What does an oral Chlamydia infection look like?

Published June 21 2024 inSexual Health
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Most people have heard of Chlamydia and know that it can infect the genitals.

But did you know that you can also get a Chlamydia infection in your throat?

Like many STIs, it’s important to understand how this infection behaves so that you can protect yourself and get treated if you have it.

Keep reading to find out more.

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What is oral Chlamydia?

Unlike most Chlamydia infections, which affect the genital area, oral Chlamydia specifically targets the throat.

Oral Chlamydia occurs when Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria (the bacteria that cause Chlamydia) infect the mucous membranes in your mouth and throat.

Chlamydia infections are site-specific, meaning the symptoms tend to be located where the infection is contracted. You can have a genital Chlamydia infection and not have an oral Chlamydia infection, or an oral infection and not a genital infection or both.  For completeness, you can also have an anal infection if you receive anal sex.

As for prevalence, oral Chlamydia is less common than genital Chlamydia, but it’s not rare. The exact statistics can vary depending on the population and region. However, it’s estimated that, of people who report to a sexual health clinic, about 1.5% have an oral Chlamydia infection.

How do you get oral Chlamydia?

To get an oral Chlamydia infection, Chlamydia bacteria must come in contact with the mucous membranes in your throat.

The most common way this happens is when you perform oral sex on a male or female partner who has an existing genital Chlamydia infection.

You can also get an oral Chlamydia infection by performing oral-anal stimulation on someone who has an anal Chlamydia infection, though this is relatively rare.

Despite common conceptions about Chlamydia, you can’t get it from kissing, even if the person you kiss has an existing infection in their throat.

What are the symptoms of an oral Chlamydia infection?

Oral Chlamydia can often be difficult to detect due to its subtle or even non-existent symptoms. However, when symptoms do occur, they may include:

  • Sore throat: This is one of the most common symptoms and can range from a mild discomfort to severe pain.
  • Mouth sores: These can appear as small ulcers or blisters in the mouth.
  • Pain while swallowing: Some people may experience pain or discomfort while swallowing, similar to strep throat.
  • Cough: A persistent cough can also be a symptom of oral Chlamydia.

It’s important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, such as the common cold.

How can I get tested for oral Chlamydia?

Most genital Chlamydia infections are detected by testing a urine sample.

However, because an oral Chlamydia infection is located in the throat, a urine sample won’t contain the bacteria needed for detection.

For this reason, Better2Know uses a throat swab to test for oral Chlamydia infections. The swab collects a sample of the affected area and tests it for the presence of the bacteria.

Most STIs go undetected

If you think you may have an oral Chlamydia infection, click the button below to schedule a throat swab test at a sexual health clinic near you.

How do I treat oral Chlamydia?

Chlamydia infections are treated with antibiotics.

When you get tested with Better2Know, we will connect you with a doctor who can help you access the medication you’ll need to clear the infection.

How can I avoid getting oral Chlamydia?

The best way to avoid getting an oral Chlamydia infection is to use contraception. Condoms and dental dams are effective barrier methods that will help prevent the bacteria from spreading.

Use your best judgment about what sexual acts to participate in and consider how it may affect you and your partner.

Final thoughts

Oral Chlamydia infections are relatively rare, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be taken seriously.

If you’re experiencing the symptoms of oral Chlamydia, or you think you may have the infection, click the button below to book a test with Better2Know at a sexual health clinic near you.

Chlamydia is easily treatable with the right medication

Don’t leave your sexual health to chance. Get tested with Better2Know today.


Mike has been delivering world class Sexually Transmitted Infections testing services to Better2Know patients around the world for over ten years. He has written extensively on the subject, including numerous blogs for Better2Know which are designed to demystify the complex intricacies of sexual health testing. Mike wants to help his readers understand the risks they take in their daily sexual lives and provide the information they need when choosing an STI or STD test in a clear, concise and understandable way. Mike is particularly interested in writing about viral STIs like HIV and Hepatitis, as these infections can have a devastating impact on people’s lives if they are not diagnosed quickly. Only through being well informed can you best care for your health, and Mike is passionate about sharing his knowledge and experience to help you and all his readers lead a happier, healthier life.