Expert Answers Factual Answers to Your Sexual Health Questions

Anonymous on August 8, 2011

Is a burning sensation with urination a symptom of chlamydia infection? What about unusual discharge?

What are the symptoms of chlamydia? My partner says he has a burning feeling while urinating. He got tested and is waiting for results to find out what it was. I haven’t experienced any problems...but I did have some discharge for a while. Can you help?

answered by Lisa Oldson, MD on August 8, 2011

First, be aware that the symptoms of chlamydia are often “silent.” That means most people who are infected with chlamydia don’t notice any signs or symptoms of the bacterial infection...either you or your partner could have chlamydia without knowing it.

If your partner has chlamydia, he may have passed the infection to you. I’m glad that your partner got tested for chlamydia. Getting tested is the only way to confirm whether you have chlamydia, too...so I would encourage you to get tested as well.

Additionally, I encourage both of you to consider getting tested for all of the most common STDs, including gonorrhea, herpes, hepatitis B and C, HIV and syphilis. Why? Because if you have reason for concern that you’ve been exposed to one STD, you might have been exposed to others...getting tested is the only way to know your STD status for sure.

The symptoms you describe could indicate chlamydia...or some other infection.  Both painful urination and abnormal discharge are symptoms of chlamydia. But, again, the only way you’ll both know your statuses for sure is to get tested and treated, if necessary. Successful treatment and safer sex practices will likely resolve the current infection and allow you to avoid potentially chronic (long-term) health complications down the road.

If either of you do test positive for chlamydia, not having sex until treatment is completed is the only way to reduce the risk of re-infecting each other and passing the infection back and forth.

For more information about chlamydia symptoms, complications, testing and treatment, visit our Expert Guide to Chlamydia...and check out our Expert Guide to STD Basics for more information about other common STDs and how to practice safer sex. Using condoms or dental dams each and every time you have oral, anal or vaginal sex goes a long way to protecting yourself from STDs.

I wish you both the best of health!

Lisa Oldson, MD

Dr. Oldson is Medical Director of the Analyte Physicians Group. She is on staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, as well as Clinical Instructor at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. Her areas of expertise include STDs (with a particular clinical emphasis on herpes), women's health, preventive medicine, diabetes, obesity and weight management, and mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Oldson was educated at Rush Medical College and completed her residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, IL.

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