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Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

 
FAQ

 

What is Gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea (sometimes known as Neisseria gonorrhea, GC, the dose, clap or drip) is caused by a bacteria. It is passed from one person to another by close sexual contact.
It may take 1-14 days or longer for symptoms to show up. Some people never have symptoms. Gonorrhea can be spread to others by infected people during sexual intercourse, whether or not you have any symptoms.

Gonorrhea is a reportable disease and must be reported to the Health Unit.




What are the symptoms?


Men:

  • no symptoms
  • mucous-like discharge from penis
  • burning/itching around tip of penis
  • frequent passing of urine
  • burning pain when passing urine

Women:

  • no symptoms
  • increased vaginal discharge
  • burning pain when passing urine
  • pain/bleeding during sexual intercourse
  • bleeding between periods
  • abnormally long or heavy periods
  • pain in lower abdomen




Are there complications?


Men:
Inflammation and spread of the infection to the testicles and prostate gland may cause sterility.

Women:
Inflammation and spread of the infection to the fallopian tubes and ovaries may result in Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), which is a cause of sterility and ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.

  • If left untreated, gonorrhea can spread to the joints causing arthritis. In pregnant women, gonorrhea can be passed to the baby during delivery, causing infection in the eyes.

  • Gonorrhea can be found in the throats of infected people if they have oral sex (mouth to penis or vagina), or in the rectums of infected people if they have anal sex. Early treatment is important to prevent complications.





How is gonorrhea diagnosed?


Gonorrhea is diagnosed by taking a swab from a woman's cervix or a man's penis, or from the throat or rectum.  Gonorrhea can also be diagnosed by a urine sample testing.




How is gonorrhea treated?


Specific antibiotics are prescribed by the doctor. To cure gonorrhea, a combination of pills and an injection must be taken and completed as directed. It is important that all sexual partner(s) be tested and treated, whether they have symptoms or not. Do not have sexual intercourse, even with a condom, until you have your follow-up appointment. All sexual partners in the past 3 months must be treated, even if they have no symptoms. Remember, if taking birth control pills, to use a back up method of birth control during treatment and for 7 days after.




Is follow-up important?


Yes. Make an appointment to return to the clinic for a repeat test (swab) 7 days after finishing the medication. This is very important because some types of gonorrhea are resistant to the regular medication.




How can I protect myself?

You can spread gonorrhea to other sex partners as soon as you become infected.  It is very important to tell all people you have had sex with in the past 3 months because they may have been infected and not know it.  They will need treatment.  If you prefer, a nurse from the health unit will contact your partner(s).  Your name will be kept confidential.




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