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Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection spread through sexual contact (sexually transmitted infection, or STI). It is found most often in the genital area but it can also infect other areas of the body, such as the rectum or throat. While some people who have gonorrhea develop symptoms within a few days after infection, some people have no symptoms. Symptoms of gonorrhea include abnormal bleeding, pain or burning during urination, or a thick discharge from the vagina or penis.
Antibiotics can cure gonorrhea. Both sex partners need to be treated to keep from passing the infection back and forth.
Treatment is important. If gonorrhea isn't treated, it can cause a severe infection of the testicles (called epididymo-orchitis) as well as the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries (called pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID). PID can make it hard to get pregnant.
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.
Here are some ways to help prevent STIs.
Vaccines are available for some STIs, such as HPV. Ask your doctor for more information.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Adaptation Date: 8/18/2022
Adapted By: Alberta Health Services
Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services
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