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Gonorrhea in Teens: Care Instructions


Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection that is spread through sexual contact. It's found most often in the genital area. But it can also infect other areas of your body, such as the rectum and the throat. It can spread from one partner to another during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

Some people who have gonorrhea get symptoms within a few days after infection. But some people have no symptoms. Even if you don't have symptoms, you can still infect your sex partners.

Treatment is important. If gonorrhea isn't treated, it can spread to other parts of your body. It can lead to other problems such as a serious infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries (pelvic inflammatory disease). This can make it hard or impossible to get pregnant in the future. And if you're not treated, you will infect everyone you have sex with.

It's easy to get gonorrhea again. Condoms can help prevent infections. Not having sex is the best way to prevent any sexually transmitted infection.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you prevent it?

Here are some ways to help prevent STIs:

  • Limit your sex partners. Sex with one partner who has sex only with you can reduce your risk of getting an STI.
  • Talk with your partner or partners about STIs before having sex. Find out if they are at risk for an STI. It's possible to have an STI and not know it.
  • Wait to have sex with a new partner until you've each been tested.
  • Don't have sex if you have symptoms of an infection or if you're being treated for an STI.
  • Use a condom every time you have sex.
  • Don't share sex toys. But if you do share them, use a condom and clean the sex toys between each use.
  • Don't feel pressure to have sex. It's okay to say "no" anytime you want to stop.
  • Make sure you feel safe with your partner or partners. If you don't, talk with an adult you trust.

Vaccines are available for some STIs, such as HPV. Ask your doctor for more information.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have sudden, severe pain in your belly or pelvis.

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new belly or pelvic pain.
  • You have unusual vaginal bleeding.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have a discharge from the vagina or penis.
  • You have new or increased burning or pain with urination, or you cannot urinate.
  • You have pain, swelling, or tenderness in the scrotum.
  • You have joint pain.
  • You have pus coming from your eyes.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • You think you may have been exposed to another STI.
  • Your symptoms get worse or have not improved within 1 week after starting treatment.
  • You have any new symptoms, such as sores, bumps, rashes, blisters, or warts in the genital or anal area.
  • You have a new skin rash.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.