How To Treat Gonorrhea And Chlamydia At Home: Get Tested
Taking antibiotics is the only way to treat gonorrhea and chlamydia, and these antibiotics must be prescribed by a physician. This means you cannot treat these STDs at home. But there is something you can do at home: get tested. The results of this at-home test will determine whether or not you need to contact a medical professional to discuss treatment options.
What Are Canadian Primary Care Physicians Prescribing For The Treatment Of Gonorrhea
S Ha1, L Pogany2, J Seto3, J Wu4, M Gale-Rowe4,*
1 Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada, Ottawa, ON
2 Regulatory Operations and Regions Branch, Health Canada, Ottawa, ON
3 Global Affairs Canada, Ottawa, ON
4 Centre for Communicable Diseases and Infection Control, Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, ON
Ha S, Pogany L, Seto J, Wu J, Gale-Rowe M. What are Canadian primary care physicians prescribing for the treatment of gonorrhea? Can Commun Dis Rep. 2017 43:33-7. https://doi.org/10.14745/ccdr.v43i02a01
Bacterial Strains And Culture Conditions
Descriptions of the N. gonorrhoeae and C. trachomatis strains used in this study are outlined in . Strain H041 is strain H041 in which the rpsL gene of strain FA1090 was introduced by allelic exchange to confer streptomycin resistance, which is a required phenotype for the mouse model. All N. gonorrhoeae isolates were cultured either on supplemented GC agar as described previously or on G77L broth as described previously . C. trachomatis was grown in cell culture with HEp-2 cells using Iscoves modified Dulbeccos medium with l-glutamine and phenol red supplemented with 10% fetal bovine serum. GC agar with vancomycin, colistin, nystatin, trimethroprim sulfate , and 100 g/ml streptomycin sulfate was used to isolate N. gonorrhoeae from murine vaginal swabs. Heart infusion agar was used to monitor the presence of facultative aerobic commensal flora in vaginal swabs. Incubation conditions for N. gonorrhoeae and commensal bacteria were 37°C in a humid atmosphere containing 7.5% CO2 .
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What Happens If You Dont Get Treated For Gonorrhea
Even though gonorrhea is common and doesnt always cause symptoms, it can become a big deal if its not treated.
Gonorrhea can spread to your uterus and fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease . PID might not have any symptoms at first, but it can cause permanent damage that may lead to chronic pain, infertility, or ectopic pregnancy. Getting tested for gonorrhea really lowers your chances of getting PID.
If you have a penis, an untreated gonorrhea infection can spread to your epididymis , and can cause pain in your testicles. Rarely, it can make you infertile.
Having gonorrhea also increases your chances of getting or spreading HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Rarely, untreated gonorrhea may spread to your blood, skin, heart, or joints and lead to serious health problems, or even death.
If you have gonorrhea while youre pregnant and dont treat it, it can be passed to your baby when youre giving birth. This can lead to problems for the baby, including blindness, joint infections, or blood infections which can be deadly.
The best way to avoid all these problems? Get tested and treated early.
Urogenital Infection In Women
In women, chlamydial infection of the lower genital tract occurs in the endocervix. It can cause an odorless, mucoid vaginal discharge, typically with no external pruritus, although many women have minimal or no symptoms.2 An ascending infection can result in pelvic inflammatory disease .
Physical findings of urogenital chlamydial infection in women include cervicitis with a yellow or cloudy mucoid discharge from the os. The cervix tends to bleed easily when rubbed with a polyester swab or scraped with a spatula. Chlamydial infection cannot be distinguished from other urogenital infections by symptoms alone. Clinical microscopy and the amine test can be used to help differentiate chlamydial infection from other lower genital tract infections such as urinary tract infection, bacterial vaginosis, and trichomoniasis.3 In addition, chlamydial infection in the lower genital tract does not cause vaginitis thus, if vaginal findings are present, they usually indicate a different diagnosis or a coinfection.
Some women with C. trachomatis infection develop urethritis symptoms may consist of dysuria without frequency or urgency. A urethral discharge can be elicited by compressing the urethra during the pelvic examination. Urinalysis usually will show more than five white blood cells per high-powered field, but urethral cultures generally are negative.
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Can Chlamydia Turn Into Gonorrhea
No, chlamydia on its own cannot turn into gonorrhea as they are caused by two different bacteria.
It does happen that people contract and carry both chlamydia and gonorrhea bacteria, so you can have them at the same time. Also, having one increases your likelihood of contracting another thus, it is always important to be treated for both.
Treatment For Gonorrhea Is Quick And Easy Too
The CDC currently recommends a shot of the antibiotic Rocephin and an oral dose of the antibiotic azithromycin, given at the same time, to treat gonorrhea.
Treatment recommendations for gonorrhea have changed over the years as the bacteria that causes gonorrhea, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, has become resistant to a growing number of antibiotics.
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How Soon Is Chlamydia Contagious
Therefore, they do not know they have the disease. The incubation period for chlamydia is quite variable and may range from days to months after the initial exposure. The average time from exposure to the development of symptoms is usually about one to three weeks after sexual contact with an infected person.
Will I Need To Go Back To The Clinic
If you take your antibiotics correctly, you may not need to return to the clinic.
However, you will be advised to go back for another chlamydia test if:
- you had sex before you and your partner finished treatment
- you forgot to take your medication or didn’t take it properly
- your symptoms don’t go away
- you’re pregnant
If you’re under 25 years of age, you should be offered a repeat test for chlamydia 3 to 6 months after finishing your treatment because you’re at a higher risk of catching it again.
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What Happens If You Dont Get Treated For Chlamydia
Even though chlamydia is common and doesnt usually cause any symptoms, it can become a big deal if its not caught and treated early.
Chlamydia can spread to your uterus and fallopian tubes if it goes untreated for a long time. This can cause you to have pelvic inflammatory disease . PID can cause permanent damage that leads to pain, infertility, or ectopic pregnancy. So getting tested regularly for chlamydia really lowers your chances of getting PID.
If you have a penis, a chlamydia infection can spread to your epididymis if its left untreated, and can cause chronic joint pain. Rarely, it can make you infertile.
Having chlamydia may increase your chances of getting or spreading HIV.
If you have chlamydia during your pregnancy and dont treat it, you can pass it to your baby when youre giving birth. Chlamydia can also cause eye infections and pneumonia in newborns, and it also increases the risk of delivering your baby too early.
Testing and treatment for chlamydia is quick, easy, and the best way to avoid all of these problems.
Urogenital Infection In Men
In men, chlamydial infection of the lower genital tract causes urethritis and, on occasion, epididymitis. Urethritis is secondary to C. trachomatis infection in approximately 15 to 55 percent of men, although the prevalence is lower among older men.2 Symptoms, if present, include a mild to moderate, clear to white urethral discharge. This is best observed in the morning, before the patient voids. To observe the discharge, the penis may need to be milked by applying pressure from the base of the penis to the glans.
The diagnosis of nongonococcal urethritis can be confirmed by the presence of a mucopurulent discharge from the penis, a Gram stain of the discharge with more than five white blood cells per oil-immersion field, and no intracellular gram-negative diplococci.2 A positive result on a leukocyte esterase test of first-void urine or a microscopic examination of first-void urine showing 10 or more white blood cells per high-powered field also confirms the diagnosis of urethritis.
For diagnosis of C. trachomatis infection in men with suspected urethritis, the nucleic acid amplification technique to detect chlamydial and gonococcal infections is best .4 Empiric treatment should be considered for patients who are at high risk of being lost to follow-up.
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How Is Each Condition Transmitted
Both STIs are caused by bacterial infections that are transmitted through unprotected sexual contact, meaning sex without using a condom, dental dam, or another protective barrier between you and your partner during vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
Its also possible to contract the infection through sexual contact that doesnt involve penetration. For example, if your genitals come into contact with the genitals of someone whos contracted the infection, its possible to develop the condition.
Both STIs can also be contracted through protected sex with a condom or other barrier if you dont use protection properly, or if the barrier breaks.
Either STI can be contracted even if you arent showing visible symptoms. Both STIs can also be transmitted to a child at birth if the mother has either condition.
Youre at increased risk for developing these and other STIs if you:
- have multiple sexual partners at one time
- dont properly use protection, such as condoms, female condoms, or dental dams
- regularly use douches which can irritate your vagina, killing healthy vaginal bacteria
- have contracted an STI before
Sexual assault can also increase your risk of both chlamydia or gonorrhea.
Both STIs can be diagnosed using similar diagnostic methods. Your doctor may use one or more of these tests to ensure that the diagnosis is accurate and that the right treatment is given:
Parents Have A Role In Chlamydia Prevention
Parents can do two main things to help their kids avoid getting chlamydia and other sexually transmitted infections , says Dombrowski. These two things are:
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Sex Partners Need Treatment Too
If you are diagnosed with chlamydia, you will need to tell all of your sexual partners, because they will need the same treatment you are receiving.
In most states, a doctor or other healthcare provider can give you the medicine that your partner or partners will need to take. Then you can deliver it to those partners. This practice is called expedited partner therapy or patient delivered partner therapy.
These options can help a lot if your partner doesnt have a healthcare provider or feels embarrassed about seeking care, says Dr. Dombrowski.
Its natural to feel nervous or upset about having to tell your partner or partners about having an STD. Your healthcare provider can help with this problem. They may even rehearse the conversation with you, says Dombrowksi.
Learning about chlamydia and seeking advice from a healthcare provider about how to discuss it with your partner can help you handle the conversation with less anxiety and more confidence.
Remember, chlamydia is not just common: It is the most common infection reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . You are being helpful, mature, and responsible by telling your partners.
When Should You Test For Gonorrhea Or Chlamydia At Home
If youve recently had unprotected sex or potentially been exposed to gonorrhea or chlamydia, you may think that its important to get tested immediately. But taking an STD test too soon could actually lead to inaccurate results. Why? STDs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia will not be detectable in your system immediately following exposure. If you take a test too early, you may get a false negative result.
So how long should you wait to get tested for STDs? Every STD has a unique incubation period, which is the amount of time that it takes for the STD to be detectable in your system. The incubation period for chlamydia can range from 7 days to 21 days, whereas the incubation period for gonorrhea is up to 14 days.
Therefore, it is best to get tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea two to three weeks following the initial exposure. If you take a test within the first two to three weeks following exposure, its best to get tested again after several weeks to ensure your initial results were accurate.
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Get Retested Following Treatment
Many people have more than one chlamydia infection. If youre a girl or woman and your sex partners are not treated for the infection, you will be at high risk for reinfection. Repeated infections with chlamydia make it much more likely that your ability to have children will be affected. Repeated infections also raise your risk of painful complications, such as pelvic inflammatory disease.
Both women and men with chlamydia should be retested about three months after they are first diagnosed and treated. Go to be retested even if you think your sex partners were successfully treated.
Symptoms In Men And Those With A Penis
A person with a penis may not develop noticeable symptoms for several weeks. Some men may never develop symptoms.
Typically, symptoms begin to show a week after transmission. The first noticeable symptom in men is often a burning or painful sensation during urination.
As it progresses, other symptoms may include:
In rare instances, gonorrhea can continue to cause damage to the body, specifically the urethra and testicles. The condition will stay in the body for a few weeks after the symptoms have been treated.
Pain may also spread to the rectum.
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Is Treatment Different For Pregnant Women With Gonorrhea
The medications used for pregnant women with gonorrhea are essentially the same as the medications used for non-pregnant women.
Treatment is necessary to prevent disease transmission to, or complications for, the baby.
Gonorrhea in babies often manifests as conjunctivitis, or pink eye. Some states require that all newborns are given antibiotic eye drops, such as erythromycin, as a preventive measure against the disease.
Pregnant women who are diagnosed with gonorrhea should be tested for other STIs as well.
When Can I Have Sex Again
If you had doxycycline, you shouldn’t have sex including vaginal, oral or anal sex, even with a condom until both you and your partner have completed treatment.
If you had azithromycin, you should wait 7 days after treatment before having sex .
This will help ensure you don’t pass on the infection or catch it again straight away.
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Put Sex On Hold During And After Chlamydia Treatment
If you were given a single dose of antibiotics to treat your chlamydia, you should not have any kind of sex for a full seven days after the day you took the medicine. If youre taking antibiotics for a week, wait another seven days after the last day of your treatment. Be sure to take all of the medicine that is prescribed for you.
Not having sex for seven days after treatment is important so you dont spread the infection to your partner or partners.
Medication stops the infection and can keep you from spreading the disease, but it wont cure any permanent damage that the infection caused before you started treatment. In women, such damage can include blocking the fallopian tubes, causing infertility.
If you still have symptoms for more than a few days after you stop taking your medicine, go back to see your doctor or other healthcare provider so they can check you again.
Preventing The Spread Of Gonorrhea
To minimize the risk of transmitting gonorrhea to others, avoid having sexual intercourse for at least seven days after completion of treatment. Also encourage any sexual partners from within the past 60 days to see their own doctors for evaluation.
If a person diagnosed with gonorrhea is in a romantic relationship, their partner should also get tested for gonorrhea. Its still possible to contract gonorrhea while being treated for gonorrhea.
If both partners are diagnosed with gonorrhea, their treatment will be the same. Both will need to abstain from sexual intercourse until theyve completed treatment and are cured.
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Can Chlamydia Cause Abnormal Periods
Chlamydia infections can also cause bleeding between periods if they progress and cause cervicitis or pelvic inflammatory disease. It is possible that you are experiencing spotting or bleeding between periods and have not started or changed your hormonal contraceptive in recent months, which is a sign of an underlying problem like chlamydia.
What You Should Know Before Starting Your Treatment For Suspected Gonorrhea And Chlamydia:
- The ideal treatment for gonorrhea exposure is an injection, and all we can offer you is an oral medication. If you prefer to have us help you find a location to get an injection, all you have to do is let us know.
- If youve been exposed to gonorrhea and chlamydia, you could have also been exposed to other STDs like, HIV, syphilis or hepatitis, which require separate treatment and if left untreated, can cause serious complications, including infertility and death.
- People who receive treatment for a potential/suspected sexually transmitted infection dont always actually have it. Taking medication if you do not in fact have an infection can be dangerous, because if you do contract an infection in the future, your body will have developed resistance to treatment.
- The treatment youre about to receive for gonorrhea and chlamydia does not treat other STDs. We can order testing for some STDs and help you find evaluation and treatment for other STDs. All you have to do is let us know.
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