Chlamydia does not cause symptoms in half the men who are infected. This is why regular
testing and partner notification is so important. Untreated infections can lead to both short
and long term complications.
chlamydia in men usually show up one to three weeks after the initial exposure to the
infection. Symptoms are penile discharge (that can be yellow-white, thick,
milky, or watery), burning or itching around the penis, and painful urination/ejaculation. The
pain and discharge are caused by bacteria inflaming the urethra (the tube that carries urine and
ejaculate). Men who receive anal sex can get rectal chlamydia
infections and develop rectal pain, discharge, or bleeding.
If left untreated,
the infection can spread from the urethra
to the epididymis (the tube carrying sperm from the testis), causing pain,
swelling, and fever (called epididymitis). In rare cases,
prolonged inflammation of the epididymis can lead to
infertility in men. Another rare complication of chlamydia that can occur is
reactive arthritis (painful
swelling of one or more joints). Formerly known as Reiter's Syndrome, reactive arthritis
sometimes appears as part of a group of symptoms also affecting the urinary tract and eyes. This
can occur days to weeks after a chlamydia infection, whether or not treatment is received.