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Gohorrhea

This page was reviewed or revised on Wednesday, October 05, 2011 11:49 AM

What is Gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea (gon-uh-ree-uh) is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is spread by contact with the penis, vagina, mouth, or anus of an infected person. Some men, and most women, may have no early symptoms.

Men
Some men may have no symptoms; other men have symptoms that appear 2-5 days after infection. Symptoms can take up to 30 days to appear. Symptoms include a burning sensation when urinating, or a white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis. Men may get painful or swollen testicles.

Women
Symptoms of gonorrhea are often mild, but most women who are infected have no symptoms. Women may have a vaginal discharge, lower abdominal pain, abnormal vaginal bleeding and/or deep pain during intercourse.

Complications

Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health problems in both women and men. Early treatment helps to prevent these complications.

Women
Gonorrhea can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) in women. PID is a very serious infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes that can lead to sterility and other complications.

Men
In men, gonorrhea can cause sterility and problems to urinate. It may cause arthritis.

Treatment

Because it is caused by bacteria, it can be treated with antibiotics, usually penicillin.

Follow instructions given with your pills. Even if symptoms go away in a few days, the disease may not be cured; take all pills. Do not drink alcohol when taking antibiotics.

Does treatment work?

Yes. Some strains of gonorrhea are hard to treat. The only way to be sure is to return in one month after completing your treatment for a follow-up test.

Avoid sex until treatment is complete. After your test shows you are free of infection, you can resume having sex.

Could I give it to other people?

Yes, but only to sex partners. From the moment you get the STI, you can spread it and this may be a problem. It can take several days for men to know they have an STI and women often have no noticeable symptoms.

If a pregnant woman has gonorrhea, she may pass the infection to her baby as the baby passes through the birth canal during delivery.

If a person has gonorrhea, they should notify all sex partners in the past 6 months so they can see a health care provider, and be treated. This will reduce the risk of serious health issues and will also reduce the person’s risk of becoming re-infected. The person and all of their sex partners must avoid sex until treatment for gonorrhea is done.

A Public Health Nurse can also contact your partners. Your name will be kept confidential.

Prevention

The easiest way to avoid spreading an STI is not have sexual intercourse, or be with a partner who has been tested and is not infected. Use latex condoms all the time, and correctly, to reduce the risk of gonorrhea.

For more information contact County of Lambton Community Health Services Department at 519 383-8331 ext. 3547 or toll free 1-800-667-1839.

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