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Gonorrhoea Treatments & Advice

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  • How is Gonorrhea treated?

    Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection that is treated with antibiotics. The current treatment involves the combination of an antibiotic injection and an antibiotic tablet.

  • Can Gonorrhea be cured?

    Gonorrhea will usually be completely treated by one course of antibiotics. However, this treatment will not prevent a second infection in the future, so it is essential to continue taking preventive measures.

  • How long will take for my symptoms to clear up?

    You should notice that gonorrhoea treatment helps to clear your symptoms within 3 days. Any pain or tenderness present may take up to two weeks to clear; this is not a sign of failed treatment. Women who experienced abnormal bleeding should notice that this clears up by the time they get their next period.


  • Can I take painkillers whilst I am waiting for the antibiotics to take effect?

    Over-the-counter pain medication will not interact with the antibiotics used to treat gonorrhoea. It is fine to take any painkillers containing paracetamol, ibuprofen, aspirin or codeine.


  • How will I know if the Gonorrhoea infection has been treated successfully?

    If you wish to take an STI test to confirm your gonorrhoea treatment was successful, you should wait at least a week. This will allow time for your treatment to be effective and any remaining bacteria to leave your system meaning your test results will be as accurate as possible. You can purchase a gonorrhoea test from our Online Pharmacy or you can go to your GP or GUM clinic.

  • Can I get the injection online?

    Antibiotic injections must be performed by a medical professional, and so cannot be acquired online.

  • Can I get the tablets online?

    The UK Department of Health requires all patients exhibiting signs of gonorrhea to be fist treated with an injection. As such, you will not be able to purchase tablets online.

    This change in protocol is due to an outbreak in 2015 of a strain of gonorrhea that was resistant to the active antibiotic used in these tablets (azithromycin). Though this may seem like an excessive response to the 15-20 reported cases, antibiotic resistance can lead to many complications in the treatment of infections. For example, Japan no longer use azithromycin at all because they have such widespread resistance.

  • How can I test whether I have Gonorrhea?

    Online services are available whereby you will receive a straightforward urine test in the post, then send the test to be analyzed in a lab. Results will be available on the same day that the lab receives your sample. This service is both discreet and confidential, and test for both gonorrhea and chlamydia.

  • How long do I have to wait before I can have sex again after treatment?

    After you have received the treatment, you should wait for 7 days before commencing any type of sexual activity. This will ensure you do not re-infect your self or others.

    If your partner is also being treated, it is important that all treatment is received and 7 days has elapsed for both of you before re-engaging in any sexual activity.

    If you have had Gonorrhea in the past and been treated successfully, you are just as likely to be infected again if you are exposed to it or have sexual contact with an infected person.

  • Should my sexual partner also be tested?

    Yes, they are advised to be tested and will likely also receive the antibiotic treatment. Because the treatment does not prevent future infections, you may re-acquire gonorrhea if your partner does not receive treatment. For this reason, you should tell your partner that you might have gonorrhea as soon as possible.

  • Is Gonorrhea common?

    Yes – it is a very common sexually transmitted infection. Each year, gonorrhea affects nearly 35,000 people in the UK and 700,000 in the US.

  • How is Gonorrhea transmitted?

    Gonorrhea bacteria are transmitted by direct contact with the mouth, penis, vagina or anus. Importantly, it can be spread without ejaculation. Pregnant mothers who are infected can also pass on gonorrhea to their child.

  • What can I do to ensure I don’t get Gonorrhoea again?

    To lower your chances of contracting gonorrhea:

    • Ensure you use condoms correctly during sexual activity.
    • Wash/clean sex toys after use to reduce the chance of infection.
    • Avoid sharing towels as this can spread infection.
    • Ensure you and your sexual partner(s) have are regularly tested and are STI free.
  • After I have received treatment, when will the symptoms go away?

    Pain when urinating, discharge from the penis, discharge from the rectum and pain from the rectal area should all start to subside and improve within 2-3 days.

    Periods may be heavier and there may be intermittent bleeding between periods. This should improve by the time the next period is due.

    Pain in the testicles and in the pelvis will start to improve quickly but can take up to 2 weeks to clear completely.

  • Can Gonorrhea heal without treatment?

    No – if left untreated, gonorrhea can lead to long-term health complications for both men and women. The infection can be fatal if it spreads to the blood or joints. People who are infected with gonorrhea are more likely to contract the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

    Gonorrhea can lead to epididymitis in men. This is a testicular condition which is very painful and can cause infertility.

    Women with gonorrhea can develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which initially causes fever and abdominal pain. If left untreated, PID can lead to long-term pain and collections of pus called internal abscesses, which are very difficult to treat. PID can also harm the fallopian tubes; this can lead both to infertility and a higher risk of a pregnancy developing outside of the uterus (ectopic pregnancy).

  • How can I prevent the spread of Gonorrhea?

    Abstinence is the only way to guarantee that you will avoid infection. You can reduce the risk by having sex with only one partner, whom you know to be uninfected.

    When used correctly, latex condoms and other barrier methods can be effective at preventing the spread of gonorrhea. The infection can be spread even without full penetration, so it is important to use condoms throughout sexual contact. For oral sex, alternatives include a non-lubricated condom for the penis, and plastic wrap or a dental dam for the vagina or anus. Your chances of spreading gonorrhea and other STIs will be minimized by washing with soap and water immediately after sex.

    Spermicides have been shown to be ineffective at stopping the spread of gonorrhea, and so are not recommended as a preventive method.

Authored By:

A photo of Dr Donald Grant

Dr Donald Grant

MB ChB DRCOG MRCGP Dip.orth.med

Published on: 29-05-2019

Last modified on: 29-05-2019

Dr Don Grant is a GP with over 30 years experience and is the Clinical Advisor at The Independent Pharmacy

Reviewed By:

A photo of  Chris Newbury

Chris Newbury

BPharm IP

Reviewed on: 29-05-2019

Next review date: 29-05-2021

Chris is a vastly experienced clinical pharmacist and has been registered as an Independent Prescriber since 2014.

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Rated Excellent based on over 16,000 reviews from Google, Trustpilot & Reviews.io
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