Chlamydia, Herpes and Thrush

Chlamydia, thrush and herpes are common infections and have overlapping symptoms. If your body is exhibiting abnormal symptoms, chances are it is trying to tell you something.

Updated: Thursday 15 April 2021


Chlamydia is a bacterial infection which is transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse. It is mainly common in sexually active teenagers and young adults. It is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the UK.

Herpes, on the other hand, is a viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus causing painful blisters on the genitals and surrounding areas. There isn’t a cure for herpes and there is a chance of recurrence but the symptoms can be cleared up using medications.

Thrush, unlike chlamydia and herpes isn’t a sexually transmitted infection, but is a common yeast infection which is both unpleasant and uncomfortable.

The best course of action is to diagnose the issue with a doctor before taking medication that may have unpleasant side effects. If you are unsure whether you have chlamydia or herpes simply drop by a GUM clinic to be sure, as antibiotics will not solve the issue if the cause is viral or fungal rather than bacterial.

What is the difference between them?

Infection Chlamydia Herpes Thrush
Symptoms Abnormal vaginal discharge, pain during sex or urination, fever, and swollen genitals, itching Abnormal vaginal discharge, painful blisters around genitals, pain on urination, flu-like aches and pains Abnormal vaginal discharge, itching, burning sensation while urinating, genital swelling and red sores, pain during sex
Cause Bacterial Viral Fungal
Treatment Azithromycin Aciclovir/Valaciclovir Clotrimazole
Course 2 tablets 1x3 tablets daily Cream x2/x3 daily and/or Oral Capsule/Pessary
Sex Avoid for 7 days after treatment Avoid during outbreaks Avoid until symptoms subside
Partner Treat Treat if contact with blisters Treat

While chlamydia and herpes are sexually transmitted infections (STIs), thrush can infect a person through sex as well as a weak immune system, poor hygiene, and even tight clothing.

It is also worth noting that they are separate from urinary tract infections (UTIs), which includes cystitis. UTIs are caused by bacteria and can manifest from introducing a foreign object close to the urinary tract such as inserting tampons, catheters and diaphragms for contraception.

Iris Barbier

Written by: Iris Barbier

Pharmacy Assistant

Born in France, Iris moved to the UK to study Biological Sciences at London Metropolitan University. Upon graduating, Iris moved up north, where she completed an MA in Science Journalism at the University of Lincoln.

As a qualified science journalist, Iris uses her expertise to write content for Pharmica’s online Health Centre. She ensures our patients get specialist knowledge on medical conditions and how to treat them.

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Expert Answers To Common Questions About Genital Herpes
Expert Answers To Common Questions About Genital Herpes