Exams and Tests
A doctor diagnoses chlamydia using a medical history, a physical exam, and tests. During the medical history, your doctor may ask you questions such as:
- Do you think you were exposed to any Reference sexually transmitted infections (STIs) Opens New Window? How do you know? Did your partner tell you?
- What are your symptoms?
- Do you have discharge? If you have discharge from the vagina or penis, it is important to note the smell and color.
- Do you have sores in the genital area or anywhere else on your body?
- Do you have any urinary symptoms, including frequent urination, burning or stinging with urination, or urinating in small amounts?
- Do you have any abdominal or pelvic pain or cramping during intercourse?
- Do you have bleeding between your periods or after intercourse?
- What method of birth control do you use? Do you use condoms to protect against STIs?
- Which Reference high-risk sexual behaviors do you or your partner engage in? For example, do you have multiple sex partners or have sex without using a condom (except if you're in a long-term relationship)?
- Have you had an STI in the past? How was it treated?
After the medical history is taken:
- A woman may have a Reference gynecological exam.
- A man may have a Reference genital exam for Reference urethritis Opens New Window and Reference epididymitis Opens New Window.
- You may have a urine test for chlamydia.
Several Reference types of tests can be used to diagnose a chlamydia infection. Test results are usually done in 2 to 3 days, except for the chlamydia culture. It can take 5 to 7 days.
Other infections can occur along with a chlamydia infection. Your doctor may recommend testing for:
- Reference Gonorrhea Opens New Window.
- Reference Syphilis Opens New Window.
- Reference Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) Opens New Window, which causes AIDS.
- Reference Bacterial vaginosis Opens New Window, a condition caused by a change in the normal bacteria in the vagina.
If you have chlamydia, your doctor will send a report to the state health department. Your personal information is kept confidential. The health department may contact you about telling your sex partner or partners that they may need treatment.
The Reference U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) Opens New Window recommends chlamydia screening for all sexually active women age 24 and younger. The USPSTF also recommends screening for women older than 24 with Reference high-risk sexual behaviors. High-risk sexual behaviors include having multiple sex partners or having sex without using a condom (except if you're in a long-term relationship). The task force does not state how often to be screened. After reviewing all of the research, the USPSTF has not recommended for or against regular chlamydia screening for men.Reference 4
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends screening every year for sexually active adolescents and women up to age 25. Women older than 25 who have high-risk sexual behaviors also should be screened every year.Reference 3 You may have a urine test for chlamydia (if it is available in your area) even if you do not have a full pelvic or genital exam.
The CDC recommends tests for pregnant women with high-risk sexual behaviors so they do not spread chlamydia to their babies. All pregnant women should be screened during their first prenatal visit. If a pregnant woman is at high risk for chlamydia, she may be tested again during her third trimester.
The CDC also recommends you have the test again 3 to 12 months after you finish treatment. Women who have been diagnosed and treated for chlamydia may get it again if they have sex with the same partner or partners.Reference 3
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference August 7, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Jeanne Marrazzo, MD, MPH - Infectious Disease