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Gonorrhea

Symptoms

Men

  • Discharge from penis
  • Pain or burning sensation when urinating
  • Sore throat (if performing unprotected oral sex)
  • Discharge in stools and rectal itching (if receiving unprotected anal sex)
  • Men who have gonorrhea that is left untreated can result in a serious complication: Epididymitis (an infection of the testicles and surrounding area that can lead to infertility)

For men, symptoms of gonorrhea usually appear 1-10 days after exposure.

Women

  • Discharge from vagina
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Pain when urinating
  • Sore throat (if performing unprotected oral sex)
  • Symptoms often appear during periods
  • Pain or discomfort during sex
  • Discharge in stools and rectal itching (if receiving unprotected anal sex)

Serious complications can occur in women who have gonorrhea who are not treated:

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (a serious pelvic infection in women)
  • Ectopic (tubal)  pregnancies
  • Infertility

Women who have gonorrhea often have no symptoms of the infection.

Testing

Men

  • If the male client has no symptoms of gonorrhea, the clinician may request a urine sample that will be sent to the lab for analysis.
  • If the male client is symptomatic, a urethral examination will be performed.
  • During a urethral exam, the clinician will wipe the opening of the penis with a small swab. The sample is then placed on a glass slide that will be stained with dye and then viewed under a microscope.

Women

  • If the female client has no symptoms of gonorrhea and declines a pelvic exam, the clinician may request a urine sample that will be sent to the lab for analysis. However, it is recommended at all female clients have a pelvic exam performed during the clinic visit.
  • During the pelvic exam, a speculum will be inserted into the vagina. The clinician will use two small swabs to collect a sample of discharge from the vagina. The sample of discharge is placed on a glass slide and viewed under the microscope.

Treatment

  • Gonorrhea is treated with antibiotics. Commonly used medications include Rocephin (injection) and Cefixime (pills or liquid).  
  • Since the symptoms of gonorrhea and chlamydia are similar and both diseases can occur at the same time, most people who are treated for gonorrhea are also treated for chlamydia.
  • It is recommended that individuals be re-screened three months after receiving treatment.

Prevention Tips

  • Avoid unprotected sexual contact. Always use a condom during vaginal, anal and oral sex.
  • Have only one sex partner.
  • If you are treated for gonorrhea, notify your sex partners to avoid re-infection.
  • If you have questions or think you may have Gonorrhea, stop having sex and come to the SE STD Clinic for a FREE and CONFIDENTIAL assessment.