Some individuals with chlamydia experience difficulty getting or keeping an erection, which is commonly called erectile dysfunction. This difficulty occurs when chlamydia infects the prostate gland, leading to prostatitis.
Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can cause long-term health problems. Many people with chlamydia have no symptoms and are unaware that they have the infection.
If it goes untreated, chlamydia can lead to:
chronic prostatitis in men, causing pain and erectile dysfunction (ED)
an increased risk of getting HIV
permanent infertility in women and a painful condition called pelvic inflammatory disease
In this article, we explore the link between chlamydia and ED. We also describe when to get tested, how chlamydia is treated, and which other conditions can cause ED.
Does chlamydia cause ED?
If chlamydia infects the prostate, it may lead to ED.
Chlamydia can infect the prostate, causing a complication called prostatitis, which can lead to ED.
If chlamydia enters the genital tract, it can spread to nearby organs. In males, chlamydia bacteria can infect the urethra, which is the tube that carries sperm out of the body. Over time, the bacteria can travel through the urethra to the prostate gland.
If the prostate becomes infected and inflamed, it may restrict the flow of blood to the penis, which can make getting or keeping an erection difficult.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States report that chlamydia can spread to a sexual partner, even when a male does not ejaculate during the encounter.
Chlamydia often causes no symptoms. In some people, symptoms appear several weeks after the initial infection, and by then a person may have spread chlamydia to someone else.
When chlamydia does cause symptoms, they can include:
a burning sensation when urinating
discharge from the penis or vagina
pain or swelling in the testicles, which is less common
Chlamydia can indirectly cause ED. This does not mean that a person with ED necessarily has chlamydia or another STI.
If an individual is having problems getting or keeping an erection, they should discuss it with a doctor, who can advise about treatment.