Differences Between Chlamydia and Gonorrhea

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), mainly caused by bacteria. It usually occurs as a result of unprotected sexual contact with a person who has it. They can be contracted through anal, genital, or oral sex. Many people ask about the differences between chlamydia and gonorrhea because their symptoms are quite the same if they occur. In most cases, they are almost invisible. Therefore, it’s sometimes hard to determine which one it is without detailed analyses done at your doctor’s office. 

In this article, we will guide you through the differences between chlamydia and gonorrhea and help you notice the tiniest changes on time. 

Chlamydia vs. Gonorrhea

Chlamydia, as we already said, is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. It can infect both women and men, but the main difference is the infected body part. Women usually get chlamydia in the cervix, throat, and rectum. On the other side, men can get it in the urethra, rectum, and throat. Everyone can get chlamydia during unprotected sex with a person who already has an infection, but women can also pass this type of infection to their children during childbirth. It’s more common at a younger age, especially for young women who don’t use contraceptive methods like condoms constantly and who change partners often. People also believe in the delusion that if they already treated chlamydia in the past, they can’t get re-infected. We need to disappoint you and tell you that this is a more than possible scenario if you have unprotected sex. 

Gonorrhea is mainly caused by a sexually transmitted bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Some call it the “drip,” or the “clap,” and just like chlamydia, it can develop in women’s cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes. It may also infect the anus, throat, and mouth. This infection is spread through semen and vaginal fluids, and you can not get an infection through casual contact. Anyone can get the infection no matter if they have treated it before, and these infections can pass onto newborns during childbirth if the infection remains untreated. After the unprotected sex, it can take weeks until you experience any symptoms, but it’s also more than possible that you won’t feel any and still be infected. Gonorrhea is common between the ages of 14 and 24.

Differences Between Symptoms

Chlamydia doesn’t usually cause any symptoms, so many do not realize they have it. Still, those who don’t have symptoms can pass the infection to others. Some possible changes that may not occur until several weeks after unprotected sex are: 

Usual symptoms in women:

  • Pain during intercourse
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Burning sensation while urinating 

Usual symptoms in men:

  • Burning or itching around the penis
  • Pain and swelling in testicles
  • Burning sensation while urinating

Gonorrhea often causes no symptoms, but the infection still can affect many sites in your body, even if it commonly appears in the genital tract. Still, you should pay attention to: 

Signs and symptoms in women:

  • Painful urination
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain’

Signs and symptoms in men:

  • Painful urination
  • Discharge from the tip of the penis
  •  Swelling in one or both testicles 

How to Treat Each Condition?

People who are tested positive on chlamydia or gonorrhea should begin with antibiotics. For chlamydia, doctors usually prescribe doxycycline-taken in the next seven days and azithromycin – one dose of 1g, followed by 500mg once a day for two days. Differences between chlamydia and gonorrhea are somewhat non–existent regarding the medicines used for treating them. Gonorrhea is treated with the antibiotic ceftriaxone- given as an injection or oral azithromycin (Zithromax).  

STDs and Pregnancy

Even if you don’t have any symptoms, you should get tested, especially if you are planning children in the near future or you are currently pregnant. Getting tested is crucial for further pregnancy development because chlamydia and gonorrhea can increase the chances of miscarriage or preterm delivery. Also, there are slight chances for infecting your baby and causing additional complications. Still, chlamydia treatment during pregnancy is possible, with antibiotics that are safe to take during pregnancy, while other STDs like HIV and hepatitis B can’t be cured. 

How to Prevent STDs?

Diagnostic STDs are usually done by preventive testing on regular examinations. A gynecological exam should be done at a women’s clinic once a year. Almost everyone has done STD testing at least once in their life, but we recommend that women who change partners should do these tests more often. HIV testing is the first test you’ll do on a regular check-up, but it’s good to know that the RPR lab test is beneficial in pregnancy. It’s used for screen scanning for syphilis so you can start your treatment on time. Differences between chlamydia and gonorrhea are countless, but the process of testing and treating is the same. Taking care of yourself and going to regular check-ups is the best way of preventing infections.