Chlamydia and gonorrhoea are both common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that can affect both men and women.
What is chlamydia?
Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by bacteria. There is often no symptoms. However, chlamydia can cause serious complications if left untreated and so it’s important to get tested regularly if you have multiple sexual partners.
What is gonorrhoea?
Gonorrhoea is an STI caused by bacteria. Gonorrhoea does not always display symptoms and can cause sterility. It can also cause permanent blindness in unborn babies so it’s very important to be tested if you’re thinking of getting pregnant.
What is trichomoniasis?
Trichomoniasis (“trich”) is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a protozoan parasite, trichomonas vaginalis.
Trichomoniasis is not very common in Europe, for reasons we don’t yet fully understand. But trich is really common in North America. Approximately 3.7 million Americans are estimated to have the infection at any one time.
How is chlamydia, gonorrhoea and trichomoniasis transmitted?
Chlamydia and gonorrhoea transmission
Unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex are the main ways a chlamydia or gonorrhoea infection can be transmitted. Penetration doesn’t have to occur for transmission to take place. Touching genitals together or sharing unclean sex toys may transmit the bacteria.
Newborn babies can acquire chlamydia or gonorrhoea from their mother during birth.
You can only contract trichomoniasis through sexual contact. The easiest way to transmit it would be through unprotected vaginal intercourse or anal intercourse but there are some reported cases of transmission via oral sex as well.
Areas of infection
Chlamydia and gonorrhoea can infect:
- the rectum if you have unprotected anal sex – this can cause discomfort and discharge from your rectum
- the throat if you have unprotected oral sex – this is uncommon and usually causes no symptoms
- the eyes if they come into contact with infected semen or vaginal fluid – this can cause eye redness, pain and discharge (conjunctivitis)
Trichomoniasis can infect:
- the vagina and vulva
- the penis and genitals
- the urethra
Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and trichomoniasis symptoms
Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and trichomoniasis often do not display any symptoms. You can still infect others even though you may have no symptoms.
When they are present, symptoms include:
Chlamydia symptoms in women
- pain when urinating
- unusual vaginal discharge
- pain in the tummy or pelvis
- pain during sex
- bleeding after sex
- bleeding between periods
Gonorrhoea symptoms in women
- discharge from the vagina (watery, creamy, or slightly green)
- pain or burning sensation while urinating
- the need to urinate more frequently
- heavier periods or spotting
- sore throat
- pain upon engaging in sexual intercourse
- sharp pain in the lower abdomen
Trichomoniasis symptoms in women
- Vaginal itching, burning, swelling or redness
- Pain in the vagina
- Pain during urination or sex
- Unusual vaginal discharge (for them), i.e. a discharge that’s uncommon for the individual. Often there is a white, yellow, gray or green frothy discharge with an unpleasant smell
- Vaginal spotting or bleeding
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Other conditions such as gonorrhoea, chlamydia, and bacterial vaginosis often occur with trichomoniasis. If these are untreated they can result in pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Complications of PID include:
- fallopian tube blockage due to scar tissue
- chronic abdominal or pelvic pain
Chlamydia symptoms in men
- pain when urinating
- white, cloudy or watery discharge from the tip of the penis
- burning or itching in the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body)
- pain in the testicles
- If chlamydia is left untreated, the infection can cause swelling in the epididymis (the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles) and the testicles. This could affect your fertility.
Gonorrhoea symptoms in men
- greater frequency or urgency of urination
- a pus-like discharge (or drip) from the penis (white, yellow, beige, or greenish)
- swelling or redness at the opening of the penis
- swelling or pain in the testicles
- a persistent sore throat
Trichomoniasis symptoms in men
- pain in the urethra (the tube inside the penis which you urinate/ejaculate out of)
- pain after urinating or ejaculating
- a discharge that may be clear or unusually coloured coming from the penis
- sore, swollen testicles
- frequent urge to urinate
Complications from chlamydia, gonorrhoea and trichomoniasis
Chlamydia & gonorrhoea complications
Chlamydia and gonorrhoea often do not display any symptoms but if left untreated they can lead to serious complications.
- Both chlamydia and gonorrhoea can spread to the womb and cause a serious condition called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This is a major cause of ectopic pregnancy and infertility in women. Symptoms of PID include:
- severe pelvic pain
- abnormal vaginal bleeding between periods
- Gonorrhoea can cause permanent blindness in a newborn baby. It can be passed from a pregnant woman to her baby. If planning to have a baby, it’s important to get tested. If you’re pregnant and may have gonorrhoea, it’s important to get tested and treated before your baby is born.
- Both chlamydia and gonorrhoea can cause infertility/sterility if left untreated.
- Complications in pregnancy. Trichomoniasis can cause complications in pregnant women. There can be a higher chance of delivering prematurely or delivering a baby with low birth weight. Although rare, the infection can be transmitted to the baby during delivery. One study suggested that your child’s risk of developing an intellectual disability increases if the mother has trichomoniasis during pregnancy. If you are pregnant and suspect that you have trich or any other STI, talk to your doctor as soon as possible to prevent complications for you and your child.Since trich is often asymptomatic (shows no symptoms so many people do not realise they have it), if you are considering getting pregnant, you may wish to consider testing for trichomoniasis first.
- Increased susceptibility to other STIs. Trichomoniasis can increase your chance of contracting other STIs, in particular, HIV. So that’s why it’s such a concern and that’s why it’s recommend that you get tested frequently, particularly if you’re starting or leaving a new relationship or if you’re having very frequent casual partners.Your risk of infection can increase if you have had previous trichomoniasis infections or a history of other STIs.We recommend that you get tested approximately every 3 months. Bear in mind that reinfection is possible (even if your partners were treated) as there are cases of trichomoniasis being resistant to certain drugs. The reinfection rate can be as high as 17% in the three months after treatment.
Order a Discreet Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea and Trichomoniasis Home Test Kit
Order a discreet Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea and Trichomoniasis Test Kit. Our home test kit checks for the presence of two common bacterial infections and the sexually transmitted parasite Trichomoniasis using a genital swab.
Get the convenience of home testing with the reassurance of professional clinical analysis. Your results are delivered quickly and securely online.
What’s included in the test kit?
- Female swabbing/male urine testing kit
- FREE post & packaging
- Results usually within 24 Hours
- Accredited laboratory testing by clinical professionals
- Personalised report with detailed guidance in your secure online dashboard
- The same accuracy and quality as your GP or hospital
This Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea and Trichomoniasis Test is advised if you:
- have a partner who has been diagnosed with an STI
- have entered a new sexual relationship with someone
- have had unprotected sexual intercourse
- have symptoms that indicate the presence of an STI
What is tested?
- Genital Chlamydia. Chlamydia can lie dormant for many years without symptoms so it should be checked if you are at risk.
- Genital Gonorrhoea. Most carriers – especially women – show no or very mild symptoms so a test is essential if you are at risk.
- Genital Trichomoniasis. The symptoms of Trichomoniasis typically develop within four weeks of infection. However, as many as half of all people don’t develop any symptoms. A Trichomoniasis test is recommended if you are at risk.
Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and trichomoniasis prevention
The surest way for a sexually active person to avoid contracting chlamydia, gonorrhoea or trichomoniasis is to use a condom during sexual intercourse.
To practice safe sex, it’s recommended to:
- Use protection with each new partner.
- Get tested regularly for STIs with new partners.
- Avoid having oral sex, or use protection during oral sex, until a partner has been screened for STIs.
Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and trichomoniasis treatment
The good news is these chlamydia, gonorrhoea and trichomoniasis are easy to treat with antibiotics from your doctor and most infections clear up in 1-2 weeks.
When antibiotics are prescribed, dosage instructions should be followed carefully to make sure the infection clears up fully. You must always finish a course of antibiotics – even if you no longer display any symptoms – to avoid building bacterial resistance to the antibiotic.
Should you test positive, make sure your sexual partners are properly tested and treated also. Not having symptoms does not mean they are uninfected. You will need to avoid sexual contact for a week after all partners have been treated.