If you have chlamydial infection, take all of the prescribed medicine, even after symptoms disappear. If the symptoms do not disappear within one to two weeks after finishing the medicine, go to your doctor or clinic again. It is very important to tell your sex partners that you have chlamydial infection so that they can be tested and treated. In women, untreated chlamydial infections can lead to pelvic inflammatory diseases (PID). In men, untreated chlamydial infections may lead to pain or swelling in the scrotal area, which is a sign of inflammation of a part of the male reproductive system located near the testicles known as the epididymis.
Left untreated, these complications can prevent people from having children. Each year up to 1 million women in the U.S. develop PID, a serious infection of the reproductive organs. As many as half of all cases of PID may be due to chlamydial infection, and many of these don't have symptoms. PID can cause scarring of the fallopian tubes, which can block the tubes and prevent fertilization.
Researchers estimate that 100,000 women each year become infertile because of PID. In other cases, scarring may interfere with the passage of the fertilized egg to the uterus during pregnancy. When this happens, the egg may attach itself to the fallopian tube. This is called ectopic or tubal pregnancy. This very serious condition results in a miscarriage and can cause death of the mother.
You can reduce your chances of getting chlamydia or of giving it to your partner by using male latex condoms correctly every time you have sexual intercourse. If you are infected but have no symptoms, you can pass the bacteria to your sex partners without knowing it. Therefore, many doctors recommend that anyone who has more than one sex partner, especially women under age 25, be tested for chlamydial infection regularly, even if they don't have symptoms.