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Gonococcal Urethritis

What is gonococcal urethritis?

Gonococcal urethritis (gonorrhea) is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by bacteria. It is spread by unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal sex. Gonorrhea causes inflammation of the urethra. The urethra is the tube where urine passes from the bladder to the outside of the body. Anyone with multiple sexual partners is at higher risk for gonorrhea.

What are the signs and symptoms of gonococcal urethritis?

  • Feeling like you need to urinate more frequently than usual

  • Pain or burning when you urinate

  • Pain in your lower abdomen, penis, or vaginal area

  • Pain when you have sex

  • Thick, yellow-green discharge coming from your penis or vagina

  • Fever

How is gonococcal urethritis diagnosed?

Your caregiver will ask you questions about your health and sexual history. He will need to know when your symptoms started. Tell him about any STIs you or your partners may have. Caregivers may need to do a pelvic exam to check your vagina and internal sex organs. Your caregiver may think it is important for you to have any of the following screening tests, even if you do not have symptoms:

  • Blood or urine tests: These may be done to check for the bacteria that causes gonorrhea.

  • Discharge sample: A sample of the discharge from the affected area may be looked at under a microscope or sent to a lab for culture. This will help caregivers learn what is causing your condition.

How is gonococcal urethritis treated?

Antibiotic medicines may be given to help treat or prevent the infection caused by the bacteria. Both you and your sexual partner have to be treated to prevent gonorrhea from spreading.

What are the risks of gonococcal urethritis?

If left untreated, gonorrhea may cause the urethra to have scars and get narrow. This may cause you to have trouble urinating. The infection may spread and cause pain or inflammation in the scrotum or prostate gland in men. In women, the infection may spread to the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. This may make it difficult to become pregnant. The infection may spread to other parts of your body, such as your skin, bones, and joints. Gonorrhea can cause pain and swelling. If you are pregnant, gonorrhea may infect your baby during delivery.

How can I prevent the spread of gonorrhea?

  • Use a condom: Wear a condom during oral, vaginal, and anal sex. Ask for more information about the correct way to use condoms.

  • Avoid infected partners: Do not have sex with someone who has gonorrhea. This includes oral, vaginal, and anal sex.

  • Do not have sex during treatment: Do not have sex while you or your partners are being treated for gonorrhea. Ask when it is safe to have sex.

  • Tell your caregiver if you are pregnant: Gonorrhea can be passed to an infant during birth.

Where can I find more information?

  • Division of STD Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    1600 Clifton Rd.
    Atlanta , GA 30333
    Phone: 1- 800 - 232-4636
    Web Address: http://www.cdc.gov/std

When should I contact my caregiver?

Contact your caregiver if:

  • You have a fever.

  • You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care?

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have chest pain or trouble breathing.

  • You have pain and swelling in your scrotum.

  • You have pain in your abdomen or joints.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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