STD - Gonorrhea

Is this your symptom?

  • Gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease (STD)

Some Basics...

  • Gonorrhea (GC) is a bacteria (germ).
  • GC can be spread by vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
  • GC can be treated with antibiotics. Until they have been treated, people with gonorrhea can spread it.
  • Condoms are the only effective way to prevent STDs during sex. Condoms can also be used during oral and anal sex to prevent STDs.

Genital Symptoms in Women

  • In women, GC most often causes an infection of the cervix or the urethra.
  • Symptoms for women can sometimes be mild. There can be vaginal discharge or burning with passing urine. Such symptoms can be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection.
  • A woman may also see changes in her period. She may have pain during sex.
  • Sometimes a woman can have no symptoms at all.

Genital Symptoms in Men

  • In men, GC most often causes urethritis. This is an infection of the urethra of the penis. The urethra is the small tube that carries urine from the bladder, through the penis, and out of the body.
  • Most men with GC will have symptoms. These include white or yellow discharge from the penis and burning with passing urine.
  • Sometimes a man can have no symptoms at all.

Complications

If not treated, GC can cause worse problems.

  • In women pelvic inflammatory disease can occur. This is an infection of the tubes. This causes scarring of the tubes. As a result, ectopic pregnancy is more likely. This damage to female organs can also result in infertility.
  • In men, GC can spread and cause epididymitis. This is an infection of a tiny gland next to each testicle.

When to Call for STD - Gonorrhea

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • You feel weak or very sick

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • You are a woman with any of these:
    • Pain or burning with passing urine
    • Lower stomach pain without a known cause
    • Yellow, green, or gray vaginal discharge
    • Pus (white, yellow) from rectum
    • Bad smelling vaginal discharge
    • Rectal pain or itching that is not normal
  • You are a man with any of these:
    • Pain or burning with passing urine
    • Pus (white, yellow) or bloody discharge from penis
    • Pus (white, yellow) from rectum
    • Testicle pain or swelling
    • Rectal pain or itching that is not normal
  • You think you need to be seen

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • You are worried you might have an STD
  • You had sex (oral, vaginal, or anal) with someone who has gonorrhea (you will need to be tested and treated)
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • No symptoms
  • Questions about gonorrhea

Care Advice

Gonorrhea

  1. What You Should Know:
    • Gonorrhea (GC) is a bacteria (germ).
    • GC is a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
    • Antibiotic drugs can treat GC.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  2. How Is GC Spread?
    • GC is spread by having sex with someone who has it.
    • It can be spread by vaginal, oral or anal sex.
    • It can be spread by fluids even if a man does not ejaculate.
    • A mother can give GC to her baby during childbirth.
  3. Symptoms:
    • Sometimes there are no symptoms. A person can have it and not know it.
    • Men: White or yellow discharge from the penis and burning with passing urine.
    • Women: Vaginal discharge or burning with passing urine. Changes in menstrual period. Pain with sex.
  4. How Long Does It Take for Symptoms to Appear after Exposure?
    • Symptoms most often start within 2-7 days.
    • Sometimes people may be infected but not have any symptoms. This happens more often to women.
  5. Testing:
    • The doctor can test your urine for GC.
    • Sometimes a swab is taken of the penis, urethra, vagina, throat, or rectum.
    • A blood test is not needed.
  6. Treatment:
    • Either antibiotic pills or a shot can be used to treat GC.
    • A person with GC can spread it until he or she has been treated.
    • People can get GC more than once. You can be treated for GC and still get it again.
    • Sexual partners should be tested and treated.
  7. Prevention:
    • Remember, using a condom is the only way to keep from getting an STD from sex. Condoms can be used during oral or anal sex to prevent STDs.
    • You need testing and antibiotic treatment if you had sex (oral, vaginal, or anal) with someone with GC and did not use a condom.
  8. Pregnancy Test, When in Doubt:
    • If there is a chance that you might be pregnant, use a urine pregnancy test.
    • You can buy a pregnancy test at the drugstore.
    • It works best first thing in the morning.
    • Follow all package instructions.
  9. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Pregnancy test is positive or you have trouble with the at-home test
    • Discharge from penis or vagina is not normal
    • You think you need to be seen
    • You get worse

Hotlines and Internet Resources

  1. United States - STD Hotline:
    • American Social Health Association STD Hotline provides information on STDs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, HPV/genital warts, herpes, and HIV/AIDS. It can provide referrals to local clinics.
    • Toll-free number (English): (800) 227-8922
    • Toll-free number (Spanish): (800) 344-7432
    • Their website is at: http://www.ashastd.org
  2. Internet Resources:

And remember, contact your doctor if you develop any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.


Last Reviewed: 8/18/2017 1:15:45 AM
Last Updated: 5/7/2017 1:36:19 PM

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