Chlamydia treatment usually involves oral antibiotics, such as doxycycline or azithromycin, to clear up the infection within about one to two weeks, explains WebMD. Female patients with severe chlamydia infections sometimes require hospitalization and intravenously delivered antibiotics. Health care providers typically recommend that the patient's sexual partner also receives treatment.
After completing a course of antibiotics for chlamydia, patients and their partners should be retested to confirm all traces of the infection are gone before they resume sexual activities, according to WebMD. This precaution is necessary to prevent reinfection.
Failure to treat a chlamydia infection poses several health risks for both men and women, warns WebMD. Women with untreated infections can develop pelvic inflammatory disease, which has the potential to cause damage to the fallopian tubes or infertility. Women who do not seek treatment in a timely manner are also at a higher risk of having ectopic pregnancies and premature births. Another risk involves passing the infection onto a baby during childbirth, potentially causing the child to have major issues such as pneumonia or blindness.
Men with untreated chlamydia infections are at risk of developing a urethra infection, called nongonococcal urethritis, or an infection of the epididymis, called epididymitis, notes WebMD. They may also develop proctitis, a condition in which the rectum becomes inflamed.