Dr. M.J. Bazos, MD Patient Handout


About Your Diagnosis

Gonorrhea is a contagious sexually transmitted disease. It is caused by the gonococcus bacteria. It affects the reproductive organs and may be passed from an infected mother to an infant during childbirth. In men the urethra is generally affected. In both sexes the eyes and joints can be affected. The disease is curable in 1–2 weeks with medical treatment. Testing for other sexually transmitted diseases should be done. Gonorrhea can be detected by a blood test or a culture of the discharge.

Living With Your Diagnosis
Symptoms usually will develop within 2 weeks after exposure. They include low-grade fever; greenyellow discharge from the vagina or penis; burning upon urination; tenderness in the lower abdomen; pain in the knees, ankles, or elbows; and rash on the palms of the hands. Females often have no symptoms.

Antibiotics are needed to treat the infection, usually for 7 days. Thorough and frequent hand washing is needed after using the bathroom. Avoid touching your eyes. Sitz baths may be helpful to relieve discomfort, Notify sexual contacts so they may be tested. No special diet is needed, but caffeine and alcohol should be avoided. Follow-up cultures should be done. Complication can include blindness in children from gonococcal eye infections, infertility in women, impotence in men, and infectious arthritis.

The DOs
• Take antibiotics until finished.
• Notify your sexual contacts.
• Use sitz baths for discomfort.
• Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, especially after using the bathroom.
• Avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol.
• Use latex condoms during sexual intercourse.

The DON’Ts
• Don’t skip doses or stop antibiotics until they are finished.
• Don’t touch your eyes to prevent infecting them.
• Don’t resume sexual activity until a follow-up culture shows that you are cured of the infection.
• Don’t drink caffeinated beverages or alcohol because they irritate the urethra.

When to Call Your Doctor
• If fever, chills, and abdominal pain develop after treatment is started.
• If joint pain develops.
• If genital sores and swelling of the testicles develop.
• If you have been notified that a sexual contact has the disease.

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