Gonorrhea is an infectious disease of the reproductive organs that is sexually transmitted (venereal disease). The urethra in males, the urethra and reproductive system in females, and the rectum, throat, joints, and eyes (sometimes) in both sexes are involved. Gonorrhea can affect both sexes and all ages--even young children -- of persons who have sexual contact with infected persons. Appropriate health care includes: physician's monitoring of general condition and medications; hospitalization for complications; self-care after diagnosis.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSBurning urination.
Thick green-yellow discharge from the penis or vagina.
Little or no fever.
Pain or tenderness with sexual intercourse (sometimes).
Rectal discomfort and discharge (sometimes).
Mild sore throat (sometimes).
Females often have few or no symptoms. Males usually have more pronounced symptoms.
Infection from gonococcus bacteria that grow well on delicate, moist tissue. The bacteria are usually transmitted sexually, but some cases are of unknown origin. Sexual activity involving the rectum or mouth may transmit infection to those areas if either partner is infected.
Child sexual abuse; many sexual partners, whether heterosexual or homosexual; prostitution.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCE
Your sexually active child should avoid sexual partners whose health practices and status are uncertain.
Using a rubber condom during sexual intercourse is a good practice.
Females should never use someone else's douche equipment.
This condition must be reported to the local health department to prevent its spread. It sometimes occurs simultaneously with syphilis. Your cooperation is important, and your son's or daughter's confidentiality will be maintained.
MEDICAL TESTSYour own observation of symptoms; medical history and physical exam by a doctor; blood studies; laboratory culture and microscopic analysis of the discharge from the reproductive organs, rectum, or throat.
Gonococcal eye infection. This may cause blindness in children born of mothers who have gonorrhea.
Blood poisoning (gonococcal septicemia).
Pelvic inflammatory disease.
Sexual impotence in males, if untreated (sometimes).
Usually curable in 1 to 2 weeks with treatment.
HOME CAREInstructions for your son or daughter:
Use separate linens and disposable eating utensils during treatment.
Wash hands frequently--especially after urination and bowel movements.
Don't touch eyes with hands.
Inform all sexual contacts so they can seek treatment.
MEDICATIONYour doctor will prescribe antibiotics to fight the infection.
Your child can take non-prescription drugs, such as acetaminophen or aspirin, to reduce discomfort--but not in place of antibiotics. Home remedies or folk-medicine treatments are ineffective.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
No restrictions, except not to resume sexual activity until a follow-up culture shows the infection is cured.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet. Your child should reduce consumption of caffeine and alcohol during treatment. These irritate the urethra.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?When signs of infection have decreased, appetite returns, and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your son or daughter develops symptoms of gonorrhea.
Your son or daughter develops chills, fever, abdominal pain, swelling of the testicles, genital sores, or joint pain--either before or during treatment.
New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.