Gonorrhea

The facts:

  • Gonorrhea (gon a REE a) is a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
  • Anyone who is sexually active can get gonorrhea.  It is more common among teens and young adults.
  • Many people who have gonorrhea don’t know it.  Especially in women, the disease often has no symptoms.
  • You can pass gonorrhea to others without knowing it.
  • Gonorrhea is easy to treat and cure.
  • If you do not treat gonorrhea, it can lead to serious health problems.

How does someone get gonorrhea?

You can get gonorrhea by having sex with someone who has it.  “having sex” means having anal, oral, or vaginal contact.

If you are a pregnant woman who has gonorrhea you can pass the infection to your baby.

What are the symptoms of gonorrhea?

If you are a woman:

You can get gonorrhea in the anus, eyes, mouth, throat, urinary tract, or uterus.  You may not notice any symptoms.  If you do have symptoms, they will vary depending on what part of your body is infected.

If you have gonorrhea in the uterus or urinary tract, you might notice these symptoms:

  • Vaginal bleeding between your periods.
  • Pain or burning when you pass urine.
  • Increased vaginal discharge.

If you get gonorrhea in the rectum, you might notice these symptoms:

  • Itching, soreness, bleeding.
  • A discharge from your rectum.
  • Painful bowel movements.

If you have gonorrhea in the throat, you might notice that your throat is sore.

If you are a man:

You can get gonorrhea in the anus, eyes, mouth, penis, or throat.  You may not notice any symptoms.  If you do have symptoms, they will vary depending on what part of your body is infected.

If you have gonorrhea in the penis, you might notice these symptoms:

  • Pain or burning when you pass urine.
  • A discharge from your penis.
  • Painful or swollen testicles.

If you have gonorrhea in your rectum, you might notice:

  • Itching, soreness, bleeding.
  • A discharge from your rectum.
  • Painful bowel movements.

If you have gonorrhea in the throat, you might notice that your throat is sore.

When should I be treated?

If you are a woman:

You should be tested for gonorrhea if you have:

  • Any symptoms, like pain or burning when you pass urine or vaginal discharge.
  • A partner who has gonorrhea or symptoms that might be gonorrhea.
  • Another STD, such as chlamydia.

If you are pregnant, ask the doctor if you should be tested for gonorrhea.

If you are a man:

You should be tested for gonorrhea if you have:

  • A discharge from your penis.  You may also feel pain inside your penis.
  • Pain or burning when you pass urine.
  • Itching, soreness, bleeding, or rectal discharge, if you have receptive anal intercourse.
  • A partner that has gonorrhea or symptoms that might be gonorrhea.
  • Another STD, such as chlamydia.

How can I find out if I have gonorrhea?

Ask a doctor to give you a test for gonorrhea.

How is gonorrhea treated?

  •  Gonorrhea can be treated and cured with antibiotics.
  • Finish all of the medicine to be sure you are cured.
  • Don’t share your medicine with anyone.  You need all of it.
  • If you still have symptoms after treatment, go back to see the doctor.

If I have gonorrhea, what does that mean for my partner?

  •  Your partner may have gonorrhea, too.
  • Be sure to tell your recent sex partners, so they can get tested and treated.
  • Avoid having sex until you’ve both finished your treatment, so you don’t re-infect each other.

What happens if I don’t get treated?

Gonorrhea stays in your body if it is not treated.  You may have a higher risk of getting HIV infection if you have unprotected sex with a partner living with HIV.  Gonorrhea can also spread to the blood or joints.  This condition can be very serious.

If you are a woman:

  • Gonorrhea can spread into the uterus or fallopian tubes and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), a serious infection that happens when gonorrhea spreads to the reproductive organs.
  • PID can also cause damage that makes you unable to get pregnant.
  • Untreated gonorrhea may cause chronic pain in your pelvic area.
  • If you have untreated gonorrhea, you could pass the infection to your baby when giving birth.  Gonorrhea can cause serious health problems for babies.

If you are a man:

  • You may develop a painful condition in the testicles.  In rare cases, this may prevent you from fathering children.

How can I lower my risk for gonorrhea?

  • The surest way to prevent gonorrhea is not to have sex or to have sex with someone who’s not infected and who has sex only with you.
  • Condoms can reduce your risk of getting gonorrhea if used the right way every single time you have sex.
  • Washing the genitals, urinating, or douching after sex will not prevent any STD.

A message for everyone:

Protect yourself and your partner.

Always see a doctor if your partner is being treated for gonorrhea.  Also see the doctor if you or your sex partner notice any symptoms such as an unusual discharge.

If you have gonorrhea, you should be tested for other STDs.  Be sure to tell your recent sex partners, so they can get tested too.  Talk openly and honestly with your partner about gonorrhea and other STDs.

For more information:

  • Talk with your doctor.
  • Call 1-800-CDC-INFO.
  • Visit www.cdc.gov/std/gonorrhea.

Contact Information

Student Wellness Center
North Shepler, Room 101
2800 W. Gore Blvd.
Lawton, OK 73505
Ph (580)581-6725
Fax (580)581-6733
Director Jill Melrose
jmelrose@cameron.edu
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