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Amy is a Board Certified Family Health Nurse Practitioner (FNP) with over 15 years of experience working in Hospital Medicine, Urgent Care and Primary Care practices. Amy graduated Thomas Jefferson University with high distinction earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2008, a Master of Science in Nursing in 2010 and a Post Master's Certificate in Adult Gerontology Acute Care (AGAC) in 2014. She was recognized by the Elite American Nurses Association in 2013 for her dedication, achievements and leadership in the field Nursing. She served as a clinical preceptor for a number of Nurse Practitioner students and enjoys teaching the bright minds of future NPs.
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can often be difficult to spot due to its lack of symptoms.
One of the most common symptoms of chlamydia is a change in your vaginal discharge. While discharge is a normal bodily function, changes in color, consistency, and odor can be an indication of an infection. So what does chlamydia discharge look like?
Typically, the discharge associated with chlamydia is yellow in color and may have a strong odor. It may also be thicker than your usual discharge.
- Chlamydia often does not show any symptoms.
- One of the most common symptoms of chlamydia is a change in vaginal discharge.
- Normal vaginal discharge is clear or white in color, and may vary in consistency throughout your menstrual cycle.
- Chlamydia discharge is often yellow in color, may have a strong odor, and be thicker than usual.
- Yellow discharge could also be a sign of other infections, so it’s important to get tested for chlamydia and other STIs.
- If you are experiencing any changes in your vaginal discharge you should consult with a healthcare provider.
Continue reading to learn more about chlamydia discharge.
Table of Contents
- What Is Discharge and What Does Normal Discharge Look Like?
- STD and Chlamydia Discharge Color
- Discharge Colors & What They Mean
- What Does Chlamydia Discharge Look Like?
- Chlamydia Discharge in Women
- Chlamydia Discharge in Men
- What Should You Do if You Have Unusual Discharge?
- Key Takeaways
What Is Discharge and What Does Normal Discharge Look Like?
Discharge may be something that you’ve experienced before, and it’s not always a sign of infections like Chlamydia. Vaginal discharge is very common and it’s produced by the uterus, cervix, and vagina in order to clean and fight bad bacteria. So often, discharge is a sign that everything is in order and that your body is doing its part in fighting off infections and diseases.
The amount of discharge you experience can vary from person to person, so there’s no need to be concerned if you feel like you produce either a little or a lot.
However, if you notice a change in your discharge, it might be time to get yourself checked and do something about it. You may see a change in consistency, color, or even smell. While a change might not be a sign of anything serious, it’s better to be safe than sorry and make sure you don’t have any kind of disease.
STD and Chlamydia Discharge Color
If you have an STD or Chlamydia, then you may notice a significant change in your discharge compared to what you’re used to experiencing.
Again, it can differ from person to person, but if you notice a change – get in touch with a healthcare professional as soon as possible.
A very telling sign that you are experiencing an STD or Chlamydia would be a change in color; which in this case would be yellow.
Discharge Colors & What They Mean
Now that we know that a change in color, specifically to yellow, may be an indication of Chlamydia – let’s take a more in-depth look into other colors you might experience and what they could possibly mean.
- Clear: Clear discharge is often a sign of ovulation or pregnancy.
- White: You may see some white chunks in your discharge, and this is likely due to your body fighting off an infection.
- Gray: If your discharge is gray in color, it might be due to Bacterial Vaginosis – which is an infection of the vagina.
- Yellow: As we’ve established, yellow discharge is often a sign of Chlamydia or another STD.
- Green: Green discharge is usually a sign of Trichomoniasis, which is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a parasite.
- Brown: Brown discharge may happen after your period ends, and it’s usually just old blood that’s being expelled.
- Pink: Pink discharge may be a sign of cervical cancer, but it can also be normal if you’re pregnant or experiencing menopause.
- Orange: Orange discharge is often a mix of other colors, and it may be due to an infection.
- Red: Red discharge is often a sign of cervical cancer, but it can also be due to other things like implantation bleeding or menopause.
- Black: Black discharge may happen after sexual activity, and it’s usually old blood that’s mixed with semen.
When Should You Be Concerned?
While some changes in color may not be anything to worry about, there are certain times when you should take note and seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, then it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional as you may have an STD or an infection.
- An unusual vaginal discharge that’s different from your normal discharge.
- A change in the smell of your vaginal discharge.
- Pain or burning when urinating.
- Itching, burning, or redness around the vagina.
- Pain during sex.
- Unusual bleeding, such as bleeding between periods or after sex.
- If you’re pregnant and experiencing any of these symptoms.
What Does Chlamydia Discharge Look Like?
Your discharge may just be a healthy function of your body, but it’s worth paying attention to just in case there is any kind of changes being experienced. If you’ve recently had a new sexual partner, it would be healthy to observe for any changes, as your partner may not even be aware that they’re carrying the infection.
Most importantly, symptoms can vary in severity and are different based on sex. You may even experience a change in discharge a few weeks after sex with a partner who was infected, making it harder to spot the symptom, as well as the cause of it.
Chlamydia Discharge in Women
As mentioned before, vaginal discharge is common and the result of the body fighting bad bacteria and lubricating the vagina. While the discharge itself isn’t the concern, the change in discharge should be.
The appearance of your discharge may change when you have Chlamydia, appearing a more yellow color instead of the usual, and it’s often accompanied by a strong and unpleasant smell.
The discharge is not always yellow, however, and sometimes it can vary in consistency, as well. The discharge might be thicker than usual, as well as a cloudier color. If you’re experiencing any changes with your discharge, it might be worth booking an appointment with a professional just to make sure.
Symptoms won’t always show and it’s estimated that 40-96% of women experiencing Chlamydia are asymptomatic., and it could take a while before you see any signs of Chlamydia, meaning you could have had it for a long time before realizing it. It’s due to this that it’s so easily spread from partner to partner.
Chlamydia Discharge in Men
Discharge in men is a lot less common than in women, and it’s generally only seen or experienced during sexual stimulation. If you’re experiencing discharge outside of sexual stimulation, and it doesn’t appear to be ejaculate or pre-ejaculate, it may be a sign that you have Chlamydia. It’s also worth noting that, unlike women, men may not experience a yellow discharge – making it even more difficult to identify.
Another sign to look out for if you’ve noticed discharge when there shouldn’t be any is if you are experiencing any kind of pain or strange sensations when urinating, or even just in general. This could be itching, burning, stinging, or even testicular pain.
With that said, the symptoms aren’t always telling, and even if you have Chlamydia – you might not notice it due to a lack of discharge and strange sensations. If you’ve seen the signs and are unsure of it, it would be a great idea to take a Chlamydia test just to make sure. Leaving it untreated can lead the infection to spread to the testicles, which will cause pain and swelling/inflammation.
What Should You Do if You Have Unusual Discharge?
If you have an unusual discharge, it’s best to get in touch with a healthcare professional and take a Chlamydia test. While an infection may clear up on its own, it’s always better to have it taken care of and treated as soon as possible. As mentioned before, if left untreated, Chlamydia can spread and cause issues elsewhere in the body, so the faster you act – the better.
Even if you don’t have it, a change in discharge can be a sign of something else that’s wrong in the body, and getting a second opinion can help shed some light on the situation. The worst-case scenario is that you do have Chlamydia and that you get it treated as soon as possible.
Your doctor will prescribe you antibiotics to fight the infection, but it may take some time for it to fully fight off the infection. You should make sure you take the full course of antibiotics prescribed to you, as well, or else your infection may come back despite you feeling as if it’s gone.
If you find that the antibiotics you’ve been given aren’t helping, or your condition is worsening even after you’ve had the full course, then you should get in touch with your doctor as soon as possible to see about seeking an alternative treatment. Prior use of antibiotics may have made them less effective, and it’s possible that it will affect your treatment.
- The symptoms of Chlamydia aren’t always visible, and an estimated majority of women who experience the infection are asymptomatic.
- Men and women have different symptoms when experiencing Chlamydia.
- A change in your discharge can be a sign that you’re experiencing Chlamydia. A change in thickness, odor, color, and even amount can be a symptom of your infection.
- You should see a doctor if you’ve noticed a change in your discharge.
- Untreated Chlamydia can spread to other parts of the body and cause inflammation and swelling without the right usage of antibiotics.
- Chlamydia is easily spread due to the lack of symptoms most people experience.
- Spence D, Melville C. Vaginal discharge BMJ 2007; 335 :1147 doi: https://www.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39378.633287.80.
- O’Connell CM, Ferone ME. Chlamydia trachomatis Genital Infections. Microb Cell. 2016 Sep 5;3(9):390-403. doi: https://www.doi.org/10.15698/mic2016.09.525. PMID: 28357377; PMCID: PMC5354567.
- Is Male Discharge Normal? Healthline. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/male-discharge-normal.
- Be Antibiotics Aware: Smart Use, Best Care, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/patientsafety/features/be-antibiotics-aware.html.
- Levy, Stuart B. “The Challenge of Antibiotic Resistance.” Scientific American, vol. 278, no. 3, 1998, pp. 46–53. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/26057703.
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