Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) that often occurs with chlamydia/nongonococcal urethritis (NGU). Gonorrhea symptoms may be mild at first and both men and women can carry and spread the bacteria that cause gonorrhea to sexual partners without knowing that the have this sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Symptoms of gonorrhea include inflammation of the urethra (tube that carries urine from the body), painful urination, genital itching, and abnormal discharge. Women may experience bleeding between menstrual periods and can transmit the infection during childbirth, causing complications in the newborn. If left untreated, gonorrhea can damage the reproductive organs, joints, heart, brain, and other organs. Gonorrhea infection is resistant to several antibiotics and recurrence is common.

Here are some questions to ask your doctor (e.g., urologist, gynecologist) about gonorrhea. Print this page, check off the questions you would like answered, and bring it to your doctor’s appointment. Information about gonorrhea transmission, treatment, and prevention can help reduce the risk for severe complications.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor about Gonorrhea

  • Why do you suspect that I have gonorrhea?
  • What other conditions might be causing my symptoms?
  • How is gonorrhea transmitted?
  • What type(s) of STD testing will I undergo? What do these tests involve?
  • Will tests for other types of sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV/AIDS and chlamydia/NGU, be performed? Why or why not?
  • Should my past or current sexual partners also be tested for STDs?
  • What types of precautions should my partner(s) and I take while waiting for the results of these STD tests?
  • When will the results of my STD testing be available? Should I call for the results or will someone contact me? Telephone number to call: Date to call:
  • If my sexual partner tests negative for gonorrhea, how can I avoid spreading the disease to her/him?
  • What does safer sex involve for people with gonorrhea?
  • Are there any complications associated with gonorrhea? If so, what are the signs and symptoms of these complications?
  • Am I at risk for these complications?
  • How can I reduce my risk for developing gonorrhea complications?
  • Are there risks associated with gonorrhea during pregnancy, labor, and delivery? Are there any risks to the baby?
  • What types of precautions can help prevent these complications, including transmitting gonorrhea to the newborn?
  • What should I do if severe symptoms or complications develop? Telephone number to call:
  • What type of medication(s) do you recommend to treat gonorrhea? Why do you recommend this medication?
  • How will this antibiotic be administered and how long will treatment last?
  • What are the benefits, risks, and side effects associated with this type of medication?
  • What should I do if my symptoms do not improve, if my infection recurs, or if I experience severe medication side effects? Telephone number to call:
  • How will we know if this medication is working? How will my condition be monitored during and after treatment?
  • If this medication is not effective, what other antibiotics are available?
  • Can you recommend any support groups for people who have gonorrhea and their partners?
  • Can you recommend additional resources for information about gonorrhea?

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Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 02 Apr 2009

Last Modified: 17 Sep 2015