If you are a sexually active women younger than 25 years old or an older women with risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners, or a sex partner who has a sexually transmitted infection, you should be tested for gonorrhea every year. Not all people infected with gonorrhea have symptoms, so knowing when to seek treatment can be tricky. When symptoms do occur, they are often within two to 10 days after exposure, but they can take up to 30 days to develop and may include the following symptoms:
• Greenish yellow or whitish discharge from the vagina
• Lower abdominal or pelvic pain
• Burning when urinating
• Conjunctivitis (red, itchy eyes)
• Bleeding between periods
• Spotting after intercourse
• Vulvitis (swelling of the vulva)
• Burning in the throat (due to oral sex)
• Swollen glands in the throat (due to oral sex)
What happens if I don’t get treated?
Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health problems in both women and men. In women, untreated gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Some of the complications of PID are the following:
• Formation of scar tissue that blocks fallopian tubes;
• Ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the womb);
• Infertility (inability to get pregnant);
• Long-term pelvic/abdominal pain.
Untreated gonorrhea may also increase your chances of getting or giving HIV – the virus that causes AIDS. Rarely, untreated gonorrhea can also spread to your blood or joints. This condition can be life-threatening.
Ana Cenit, RN
First Choice Women’s Resource Centers – Jersey City, Montclair, Morristown, Newark and Plainfield, NJ
Call 973-538-0967 or text 973-532-2904 to schedule an appointment for a free STI screen for chlamydia or gonorrhea.