GUM clinic. There is a possibility that you may have another STI.

How do you know if chlamydia is gone after treatment?

Chlamydia antibiotic treatment has a high success rate and is cured in 95% of people who take their pills correctly. It is important not to have sex for one week after treatment, as you still may be contagious. Due to the high success rates of chlamydia treatment, it is not usually necessary to get retested. If you do decide to have another chlamydia test, you should wait two weeks after having completed your treatment course. If you are still feeling chlamydia symptoms after treatment, you should wait a few weeks and do another test. 

Due to antibiotic resistance, azithromycin is no longer recommended as a first line treatment, and should only be used if you are unable to tolerate doxycycline.

How long will I test positive for chlamydia after treatment?

You can test positive for up to 6 weeks after completing your antibiotics. This is because you may still have residual DNA up until this time. 6 weeks after taking antibiotics, you should test negative if treatment has been successful.

What if I still test positive after taking antibiotics?

If you still test positive after 6 weeks, there is a high chance that you still have the infection. Factors that can reduce the effectiveness of chlamydia antibiotic treatment include:

  • Not completing the course
  • Not taking pills at the correct intervals (i.e. missing doses)
  • You may have a different strain of chlamydia
  • You might be resistant to the antibiotics that were prescribed to you

How long should I wait before getting retested after taking chlamydia antibiotic tablets?

If you wish to get retested for chlamydia, you should wait 6 weeks after having completed your treatment. If you have numerous sexual partners, we advise getting tested every three months as a standard precaution. You should get retested for chlamydia if:

  • You have had sex before having completed treatment or within 7 days of having completed treatment
  • You didn’t take your medication as prescribed (e.g. you missed doses)
  • Your symptoms have not disappeared
  • You are pregnant

Chlamydia treatment in pregnancy

Azithromycin is the safest option for pregnant women who have chlamydia. It is important to get treated before birth, to avoid passing the infection on to your child. It is possible for the child to develop an eye or chest infection if the mother has chlamydia. Pregnant women should not take doxycycline, as this can affect the development of the baby’s teeth and bones. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide treatment to pregnant women. You should visit your local GUM clinic or see your GP as soon as possible.

When can I have sex again after taking chlamydia antibiotic tablets?

If you have chlamydia, you should not have vaginal, oral or anal sex until 7 days after you have finished your chlamydia treatment course. This is to prevent reinfecting yourself with chlamydia during treatment. If you have been tested positive for chlamydia, it is important to let your sexual partner know, so that they can also get treated and avoid re-infecting you with chlamydia once you have completed treatment.

How can I avoid getting chlamydia?

  • You should use a condom every time you engage in vaginal, oral or anal sex
  • Use a dam (thin piece of soft plastic or latex), to cover the genitals during oral or dry sex
  • Do not share sex toys, or wash them thoroughly before use

Do I need to tell my partner(s)?

It is important to inform your current partner and any other recent sexual partners of your positive diagnosis. This is so that they can also get tested and receive the appropriate treatment, as untreated chlamydia can cause long-term health complications.

Where can I get tested?

You can visit your GP practice who will give you more information on how to get tested. Alternatively, you can visit your local GUM clinic or buy an STI test kit online.

Can you get chlamydia treatment for free?

All tests and treatment are free of charge from the NHS. To receive a free chlamydia test and treatment, you should visit your local GUM clinic.

Can you get chlamydia treatment over the counter?

No, chlamydia tablets are not available over the counter. This is because they contain antibiotics and require a consultation with a doctor or pharmacist. 

Buy chlamydia treatment online

You can treat chlamydia with a simple and short course of antibiotics, which you can buy online using our registered service. Prices start at £8.49 and we offer a fast and discreet delivery service, straight to your home. Medication is sent to a delivery address of your choice in plain and discreet packaging with no reference made to the treatment or service. Simply choose your treatment option, fill out the short questionnaire and checkout.


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