Chlamydia infection

Chlamydia infection often goes unnoticed. Without treatment, however, it can have serious consequences. Read everything important about chlamydia infections!

Chlamydia infection

A Chlamydia infection is caused by bacteria. It can cause different clinical pictures. Depending on the Chlamydia subgroup, genital organs, eyes or respiratory tracts are particularly affected. Read all important information about: What are Chlamydia? What symptoms do they cause? How can you treat a chlamydia infection?

ICD codes for this disease: ICD codes are internationally valid medical diagnosis codes. They are found e.g. in doctor's letters or on incapacity certificates. A56J16P39A74A55A70P23

Product Overview

Chlamydia infection

  • symptoms

  • Causes and risk factors

  • Examinations and diagnosis

  • treatment

  • Disease course and prognosis

  • prevention

Chlamydia infection: short overview

  • symptoms: Pharyngitis, (conjunctivitis (in case of infection of the eye), burning on urination, purulent discharge from urethra and testicular pain (men), pelvic pain, vaginal discharge and bleeding (women), itching on the anus, small skin ulcers, lymphadenopathy
  • Infection: Droplet infection and saliva (C. pneumoniae), infectious tear fluid, unprotected intercourse (C. trachomatis), over birds (C. psittaci, notifiable!)
  • Incubation period (from infection to onset of first symptoms): one to four weeks
  • diagnosis: physical examination, smear, urine test, blood test for pathogens or antibodies, ultrasound (in case of suspected infection in the lower abdomen)
  • Treatment: with the antibiotics azithromycin or doxycycline, ceftriaxone and metronidazole
  • Danger: For urogenital infections, the sexual partner must always be treated
  • complications: Blindness (with eye infection), infertility (urogenital infections), joint inflammation (Reiter's disease), heart inflammation

Chlamydia: symptoms

Chlamydia are bacteria that can cause a variety of conditions with different symptoms. The most well-known and by far the most common Chlamydia infection affects the urinary and genital organs (genitourinary chlamydia infection). This sexually transmitted venereal disease Chlamydia can affect both women and men alike.

In addition, certain chlamydia infects the eyes, lungs and other organs in severe cases.

In total, there are three types of Chlamydia that can cause disease in humans:

  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Chlamydia (Chlamydophila) psittaci
  • Chlamydia (Chlamdyophila) pneumoniae

Chlamydia symptoms due to Chlamydia trachomatis

There are several subgroups (serovars) of the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis that cause various diseases:

  • trachoma: Chlamydia signs on the eye; caused by the serovars A to C
  • Infections of the urinary and genital organs (urogenital infections), Conjunctivitis: caused by serovars D to K
  • Lymphogranuloma venereum: a venereal disease; caused by the serovars L1 to L3

In addition to special symptoms, in principle, any infection can also flu symptoms such as fever, headache and body aches. In addition, some patients with chlamydia complain of fatigue and weakness throughout the day.


The first infection with Chlamydia trachomatis serovar A-C occurs mostly in childhood. It causes an acute first Conjunctivitis (Conjunctivitis). On the conjunctiva certain white blood cells accumulate in the form of tiny grains (follicles).

In poor hygienic conditions, the patients get infected again and again with Chlamydia (reinfection). In addition, other bacteria can "sit on" the inflammation (superinfection). Both cause the follicles to enlarge and aggregate into so-called granulomas.

The chronic inflammation shrinks the inner mucous membrane of the eyelids scarred. As a result, the eyelid edges bulge inward with their eyelashes and irritate the cornea of ​​the eye (trichiasis) through small injuries. This inflames itself (keratitis) and becomes increasingly cloudy. In the end, the person concerned go blind.

Urogenital chlamydia symptoms in men

Serovars D to K trigger urogenital infections. The signs of chlamydia-infected urinary and genital organs in men usually affect the urethra: it inflames (urethritis). The patient feels a pressure feeling and painful burning while urinating, You may cause chlamydia discharge of pus from the urethra.

The germs can ascend into the prostate as well as into the testicles and epididymis: it develops a prostate inflammation (Prostatitis), testicle inflammation (Orchitis) or epididymitis (epididymitis). Pain and infertility (Sterility) are the possible consequences.

Many infected men also show no symptoms due to chlamydia, Physicians then speak of an asymptomatic infection.

Urogenital chlamydia symptoms in the woman

In women, Chlamydia trachomatis D-K infection can cause cervicitis and / or urethritis. A possible sign of chlamydia in cervicitis is slimy-purulent, often strong-smelling discharge, Urethritis can be frequent urination and pain or Problems with urination be accompanied.

However, most women even have chlamydia-related cervicitis and / or urethritis no complaints, The infection then usually goes unnoticed and is not treated. This can have dire consequences:

The bacteria can continue to rise: the inflammation then spreads to the uterine lining, fallopian tubes and ovaries. In summary, medics speak of one here inflammatory pelvic disease (pelvic inflammatory disease, PID). Again, many sufferers do not have chlamydia symptoms. Others complain, for example Lower abdominal pain, untypical discharge, bleeding in the middle of the cycle or after intercourse.

In severe cases, serious late effects threaten. This includes chronic pelvic pain and infertility, In addition, there is an increased risk of the fertilized egg implanting outside of the uterus during pregnancy (extrauterine pregnancy, for example) ectopic pregnancy).

In some women, the inflammatory pelvic disease attacks the peritoneum (peritonitis). The liver capsule can also inflame (perihepatitis = Fitz-Hugh-Curtis syndrome). Possible Chlamydia symptoms in this case are in addition fever and fatigue right hand Epigastric pain and a tender painful liver, The pain can radiate up to the right shoulder. The inflammation can also spread to the adjacent tissue of the cecum (periappendicitis).

Chlamydia spread in men and women Chlamydia transmitted during sexual intercourse can enter the body via the urethra and, in the case of a woman, via the vagina.

Chlamydia symptoms in men and women

Especially through anal and oral sex chlamydia in men and women can also reach the rectum and throat. There, inflammation can develop. Of the inflammation of the funditis (proctitis), many sufferers notice nothing, because no complaints occur. Other infected people complain of chlamydia symptoms like Itching on the anus and bloody-purulent Stuhlbeimengungen.

Chlamydia-related pharyngitis can be associated with a reddened throat, sore throat and sore throat express. In addition, the germs can also affect the eye and trigger conjunctivitis there.

Chlamydia symptoms in pregnant women and newborns

Infection with Chlamydia trachomatis during pregnancy can have the same consequences as with non-pregnant women. Cervix and / or uterine lining may be ignited. This can have serious consequences like premature birth or premature rupture of membranes, Also the risk for others pregnancy complications can increase.

In addition, the bacteria can be transmitted to the baby at birth. The risk is 50 to 70 percent. typical Chlamydia symptom in the newborn is then usually a conjunctivitis, more rarely a middle ear infection. If the child breathes germinal vaginal fluid during birth, severe pneumonia is threatened.

In the postpartum period, some infected mothers develop inflammation of the endometrium (postpartum endometritis).

Lymphogranuloma venereum

This sexually transmitted disease is caused by Chlamydia trachomatis serovars L1 to L3. She starts with painless little bubblesfollowed by superficial skin ulcers at the infected parts of the body. These are usually in the genital area. After about ten to thirty days the surrounding people swell lymph node (Groin) painful. Often the skin is discolored blue-red.

In some cases, the lymph nodes break up, and pus leave. When healing, connective tissue forms scar, In addition, lymphatic vessels can be relocated. The lymph can then no longer drain properly and accumulates. The genitals can thereby increase extremely (elephantiasis).

Common chlamydia symptoms in this disease are fever, headache, muscle and joint pain.

Through anal intercourse the infection can also affect the rectum. The lower intestinal sections become inflamed (proctosigmoiditis). The sufferers have slimy-bloody outflows, Spasms in defecation (Tenesmen) and fever, Abscesses and fistulas in the rectum can also form. When healed, scarred constrictions may arise in the rectum.

Chlamydia Symptoms by Chlamydia psittaci

Chlamydia (Chlamydophila) psittaci causes a condition called ornithosis (or psittacosis). She can act as gripal infect or atypical lung infection express. Atypical pneumonia is when it is not caused by the most common pathogen (streptococcus).

Key symptoms of Chlamydia psittaci infection include body aches, chills and fever around 39 degrees Celsius. In addition, dry cough first appears. Later, the cough is accompanied by little expectoration.

In severe cases, this chlamydia infection can spread to other organs, such as the heart muscle. Then one can Myocarditis Develop (myocarditis).

Some people who become infected with Chlamydia psittaci develop no symptoms at all.

Chlamydia symptoms due to Chlamydia pneumoniae

The pathogen Chlamydia (Chlamydophila) pneumoniae affects the respiratory tract and causes inflammation. For example, one can Inflammation of the paranasal sinuses (Sinusitis), one sore throat (Pharyngitis) or one bronchitis develop. The chlamydia infection can also be atypical lung infection to lead. Depending on the location of the inflammation, sufferers complain of throat, swallowing and chest pain, for example. Headaches, fever and cough are also possible chlamydia signs in this infection.

Chlamydia: causes and risk factors

Chlamydia are immobile bacteria, which occur in two forms: Outside of the cells of an infected person they are present as so-called elementary bodies. In this form, they are contagious (infectious).

But to multiply, chlamydia must first enter a host cell. This can be a human mucosal cell. Inside the cell, the bacteria are present as reticulum bodies: they are no longer infective, but metabolism and are capable of dividing. They undergo a development cycle in the host cell that spans several days. In the end, they transform into elementary bodies. These are released from the host cell - either by being expelled or after the host cell has been destroyed. The new elementary particles can now infect neighboring cells or be transferred to other individuals.

Chlamydia life cycle Chlamydia freely move as infectious elementary bodies in the human body and can thus be transmitted. To propagate, they invade a host cell. There they transform into reticulum bodies, multiply and are released again as elementary bodies from the cell.

  • Image 1 of 14

    Attention, contagious!

    The light is dim, the kisses are greedy - but wait! Before you go all out, do not forget to bring the condom into the (love) game. Because not only HIV is transmitted during sexual intercourse: Learn more about the diseases that you prefer not to get during sex.

  • Picture 2 of 14

    Bacterial vaginosis

    Cause of a bacterial vaginosis are rod-shaped bacteria usually Gardnerellen). They are transmitted during sexual intercourse. If the vaginal milieu is out of balance, the bacteria have easy game and multiply. Typical symptoms include increased discharge with fishy odor, itching and pain when urinating. Gardnerella infection usually causes no symptoms in men.

  • Picture 3 of 14

    Chlamydia infections

    Chlamydia is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. Causer is a bacterial species. 80 percent of women and 50 percent of men have no complaints and therefore unknowingly engage their partners. In women chlamydia is otherwise expressed in the form of discharge, itching and burning on urination. In men, the urethra often becomes inflamed. In extreme cases, those affected become infertile.

  • Image 4 of 14

    Genital warts (Condylomata acuminata)

    Genital warts are caused by human papilloma viruses (HPV). Mostly, the variants HPV-6 and HPV-11 can be detected. Genital warts usually occur in large numbers on the genitals, the anus and the rectum. They tend to form beds, and can grow into large Brussels sprouts - not a pretty sight! Above all, young people are at risk.

  • Image 5 of 14

    Gonorrhea (gonorrhea)

    Gonorrhea is triggered by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae (gonococci). Younger adults are at particular risk - women and men are equally affected. It comes to inflammation of the genitals and purulent discharge. In women, the symptoms are much weaker. Since the mid-1990s, there have been more illnesses in Germany, after the numbers had previously been on the decline.

  • Image 6 of 14

    Hepatitis B

    Hepatitis B causes the liver to become inflamed. The causative agent is the hepatitis B virus (HBV), which is transmitted among other things by semen or vaginal secretions. The infection often causes initially little complaints, which is why it is not noticed in many cases. In 90 percent of patients, hepatitis B heals within six months. The remainder is chronic, meaning it lasts at least half a year.

  • Picture 7 of 14

    Genital herpes

    Genital herpes affects the skin and mucous membranes of the genitals. The causative agents are herpes simplex virus type 2, while behind cold sores usually TYPE 1 is. If the liquid-filled bubbles form, the viruses are easily transmitted. The pathogens nest on the nerve roots - they "sleep".After the symptoms have resolved, the disease can break out again and again - for example, when the immune system weakens.

  • Picture 8 of 14

    fungal infections

    Itchy fungal infections of the vagina are very common. Often the yeast fungus Candida albicans, a yeast, is the trigger. Typical symptoms include itching, burning pain, swelling, redness and increased friable discharge, reminiscent of cottage cheese.

  • Image 9 of 14


    Trichomonads are flagellates (unicellular organisms) that can move independently and are transmitted during sexual intercourse. Most affected are women. Symptoms include itching and burning of the vagina, sharp-smelling, green-yellowish discharge or burning sensation when urinating. In most cases men show no symptoms.

  • Picture 10 of 14

    Hepatitis C

    Hepatitis C is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Contagion through sexual intercourse is rare, but possible - especially if it comes to injury in the genital area. In the acute phase, patients feel slightly uncomfortable, but actually healthy. It can go into a chronic state - then increases the risk of cirrhosis and liver cancer.

  • Picture 11 of 14

    Syphilis (lues venerea)

    Syphilis is caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. It is also known as lues, hard chancre, French disease or love search. Syphilis particularly affects men. It runs in four stages with different symptoms. Among other things, ulcers form and the nervous system is destroyed. In recent years, syphilis in Germany is on the rise again. Untreated, it is deadly.

  • Picture 12 of 14

    HI-virus / AIDS

    The causes of AIDS are HI viruses, which are transmitted among other things during unprotected sex. The virus can be detected in the semen and in the vaginal fluid. It can penetrate the body through the slightest injuries that occur during sexual contact. The HI virus damages cells of the immune system. So the body can no longer effectively fight bacteria, viruses or fungi. HIV patients are therefore more susceptible to disease.

  • Picture 13 of 14

    Ulcus molle (soft chancre)

    Ulcer molle is caused by the bacterium Haemophilus ducreyi. After infection, several painful, roundish-oval, euro-sized ulcers may occur. In addition, the inguinal lymph nodes swell painfully, they can fester and break through the skin. The Ulcus molle occurs predominantly in the countries of South America, Southeast Asia and Africa - tourists bring them but always as unwanted souvenir to Germany.

  • Picture 14 of 14

    Join in!

    So there are many good reasons to practice safe sex with condoms. Especially with frequently changing sexual partners, this is very important. Anyone who enjoys it should always have a condom in their pocket - even as a woman. Otherwise, the love game can become a dance with death.

Chlamydia transmission

The way in which this infection with Chlamydia occurs depends on the type of pathogen:

Chlamydia: transmission of Chlamydia trachomatis

In Chlamydia trachomatis, the serovars D to K and L1 to L3 are mainly by intercourse transfer. Infection takes place via the colonized mucous membranes of the urethra, vagina, penis and rectum. Also body fluids such as vaginal secretions, urine and semen (also the "pleasure drops") can pass on pathogens. In addition, a pregnant woman infected with these serovars can transfer the bacteria to the newborn at birth.

A chlamydia transmission with the serovars A to C is done by infectious eye fluid, Even contaminated hands or textile products (such as towels or washcloths) can infect themselves with these chlamydia. A Chlamydia transmission by flies was also observed in this subgroup. Therefore, the pathogen is widespread, especially in countries with poor hygienic conditions.

Chlamydia: transmission of Chlamydia pneumoniae

This bacterium will over the air and over salivary fluid transfer. It collects and multiplies like Chlamydia trachomatis in human cells. Also in some animals (like koala bears or horses) one finds such Chlamydia. Contagion routes to humans are not known.

Chlamydia: transmission of Chlamydia psittaci

Chlamydia psittaci disease is called ornithosis (bird disease). The reason is that chlamydia transmission through infected birds takes place. These are the natural host of the bacteria. The most important sources of infection for humans are turkeys, ducks, parrots and pigeons. Like humans, they may develop Chlamydia psittaci or be completely symptom-free. In particular, in ornamental birds, the bacterium can accumulate for a long time without causing disease.

Chlamydia transmission to humans takes place via the faeces and the feathers of infected animals. Even the mere touch can already lead to Chlamydia infection.In liquid secretions from the beak or respiratory tract of the birds are also chlamydia.

Human-to-human transmission pathways are unknown in Chlamydia psittaci.

Chlamydia: incubation period

Chlamydia affects the mucous membranes of the genital and anal regions as well as the respiratory tract. However, until the first signs of disease develop, many diseases pass some time. This time between contagion and outbreak is called incubation time. It is one to three weeks in Chlamydia trachomatis. Psittaci- and pneumoniae strains take about one to four weeks.

Regardless, the duration of infectiousness of Chlamydia. However, since many infections remain asymptomatic, they can hardly be determined.

Can chlamydia cause cancer?

Chlamydia may promote the development of cancer, such as cervical cancer or ovarian cancer. By Andrea Bannert


Risk factors for a Chlamydia infection

Different chlamydia types are transmitted in different ways. Therefore, different risk factors of infection also apply:

Chlamydia trachomatis: risk factors

For sexually transmitted chlamydia (Chlamydia trachomatis D-K and L1-L3), the following risk factors apply in particular:

  • Oral Sex
  • Vaginal traffic, especially unprotected (= without a condom)
  • Anal intercourse, especially unprotected
  • sharing of contaminated and unprotected sex toys

Anyone already using the HI virus (HIV) is at an increased risk of contracting chlamydia. The AIDS pathogen weakens the human immune system so that it can fight chlamydia and other pathogens worse.

Conversely, in the case of a Chlamydia infection, the risk of becoming infected with HIV: The inflamed mucosal cells in the genital area represent an ideal portal of entry for the HI virus.

The serovars D-K of Chlamydia trachomatis can also trigger conjunctivitis. "swimming pool conjunctivitis"Is the colloquial name of this disease due to chlamydia. Oral Here, however, is a much larger risk factor than swimming in a swimming pool: The germs reach the eye, for example via the sperm fluid.

A risk factor for conjunctivitis due to Chlamydia trachomatis A-C (trachoma) is mainly poor hygiene with a low standard of living. The infection therefore occurs especially in underdeveloped countries.

Chlamydia pneumoniae: risk factors

Bacteria of this genus are distributed worldwide. In Germany, too, a high level of infection of the population is assumed. So probably every person has at least once in his life contact with Chlamydia pneumoniae. There are no specific risk factors for chlamydia transmission here. As with most infectious diseases, the risk of infection increases with a weak immune system, increasing age and direct contact with infected people.

Chlamydia psittaci: risk factors

In Chlamydia psittaci, there is a risk of infection, especially for bird breeders and traders, and ornamental bird owners. Even dried bird droppings and feathers can be contagious for up to four weeks. If the infected birds are not treated, about ten percent of them develop into chronic, but asymptomatic germ carriers.

Chlamydia infection: diagnosis and examination

If you suspect that your urinary or genital organs are infected with chlamydia, you should consult a doctor Urologists, Women to gynecologists (Gynecologist) go. Also a dermatologist is a specialist for skin and venereal diseases a suitable contact person.

In a Chlamydia-related respiratory disease (such as pneumonia), should the family doctor be the first port of

Like This? Share With Friends: