Alternate Names : Clap, The drip
There are two goals in treating a sexually transmitted disease, especially one as easily spread as gonorrhea. The first is to cure the infection in the patient. The second is to locate and test all of the other people the person had sexual contact with and treat them to prevent further spread of the disease.
Never treat yourself without being seen by your doctor first. Your health care provider will determine the best and most up-to-date treatment. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following treatments for uncomplicated gonorrhea.
- A single shot of ceftriaxone (Rocephin) 125 mg or a single dose of cefixime 400 mg taken by mouth are currently the recommended antibiotic treatment
- Azithromycin (Zithromax) 2g in a single dose may be used for people who have severe allergic reactions to ceftriaxone, cefixime, or penicillin.
Penicillin used to be the standard treatment, but it is not used any longer because it does not cure gonorrhea all the time. The CDC also recommendeds against using a class of antibiotics called fluoroquinolones (ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin, or levofloxacin).
Persons with gonorrhea often also have a chlamydia infection. If a chlamydia culture was not done to rule out this infection, a single dose of azithromycin (1g by mouth) or doxycycline 100 mg twice a day, by mouth for 7 days should also be given.
A follow-up visit 7 days after treatment is important if joint pain, skin rash, or more severe pelvic or belly pain is present. Tests will be done to make sure the infection is gone.
All sexual contacts of the person with gonorrhea should be contacted and tested. This helps prevent further spread of the disease. In some places you may be able to take counseling information and medicines to your sexual partner yourself. In other places, the health department will contact your partner.
Immediately treating a gonorrhea infection helps prevent permanent scarring and infertility. When treatment is delayed there is a greater chance of complications and sterility.
About half of the women with gonorrhea are also infected with chlamydia, another very common sexually transmitted disease that can result in sterility. Chlamydia is treated at the same time as a gonorrhea infection.
If you have gonorrhea, you should ask to be tested for other sexually transmitted diseases, including chlamydia, syphilis, and HIV. You should also receive the hepatitis B vaccine.
Complications in women may include:
- Salpingitis (scarring of the fallopian tubes), which can lead to problems getting pregnant or ectopic pregnancy
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Sterility (inability to become pregnant)
- Painful intercourse (dyspareunia)
- Pregnant women with severe gonorrhea may pass the disease to their baby while in the womb or during delivery
Complications in men may include:
- Scarring or narrowing of the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body (See: Urethral stricture)
- Abscess (collection of pus around the urethra)
- Urination problems
- Urinary tract infection
- Kidney failure
Complications in both men and women may include:
- Disseminated infection, which can be very serious
- Long-term joint pain, if the infection is left untreated
- Heart valve infection
Calling Your Health Care Provider
If you have symptoms suggestive of gonorrhea, you should call your health care provider immediately. Most state-sponsored clinics will diagnose and treat STDs without charge.