Gonorrhea in Female Teens: Care Instructions

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Your 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.

Most 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 lead to other problems such as pelvic inflammatory disease. This can make it hard or impossible for you 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 if you are not careful. It's a good idea to start thinking about prevention now. 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 call line 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 care for yourself at home?

  • Your doctor probably gave you a shot of antibiotics. If your doctor prescribed antibiotic pills, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Do not have sexual contact with anyone while you are being treated. If your treatment was a single dose of antibiotics, wait at least 7 days after taking the dose before you have any sexual contact. Even if you use a condom, you may pass the infection back and forth.
  • Wash your hands if you touch an area of gonorrhea infection. This will help prevent spreading the infection to other parts of your body or to other people.
  • Tell your sex partner or partners that you have gonorrhea. They should get treated, whether or not they have symptoms of infection. Don't have sex with your partner until his or her treatment is complete.
  • Talk to your doctor about being tested again for gonorrhea in 3 months.

Preventing gonorrhea

  • You should never feel pressured to have sex. It's okay to say "no" anytime you want to stop.
  • It's important to feel safe with your sex partner and with the activities you are doing together. If you don't feel safe, talk with an adult you trust.
  • Use latex condoms every time you have sex. Use them from the beginning to the end of sexual contact. Use a female condom if your partner doesn't have or won't use a condom.
  • Talk to your partner before you have sex. Find out if he or she has or is at risk for gonorrhea or any other STI. Keep in mind that a person may be able to spread an STI even if he or she does not have symptoms.
  • Do not have sex if you are being treated for gonorrhea or any other STI.
  • Do not have sex with anyone who has symptoms of an STI, such as sores on the genitals or mouth.
  • Having one sex partner (who does not have STIs and does not have sex with anyone else) is a good way to avoid STIs.

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 call 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 your vagina.
  • You have new or increased burning or pain with urination, or you cannot urinate.
  • 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 call line if:

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

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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