What You Really Need to Know About Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea, also commonly known as “the clap,” may affect any man or woman that is sexually active. The infection may occur in the genitals, rectum or throat.  It is a very common sexually transmitted infection (STI), especially in sexually active men and women between the ages of 15 to 24.  This infection may be spread through any type of sex with an affected person.  Pregnant women with gonorrhea can pass the infection to the baby. The baby may contract the infection during the delivery, and this can cause serious health issues for the infant.

Men with gonorrhea may experience a burning sensation with urination; a white, yellow or green discharge; and/or painful or swollen testicles. Women may not experience any symptoms if infected with gonorrhea. However, women may also experience mild symptoms that could be easily mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. They may experience painful or burning sensation with urination, increased vaginal discharge, or vaginal bleeding between periods. Rectal infections from gonorrhea may not have any symptoms, or the person affected may have discharge, itching, soreness, bleeding, or painful bowel movements. Anyone experiencing the above symptoms should be examined by a health care provider, including their sexual partner(s), so everyone may be treated to prevent further infection or complications.

Testing for gonorrhea may be performed using a urine test, or a swab may be used. Once a diagnosis has been determined, and treatment is needed for the infection, gonorrhea may be cured with the right medication. It is very important to take all medications as prescribed and do not share any medications with others. The right medication will cure the infection but not undo any permanent damage caused by the infection. Some gonorrhea strains are more drug resistant than others. If symptoms persist after the first few days of treatment, you should return to your health care provider for further examination.

Sexual partners also need to be treated in order to prevent a reoccurrence of the gonorrhea infection. It is very important to wait at least seven days after finishing treatment for the infection prior to engaging in sex again with your partner.  This will prevent reoccurrence of the STI with your current partner or giving gonorrhea to a new partner. Gonorrhea may be contracted again despite past treatment for the infection if engaged in sex with an infected partner.

Women without any symptoms at all are still at risk for serious complications. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) may occur if gonorrhea is not diagnosed or is left untreated. Women may experience the formation of scar tissue that could block the fallopian tubes, increase the likelihood of ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the womb), infertility, or long-term pelvic or abdominal pain. Men may experience a painful condition that causes swelling of the testicles, causing the inability to become a father. In rare instances, untreated gonorrhea can spread to an infected person’s blood or joints, or may increase the chances of getting HIV or giving HIV to a partner.

The only way to totally prevent gonorrhea is to not have any type of sex. Also, when in a long-term monogamous sexual relationship with your partner, your risks will be greatly reduced. The use of latex condoms used in the correct manner every time engaged in sex will also greatly reduce the likelihood of contracting a STI.

If you are sexually active, it is important to be open and honest with your health care provider about whether you should be tested for a STI. Men who are gay or bisexual, and have engaged in sex with another man, should be tested every year. Women who are sexually active under the age of 25, or women who have new or multiple sex partners, should also be tested yearly.

For more information, visit www.cdc.gov or www.mayoclinic.org.

If you (or someone you know) suspects that you might have contracted and STD, you should contact your doctor immediately for an appointment.

However, if you are not ready to talk to a doctor, it could be helpful to discuss your symptoms, concerns and options in a confidential and helpful setting with someone who has answers. Feel free to contacts us at 913.962.0200 to speak with someone who can help you determine your next steps. Our staff is compassionate, knowledgeable and can offer the support and direction that you need.

At Advice & Aid, we encourage everyone to practice abstinence outside of marriage, and fidelity inside of marriage.  Advice & Aid does not provide or prescribe birth control.


Additional education articles on sexually transmitted diseases:
The Unfortunate Case Of Bacterial Vaginosis
What You Need To Know Now About HPV

Schedule Online