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Chlamydia Trachomatis (Swab)

Does this test have other names?

C. trachomatis test, CZ test, chlamydia test

What is this test?

This test looks for Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria in a sample of cells collected by your healthcare provider.

C. trachomatis bacteria cause chlamydia. Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the U.S.

The CDC recommends that sexually active women 25 and younger be screened once a year for chlamydia. That's because as many as half of women who get chlamydia don't have any symptoms. Men should be tested as soon as they have symptoms or if their partners are diagnosed with chlamydia.

In women, chlamydia may lead to cervicitis, an inflammation and swelling of the cervix. If it isn't treated, it can lead to serious sexual health problems, including infertility.  In men, chlamydia can cause urethritis. This is a swelling of the urethra and possibly blood in the urine. Babies born to infected mothers can get pneumonia or conjunctivitis. The mothers can get endometriosis later on.

Chlamydia can be treated with antibiotics.

Why do I need this test?

You may have this test if you are a sexually active woman 25 or younger or a man whose partner has been diagnosed with chlamydia.

When symptoms occur in women, they can include:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge

  • Stomach pain

  • Pain during sex

  • Pain when passing urine

When symptoms occur in men, they can include:

  • Watery discharge from your penis that's not urine

  • Pain when passing urine

  • Swollen scrotum

  • Painful sensation in your testicles

What other tests might I have along with this test?

Your healthcare provider may also order other tests because chlamydia symptoms can be confused with symptoms of other STDs. These STDs include:

  • Gonorrhea 


  • Hepatitis B

  • Trichomoniasis

  • Syphilis

What do my test results mean?

Many things may affect your lab test results. These include the method each lab uses to do the test. Even if your test results are different from the normal value, you may not have a problem. To learn what the results mean for you, talk with your healthcare provider.

Normal results are negative, meaning that no chlamydia cells were found in your sample.

A positive result means that chlamydia bacteria were found and that you are likely infected with the disease.

How is this test done?

This test requires a sample of cells from the urethra in men or the vagina in women. For men, the healthcare provider will gently insert a swab 3 to 4 centimeters into the urethra. The provider will turn it once to collect cells. For women, the provider will put the swab into the vagina to take cells from the cervix.

Does this test pose any risks?

This test poses no known risks. But it can be mildly uncomfortable because the areas around the urethra and cervix are sensitive.

What might affect my test results?

Other factors aren't likely to affect your results.

How do I get ready for this test?

You don't need to prepare for this test.



Medical Reviewers:

  • Sather, Rita, RN
  • Snyder, Mandy, APRN