Oral chlamydia: everything you need to know

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What is Pharyngeal Chlamydia?

Pharyngeal chlamydia, also known as oral chlamydia, is a form of chlamydia transmitted through contact of the mouth to a sexual partner’s infected genitals or anus. A form of sexually transmitted infection (which you may also hear referred to as an STI or as a sexually transmitted disease, referred to as an STD), one can catch chlamydia in the throat through touching one’s mouth to the vagina, penis, or anus of an individual who has been afflicted. 

For the most part, pharyngeal chlamydia is asymptomatic. Most oral chlamydia symptoms on the off chance one should experience them will manifest themselves in the throat. These throat chlamydia symptoms are likely to be a sore throat or general discomfort in the throat and mouth. As partners may be asymptomatic and as such not be aware of their having chlamydia at all, it is important you get tested in order to ensure the sexual health of you and your partners. Other symptoms of oral chlamydia include mouth pains and sores in the general mouth area. These symptoms can go beyond the throat and manifest themselves in the genitals as well. Sharing those symptoms with genital chlamydia, oral chlamydia may also lead to pain while urinating or in the testicles, unusual discharge, as well as pain in the anus. 

How do You Get Oral Chlamydia?

As indicated by the name, oral chlamydia is a form of chlamydia that manifests in the throat and mouth. Chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease, is spread through sexual contact. Chlamydia in the throat is transmitted through putting your mouth directly on the genitals or rectum of someone afflicted with chlamydia at the time of the sexual encounter. Though you can get chlamydia in your mouth, oral chlamydia is generally not transmitted through mouth to mouth contact or kissing. The chances of being afflicted with chlamydia in the throat are not as likely as being afflicted with chlamydia in the genitals, but it does not mean it is impossible. An individual with oral chlamydia can still transmit the STI as well, even in spite of being asymptomatic. 

Can Pharyngeal Chlamydia be Prevented?

Pharyngeal chlamydia, like many sexually transmitted diseases, can be prevented by making sure to use protection. Using a condom during sexual intercourse offers a layer of protection and forms a barrier between you and any possible sexual illnesses. Due to its oral nature, pharyngeal chlamydia can also be prevented using dental dams, a type of thin sheets placed between the genitals (or the anus) and mouth during oral sex. Important parts of prevention include being responsible and ensuring your protection, whether it be dental dams or condoms, is completely intact and not torn in any way or expired in order to ensure they are as effective as possible. Additionally, getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases often will help individuals catch pharyngeal chlamydia early before symptoms have a chance to get severe. Though it may not be exact prevention, regular testing prevents any sexually transmitted illnesses from becoming serious in the long term. Having intercourse with a trusted sexual partner who you know is free from sexually transmitted diseases or also regularly being tested for them as well is the best form of prevention alongside skin to skin and skin to mouth protection.

Signs You May Have Oral Chlamydia 

Though oral chlamydia often appears asymptomatic, there are several indicators you can keep an eye out for if you suspect you or a sexual partner may have caught the sexually transmitted disease. As mentioned earlier, indicators of early chlamydia in the throat manifest themselves in the form of a sore throat or general throat and mouth discomfort. However, it is easy for a sore throat to be explained by several other ailments, such as strep throat or even just a common cold. As such, the afflicted may not be able to tell they are carrying oral chlamydia even if they are not asymptomatic. For those uncertain if their sore throat is a sign of chlamydia or an indicator of another common illness, there exist more symptoms that may manifest themselves to aid in providing more clarification. Signs often associated with other sexually transmitted diseases may appear, such as cold sores on the face around the mouth area or on the lips. 

If you have been in contact with someone who has chlamydia and contracted the sexually transmitted illness from them, it may have been contracted in your genitals as well. Genital chlamydia has slightly more apparent symptoms, though they may be confused for other illnesses as well. Chlamydia symptoms can emerge in the form of a burning sensation while urinating, though people may dismiss it as a urinary tract infection and not suspect a sexually transmitted disease. Other symptoms include pain, swelling, redness or discharge with a resemblance to blood in the genitals, as well as rectal pain. If you find yourself or a partner exhibiting any of the signs of oral chlamydia, even minor, it is a good idea to go visit a doctor to make sure your or your partner’s health is fine. 

How is Oral Chlamydia Diagnosed? 

If you suspect you or someone in your life to have oral chlamydia, seeking medical attention as soon as possible to avoid long term effects is a must. To be examined for oral chlamydia, you will most likely have to do a throat swab. When being tested for chlamydia, your healthcare provider may only test for genital chlamydia through collecting a urine sample or vaginal swab. However, these forms of testing will not address the risk of oral chlamydia and may come back negative for chlamydia even if you have contracted the oral version. In order to ensure good health, ask your healthcare provider to be provided with a test for oral chlamydia as well. 

How is Oral Chlamydia Treated?

Should your test for pharyngeal chlamydia come back positive, your doctor will most likely have you undergo some form of treatment. It is important to get treated as soon as possible in order to prevent the sexually transmitted illness from creating any long term effects or infecting any of your potential partners. Luckily, oral chlamydia can generally be handled quite easily through antibiotics. Your doctor will likely prescribe you a seven day medication plan of taking doxycycline or a one dose alternative of taking azithromycin. If your genitals are infected as well or the case of chlamydia is severe, more treatment may be needed in order to address the illness. Your doctor will create a medication plan based on the severity of your illness. 

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This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.

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