Should I take antibiotics for gonorrhea?

Reviewed by:
Angela DiLaura, NP
Clinical Informatics and Quality Manager
Last updated on December 4, 2021

If you have or think you may have gonorrhea, antibiotics are a must.

You’ll want to meet with your doctor ASAP because you’ll need prescription (oral) antibiotics to treat it right away. Gonorrhea is common and easy to treat, but if it’s left untreated, it can lead to much more serious issues.

Your HealthTap doctor is a great first point of contact. They can offer an initial diagnosis to address your symptoms, order labs and tests, and prescribe you the right antibiotic. Keep in mind you may need to be seen in-person to confirm the diagnosis.

Schedule an appointment today if you’re concerned about symptoms. 

Keep reading to learn more about what gonorrhea is, symptoms to watch out for, and what testing and treatment are like.

What is gonorrhea? 

Gonorrhea is a bacterial, sexually transmitted infection (STI) common in men and women that usually affects the urethra, rectum or throat. It can also affect your eyes, joints, and cervix. It’s most commonly spread during vaginal, oral, or anal sex.

Symptoms can vary for men and women

Signs and symptoms of gonorrhea infection in men:

  • Painful urination.

  • Pus-like discharge from the tip of the penis.

  • Pain or swelling in one testicle.

Signs and symptoms of gonorrhea infection in women:

  • Increased vaginal discharge.

  • Painful urination.

  • Vaginal bleeding between periods, such as after vaginal intercourse.

  • Abdominal or pelvic pain.

Testing and treatment for gonorrhea

To test for gonorrhea, your doctor will need to get some samples by taking one of the following:

  • A urine test to help identify bacteria in your urine.

  • A swab of the affected area. A swab of your throat, urethra, vagina or rectum can collect bacteria that can be identified in a lab.

If you test positive, your doctor will most likely write a prescription to treat your infection with antibiotics. Unfortunately, there is no over-the-counter antibiotic for gonorrhea treatment.

If you’re experiencing symptoms, don’t wait

If you’re typing “should I take antibiotics for gonorrhea?” into an internet search engine, stop what you’re doing, and save yourself time and stress with HealthTap.

  1. Get tested. 

  2. Get a diagnosis. 

  3. Figure out a treatment plan with your doctor. 

With proper care and treatment, gonorrhea can be dealt with quickly and effectively, and you can soon be back to your best, healthy self. 

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HealthTap Editors

HealthTap Editors

HealthTap articles are reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Visit https://www.healthtap.com/about-doctors/ to learn more and meet some of the medical editorial board members behind our blog. The information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. HealthTap is a virtual-first, affordable urgent- and primary-care clinic, providing top-quality physician care nationwide to Americans with or without insurance. Our proprietary, easy-to-use, and innovative apps and electronic medical record apply Silicon Valley standards to effectively engage consumers and doctors online to increase the equity, accessibility, and efficiency of ongoing medical care for consumers, providers, employers, and payers. In addition, with HealthTap, businesses can offer virtual primary care to employees for less than the cost of free coffee. HealthTap's US-based board-certified physicians are available throughout North America. For more information, visit www.healthtap.com.
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