Gonorrhea: Symptoms and Facts

Gonorrhea, also known as “the clap”, is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) throughout the United States. Over the years, gonorrhea has become the second most reported STD in the US which has led it to become antibiotic resistant in some cases. SelfCollect is here to help you understand what gonorrhea is, gonorrhea symptoms, and gonorrhea treatment. By understanding what STDs are and how they can affect your health we hope to help you practice safe sex.

Gonorrhea Symptoms

Gonorrhea is an STD very similar to chlamydia. In fact, they often show nearly the same symptoms and are usually tested together. Often times, gonorrhea has an incubation period where it doesn’t show symptoms for a few weeks after initial infection. The Center for Disease and Control (CDC) estimates 820,000 new cases of gonorrhea each year in the United States. Below are a few symptoms that could indicate gonorrhea.

Gonorrhea Symptoms in Men:

  • Burning sensation during urination

  • Abnormal penile discharge

  • Pain and swelling of the testicles

Gonorrhea Symptoms in Women:

  • Burning sensation during urination

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge

  • Bleeding between periods

Rectal Symptoms:

  • Anal itching 

  • Bleeding

  • Soreness

  • Painful bowel movements

It can be difficult to recognize these symptoms as gonorrhea because they are so similar to chlamydia, bacterial infections, and even urinary tract infections. Because gonorrhea can easily be mistaken for something else and left untreated it’s easily spread between partners. Recognizing these symptoms as a potential STD is important to prevent any serious long term damage to reproductive systems in both men and women. Pregnant women should be especially attentive to testing for multiple STDs, especially gonorrhea, as it can pass to the child during birth. If left untreated, rarely, gonorrhea can spread to the bloodstream and joints causing a life-threatening illness.

Treatment for Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is curable with antibiotics; however, drug resistant gonorrhea strains have been steadily increasing throughout the United States. When testing positive for gonorrhea your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic that should be taken to completion. If you suspect that your symptoms have continued after treatment speak with your doctor immediately. If you test positive for gonorrhea speak with your doctor about receiving a partner script. No matter if your partner shows symptoms or even tests negative themselves, it is better to be safe than sorry in treatment. 

Prevention Methods

The best way to prevent any transmission of STDs is by practicing abstinence, but if you are ready to engage in intercourse, or are engaged in intercourse, we give you a few tips below.

  • Condoms and dental dams: When choosing to have sex it is best practice to use a condom or dental dam. While condoms can’t entirely prevent the spread of certain STDs they can help! Be sure that you properly know how to use condoms and dental dams to avoid any mishaps.

  • Regular screening: To ensure a healthy sexual life it is recommended to have regular screening done every 3-6 months. If you are in a monogamous relationship it is still recommended to be tested every 6-12 months. If you have a new sexual partner, multiple partners, or are with a partner who has multiple partners regular screening helps to keep you safe.

  • Speak with your partner(s): You want to have an honest conversation with your partner(s) about sexually transmitted diseases. Ask the last time they were tested and if they have any irregular symptoms. If they haven’t been tested ask them if they are willing to take a test prior to engaging in sex.

We hope that our article gives you a better understanding of gonorrhea. Remember that STD testing is nothing to embarrassed about - it keeps your health the main priority. If you prefer to be tested without walking into a clinic order an at-home testing kit from SelfCollect. We give you the ability to test yourself in the privacy of your own home with the process being anonymous.