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STD - Gonorrhea

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Does this describe your symptoms?

 

Definition

  • Seeking information about gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease.

General Information

  • Gonorrhea is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrheae.

  • Other common names for gonorrhea are “GC”, the “clap”, or the “drip.”

Women

  • In women, gonorrhea most commonly causes an infection of the cervix or the urethra.

  • Symptoms for women can sometimes be mild and not very specific. Symptoms may include increased vaginal discharge, abnormal menstrual bleeding, painful sexual intercourse, or burning with urination.

  • Sometimes a woman can have no symptoms at all.

  • If not treated, gonorrhea can cause significant complications (e.g., pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, ectopic pregnancy).

Men

  • In men, gonorrhea usually causes urethritis (infection of the tube inside the penis that carries urine out of the body).

  • Most men with gonorrhea will have symptoms. The most common symptoms are discharge from the penis (white or yellow) and burning with urination.

  • If not treated, gonorrhea can cause significant complications (e.g., epididymitis).

Women and Men

  • In both men and women, gonorrhea can sometimes cause an infection of the throat or of the rectum.

  • A person with gonorrhea is contagious until he or she has been treated with antibiotics.

Additional Resources

  1. American Social Health Association

  2. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines 2002. MMWR. 2002; 51(RR-6):1-80.

  3. Public Health Agency of Canada

If not, see these topics

  • How to PREVENT a sexually transmitted disease

  • PENIS SYMPTOMS(male genital symptoms)

  • VULVAR SYMPTOMS (female genital symptoms)

  • Questions about CHLAMYDIA, a sexually transmitted disease

  • Questions about GENITAL HERPES, a sexually transmitted disease

  • Questions about HIV, a sexually transmitted disease

  • Questions about PUBIC LICE, a sexually transmitted disease

  • Questions about TRICHOMONAS, a sexually transmitted disease

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When to Call Your Doctor

call now

Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If

  • You were forced to have sex (sexual assault or rape)

  • You are a female with any of the following:

    • Fever and burning (pain) with urination

    • Constant lower abdominal pain lasting more than 2 hours

    • Unable to urinate for more than 4 hours, and bladder feels very full

  • You are a male with any of the following:

    • Fever and burning (pain) with urination

    • Fever and testicle pain or swelling

    • Unable to urinate for more than 4 hours, and bladder feels very full

call within 24 hours

Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If

  • You think you need to be seen

  • You are a female with any of the following:

    • Burning (pain) with urination

    • Unexplained lower abdominal pain

    • Abnormal color of vaginal discharge (i.e., yellow, green, gray)

    • Bad smelling vaginal discharge

    • Rectal discharge or unusual rectal pain or itching

  • You are a male with any of the following:

    • Burning (pain) with urination

    • Pus (white, yellow) or bloody discharge from end of penis

    • Testicle pain or swelling

    • Rectal discharge or unusual rectal pain or itching

call within 24 hours

Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If

  • You have other questions or concerns

  • You are worried you might have a sexually transmitted disease

  • You had sexual intercourse (oral, vaginal, or anal) with someone who was diagnosed with gonorrhea (Reason: you will need to be tested and treated)

home care

Self Care at Home If

  • No symptoms and you don't think you need to be seen

  • Questions about Gonorrhea

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HOME CARE ADVICE FOR GONORRHEA

  1. How is gonorrhea transmitted?

    • By intercourse (vaginal or anal), or oral sex.

  2. How long does it usually take for symptoms to appear once one is exposed?

    • The incubation period for gonorrhea is 2-7 days.

    • Sometimes people (especially women) can become infected and not show any symptoms.

  3. How can I get tested for gonorrhea?

    • Gonorrhea is diagnosed by taking swabs of the urethra, vagina, throat, or rectum.

  4. What is the treatment for gonorrhea?

    • Antibiotic therapy is needed. A person with gonorrhea is contagious until he or she has been treated.

    • Sexual partners should be evaluated and treated.

  5. STD National Hotline

    • The CDC National STD Hotline provides information on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, HPV/genital warts, herpes, and HIV/AIDS. Specialists can provide general information, referrals to local clinics, and written materials about STDs and disease prevention.

    • Toll-free number (English): (800) 227-8922

    • Toll-free number (Spanish): (800) 344-7432

    • Their website is at: http://www.ashastd.org

  6. Pregnancy test, when in doubt:

    • If there is any possibility of pregnancy, obtain and use a urine pregnancy test from the local drug store.

    • Follow the instructions included in the package.

  7. Call Your Doctor If:

    • Pregnancy test is positive or if you have difficulties with the home pregnancy test

    • Discharge from penis or unusual vaginal discharge

    • You become worse

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

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