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Chlamydia vs UTI: What’s The Medical Difference?

There are moments where one may experience frequent painful urination, pelvic pain, and lower abdominal pain. A general assumption is that someone experiencing such symptoms may have a urinary tract infection (UTI). However, this is not always the case as the above symptoms are also associated with sexually transmitted diseases like Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and others. Therefore it is essential to know the differences between these infections to aid therapy.

Here, you’ll learn about the differences and similarities between Chlamydia vs UTI symptoms and what STD feels like a UTI. Read on!

What is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is an STD whose causative agent is the bacterium, Chlamydia trichomatis. The bacterium is transmitted through sexual secretions like semen and vaginal discharge and can infect various body parts, including the rectum, throat, eyes, and genitals. Chlamydia infection can also be transmitted by sharing sex toys and from mother to child.

This infection is treatable with antibiotics but can reoccur if one indulges in high-risk sexual activities. Most chlamydia infections are asymptomatic, and as a result, they are not detected early enough. However, symptoms begin to manifest about three weeks after infection.

Untreated cases of chlamydia can result in health complications like reactive arthritis, ectopic pregnancies, pelvic inflammatory disease, among others. Complicated Chlamydia also increases one’s risk of having HIV. The primary preventive measure against chlamydia is to practice safe sex using condoms, dental dams, and clean sex toys.

What is a UTI?

An infection affecting the urinary system is a UTI. Parts of the urinary system affected are the kidneys, urethra, bladder, and ureters. UTIs are caused by bacterial infection; however, some fungi and viruses also contribute. These infections are named depending on the site of infection. For example, Urethritis for urethral infection, Cystitis, and Pyelonephritis for bladder and kidney infections, respectively.

UTIs affect both genders, but they are more prevalent among women because of their short urethra, enabling the bacteria to migrate faster to the bladder to develop the infection. These infections are curable with antibiotics but recurrent. Uncomplicated cases often heal without medications. Poor hygiene is a principal cause of UTIs. Also, genetic factors and conditions that affect urine flow, like kidney stones and hormonal changes, can increase one’s risk of infection.

Symptoms of UTIs include fever, abdominal pain, urine colouration, pelvic pain, and frequent urination with a burning sensation. UTIs are diagnosed through urine analysis examining the presence of the bacteria.

An excellent way to prevent UTIs is to drink enough fluids, especially water. Drinking cranberry juice is also helpful. These fluids help dilute the urine and promote urination. Thus, the urinary tract is cleared of bacteria before the infection develops

Chlamydia vs UTI: Similarities and Differences

Some STDs have similarities with UTIs, and one may be wondering, what STD feels like a UTI? Chlamydia is an STD whose symptoms may look like that of a UTI. Chlamydia vs UTI symptoms are similar to some extent; this is why sometimes, there are cases of misdiagnosis

Also, both conditions are treated with antibiotics, and if the wrong drug is prescribed for the wrong case, it can lead to antibiotic resistance. As a result, it is essential to identify their differences to aid correct therapy and prevent complications.

Similarities between Chlamydia vs. UTI

Chlamydia and UTIs are caused by bacterial infection. Both infections share some symptoms, including;

  • Frequent and painful urination
  • Pelvic pain
  • Urine with pungent smell
  • Urine colouration,
  • Lower abdominal pain

Differences between Chlamydia vs UTI

Chlamydia is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trichomatis. In contrast, UTI is caused by a gastrointestinal tract bacterium called Escherichia coli. Although an asymptomatic condition, some symptoms only manifest in Chlamydia infection, including:

  • Unusual penile and vaginal discharge
  • Genital blisters and rashes
  • Testicular pain
  • Sore throat
  • Painful intercourse
These symptoms can infer that one has a Chlamydia infection or a similar STD and not necessarily a UTI. In addition, Chlamydia and UTI have different modes of transmission; while the former is spread majorly through sexual activities, the latter is not necessarily spread sexually. However, sexual intercourse, especially anal sex, can increase the risk of a UTI.


Chlamydia and UTIs have similar symptoms, and untreated cases can lead to severe complications. Therefore, it is essential to identify the differences between Chlamydia and UTIs before therapy. In addition, misdiagnosis and inappropriate medication use can impose greater health risks on the patient.

The primary problem with Chlamydia is late diagnosis as it is asymptomatic; thus, regular STD testing is advised for sexually active individuals. Finally, practising safe sex and personal hygiene are excellent methods to prevent these infections.