Gonorrhea is one of the most common infectious diseases in the world. Often called “the clap”, “dose”, or “drip”, it is caused by specific bacterium that is transmitted during vaginal, oral or anal sex. A newborn baby can also get gonorrhea during childbirth if its mother is infected. Gonorrhea can be symptom-free. In fact, about 60 to 80% of infected women have no symptoms.
The signs of gonorrhea can, however, show up within two to ten days after sexual contact with an infected person. In men, symptoms include pain at the tip of the penis, pain and burning during urination and a thick, yellow, cloudy penile discharge that gradually increases. In women, symptoms include mild itching and burning around the vagina, a thick, yellowish-green vaginal discharge, burning on urination and severe lower abdominal pain (usually within a week or so after their menstrual periods).
If ignored, gonorrhea can cause widespread infection and/or infertility. But, gonorrhea can be cured with specific antibiotics. Since many strains of gonorrhea are resistant to penicillin, your doctor will almost always use another medicine.
To treat gonorrhea successfully, you should heed the following:
- Take prescribed medications.
- To avoid re-infection, be sure that your sexual partner is also treated.
- Have follow-up cultures to determine if the treatment was effective.
Questions to Ask
For men only: Do you have any of these problems?
For women only: Do you have any of these problems?
Are you symptom-free, but suspicious of having contracted gonorrhea or another sexually transmitted disease from someone you suspect may be infected?
Do you want to rule out the presence of a sexually transmitted disease because you have had multiple sex partners and you are considering a new sexual relationship, planning to get married or pregnant?
Self-Care Prevention Tips
Healthy Self: The Guide to Self-Care and Wise Consumerism
© American Institute for Preventive Medicine