Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a bacteria called Chlamydia trachomatis. This STD usually affects the genitals, but can also cause symptoms in the mouth and throat.
The CDC advises that oral chlamydia be treated right away to reduce your risk for other infections, including other STDs. It is important to know about oral chlamydia symptoms, how it’s treated, and how you can find a high-quality treatment provider using Solv.
Is oral chlamydia a common thing?
Yes, it is possible to get oral chlamydia, which causes symptoms in the mouth and throat. In 2018, four million cases of chlamydia were reported in the United States, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates the number of infections may be much higher because many people do not experience noticeable symptoms.
The exact prevalence of oral chlamydia is unknown, as it is typically less common than genital chlamydia. However, it’s important to know that it can happen and that taking the necessary steps to avoid this STD may help reduce your risk for infection.
How do you get chlamydia in the mouth?
Also known as pharyngeal chlamydia, oral chlamydia can be caused by having oral sex with a partner who is infected with chlamydia.
According to the CDC, chlamydia in the throat and mouth is caused by giving oral sex to a partner who has an infected penis, vagina, urinary tract, or rectum. Oral chlamydia can also be caused by receiving oral sex on the penis, vagina, or anus from someone who has chlamydia in the throat.
What are chlamydia throat symptoms?
Many cases of oral chlamydia do not cause symptoms. However, according to the CDC, when oral chlamydia symptoms do occur, they may include:
- Sore throat (dryness and scratchiness in the throat)
- Mouth pain
- Mouth sores that don’t heal
- Cold sores (sores around the mouth and lips)
- Patches of redness with white spots
- Swollen tonsils
- Dental problems
- Chlamydia bumps on the tongue (in rare instances)
Some symptoms of oral chlamydia are the same as those associated with other types of health conditions. Visit your doctor to receive a proper diagnosis if you are experiencing any unusual oral symptoms, or if you think you have an STD in your mouth.
How is chlamydia diagnosed and treated?
Chlamydia can be diagnosed with a STD lab test. The NIH reports that males who want to be tested for chlamydia are asked to provide a urine sample, and females are given a long cotton swab they use to collect a sample from their vaginal areas. However, these diagnostic methods are usually only effective at diagnosing genital chlamydia — not oral chlamydia. Oral chlamydia can usually be diagnosed with a throat swab test in both males and females.
Oral and genital chlamydia can be effectively treated using antibiotics. Patients may be asked to refrain from engaging in any sexual activity for at least seven days until the infection has been cleared, according to the NIH. If you are diagnosed with chlamydia, your doctor may recommend taking all your antibiotic medication until the medication is gone, even if your symptoms have fully cleared.
What happens if chlamydia is left untreated for too long?
When left untreated, chlamydia can increase your risk for other serious health problems, including HIV/AIDs and infertility.
Chlamydia can weaken your immune system to make you more vulnerable to other infections and diseases, including other STDs. According to the NIH, n females, untreated chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, and infertility. In males, it may lead to infertility and infection of the epididymis. Untreated chlamydia may also cause arthritis, reports the NIH.
How to help avoid oral chlamydia
The most effective way to avoid getting oral chlamydia is to refrain from engaging in any form of sexual activity. However, it’s understandable that this prevention method may not be ideal or realistic for many people.
The NIH recommends using a barrier method every time you engage in oral sex to reduce your risk for oral chlamydia. Use a condom for oral sex on the penis, and a dental dam for oral sex on the vagina or anus. Another step you can take is to stay in a long-term monogamous relationship with your partner, as having multiple sex partners can often increase your risk for STDs including oral chlamydia.
If you’re in need of chlamydia testing, visit Solv today to browse and locate chlamydia testing providers in your area. Solv can help you find a walk-in clinic in your area that offers same-day STD testing, as well as lab testing for other health conditions.
Do I have tonsillitis or chlamydia?
Tonsillitis and chlamydia share some of the same symptoms, making it difficult for you to determine which condition you have. Sore throat, swollen tonsils, and difficulty swallowing due to throat pain are symptoms of both tonsillitis and chlamydia, according to data from the NIH.
Symptoms that are specific to tonsillitis include:
- White or yellow coating on tonsils
- Swollen glands in the neck
- Bad breath
- Feeling sick or weak
- Difficulty breathing
The NIH reports that tonsillitis is usually caused by viral infections and bacterial infections such as strep throat. If you think you may have tonsillitis, your doctor may perform one or more lab tests, including a strep test, to help diagnose or rule out tonsillitis or chlamydia.
Can STDs cause mouth ulcers?
Yes, STDs that can be transmitted orally may cause mouth sores and ulcers, also known as canker sores. According to the CDC, STDs that may cause mouth ulcers include chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), HIV, and syphilis.
If you have one or more mouth ulcers, make an appointment with your doctor for an evaluation and diagnosis. Other potential causes of mouth ulcers include sensitivities to acidic foods, sports and dental injuries, vitamin deficiencies, harsh toothpaste ingredients, and non-STD bacterial and viral infections.
Which STD causes white spots on tonsils?
White spots on your tonsils may be caused by gonorrhea and chlamydia, reports the American Dental Association. These spots may appear in both your mouth and throat and may even appear on top of raised sores that resemble canker sores.
See your doctor to receive an evaluation and proper diagnosis if you notice white spots on your tonsils or anywhere else in your mouth or throat. It’s possible that the white spots may be caused by strep throat or tonsillitis, though your doctor can confirm this during your appointment.