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Home / Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) / Chlamydia / Can you get chlamydia in your mouth and throat?

Can you get chlamydia in your mouth and throat?

What you need to know about symptoms, treatment and more.

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by bacteria. It is known as the silent and most common STI as well as one of the most easily spread.

The human body is home to many bacteria that are not necessarily bad. However, there is a specific species that can cause harm. Chlamydia trachomatis is a bacterial species that affects both men and women and can harm the mouth, throat, nose, and even the eyes. It can be cured, but it is important to know the signs that you might have oral chlamydia so that you can take the right precautions. This fast and easy guide will tell you all you need to know about chlamydia of the mouth and throat and how to treat it.

What causes chlamydia in the throat or mouth?

You are correct in thinking that chlamydia is not typically diagnosed in the throat or mouth. Although it commonly spreads through other areas of the body like the vagina, penis, or rectum, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as chlamydia can lead to an extragenital infection that can affect the mouth or throat, parts of the body that may also be involved in sexual contact.

Chlamydia is a bacterial infection transmitted from an infected sex partner when there is contact with the mucous membranes in the mouth or throat during unprotected sex. It can be transmitted from the mouth to the genitals, or vice versa.

How common is oral chlamydia?

It is possible, but quite rare, that someone may contract chlamydia in their throat and mouth. One study Trusted source PubMed Government Source Database of Biomedical Research Go to source looked into the rates of oral chlamydia infection in heterosexual men and women, who had a known genital infection, and reported recent unprotected oral sex. It found that 7% of women and nearly 3% of men had positive throat swabs.

Can you get chlamydia from oral sex?

Chlamydia is an infection that’s transmitted via any high-risk sexual activity without protection. A person could get an oral type of chlamydia if they were to perform oral sex on an infected partner. A person gets chlamydia when their mucosal membranes come in contact with the chlamydia bacteria. It is possible you could become infected with chlamydia through performing oral sex on an infected person. This can also be caused by actions like receiving oral sex from a person who has contracted the infection or even using someone else's sex toy without fully sanitizing it first.

As such, it's important to see your doctor after any sexual contact with someone who has oral or genital chlamydia.

Couple having oral sex on the bed

Can you get chlamydia from kissing?

It’s impossible to get chlamydia from mouth-to-mouth kissing. While it might seem like a possibility, for a variety of reasons, including lack of available research and documented evidence, it is generally agreed by both scientists and medical professionals that this is a myth.

Oral chlamydia is most commonly caused by unprotected oral sex and is associated with risky* sexual behavior. If you or your sexual partner has chlamydia or is showing symptoms, see a doctor and get tested.

If you do not know if you have chlamydia, you might not go to the doctor. Not only is the further spread of the infection very possible, but you might experience unpleasant symptoms.

*Having multiple sexual partners without using protection.

Couple kissing

What are the symptoms of chlamydia of the throat or mouth?

Chlamydia is often asymptomatic, meaning the person does not have any symptoms. When symptoms do occur, it may be one to three weeks after exposure. While only a small percentage of people who are infected develop symptoms, nearly all infected individuals will develop persistent genital infection or infection of the throat.

Oral chlamydia symptoms may include:

  • sores on the lips, inside of the mouth, throat, or tongue
  • pain or difficulty swallowing or speaking
  • painful or burning sensations when eating or drinking
  • excessive nasal discharge
  • pain during oral sex
  • fever
  • canker sores
  • white patches on the tonsils
  • a sore throat (pharyngitis)
  • scratchy, dry throat
  • swollen lymph nodes in your neck
  • lesions similar to cold sores

You may develop symptoms in the mouth but not in the throat. It also can cause lesions on the soft palate and tonsils. Sometimes the sores will produce a white substance that resembles strep throat, but an infection will cause a more severe, painful sore throat. However, the American CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) does not classify pharyngeal chlamydia as an important cause of pharyngitis (sore throats).

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is best to see your doctor as soon as possible. Even if you aren't experiencing symptoms, you can still pass the infection on to your partner.

Woman sitting on the bed with a sore throat

How is oral chlamydia diagnosed?

If you're worried about oral chlamydia, you should speak with your healthcare provider about having a throat swab done. The test is not always included in routine chlamydia testing, so it's important to tell your doctor about your concerns. If your healthcare provider has only collected a urine sample or vaginal swab, they can still diagnose you with oral chlamydia.

You can choose to get STI tests done at your local GP or health clinic, or you can order a home test kit. Remember, if you experience any symptoms, see a healthcare professional for a diagnosis. The faster you get tested and treated, the faster you can stop the spread of the disease, and the faster you can get your mouth and throat back to normal!

Oral chlamydia throat swab

How to avoid getting oral chlamydia?

In order to avoid this STI, it is important to follow a few simple recommendations:

  • the best way to prevent an STI is to practice safe sex
  • use latex condoms or a dental dam for all sexual activity to reduce the risk of getting pharyngeal chlamydia
  • only perform oral-genital contact with a partner whose STD history you are fully aware of
  • since often there are no visible symptoms, it’s important to get STD tests regularly

These are some ways to protect yourself from getting a chlamydial infection in your mouth or throat.

A couple in bed holding a condom

How do you treat oral chlamydia?

Untreated chlamydia can lead to more severe health problems, including chronic pelvic pain, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ectopic pregnancy, or infertility. Untreated chlamydia can lead to complications in men, including urethritis and chronic prostatitis. The good news is, once your test has come back positive, the infection can be treated with antibiotics.

Chlamydia treatments usually take about one week to complete, and most people begin to feel better within a few days.

Antibiotics, such as azithromycin and doxycycline are highly effective if taken daily. These are prescription treatments that can successfully knock back the symptoms of the infection.

You can have either a one-off dose of azithromycin or two doxycycline tablets taken every day for one week. These treatments are available to purchase on euroClinix.

While oral chlamydia isn't the most severe infection, it can still be harmful. That's why the best thing to do is to get yourself to a doctor for a diagnosis. You should then take the appropriate medication. If you've noticed symptoms like a sore throat, mouth pain, and genital pain, be sure to see a doctor right away.

Woman taking antibiotics

How can you get chlamydia treatment online?

If you have chlamydia, there's no need to be embarrassed about it. Many cases of sexually transmitted infections go undiagnosed, so it's good practice to be screened and treated. However, if you still feel uncomfortable discussing sexual health in person, don't be afraid to look elsewhere.

If you have been diagnosed, it's important to seek treatment as soon as possible. Many online pharmacies, including euroClinix, offer prescription treatment for chlamydia if you already know your diagnosis.

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Medically reviewed by Dr. Plauto Filho Written by our editorial team Last reviewed 20-09-2023

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Further reading

Chlamydia symptoms: what to look out for

Chlamydia symptoms: what to look out for

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How chlamydia affects men and women differently

How chlamydia affects men and women differently

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Can I get chlamydia in the eye?

Can I get chlamydia in the eye?

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