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What to Do When You've Got the Clap: How to Treat Gonorrhea

Medically reviewed by John Paul Abrina, MD · Oncology · Davao Doctors Hospital

Written by Hazel Caingcoy · Updated Jun 25, 2021

What to Do When You've Got the Clap: How to Treat Gonorrhea

How to treat gonorrhea after you’ve tested positive for it? Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is the second most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a bacteria.

Most of the time, gonorrhea infection can remain undetected because it shows zero to mild symptoms, which makes it more prone to getting passed from one person to another.

How to Treat Gonorrhea

Regardless of how mild or severe the infection is, gonorrhea is treated with antibiotics. Gonorrhea is not self-limiting, or it does not heal on its own. This means that a person who is infected requires proper treatment. Late detection and delayed treatment can lead to complications.

Antibiotics for Gonorrhea

Uncomplicated gonorrheal infections or gonorrheal infections that are not coupled with other STDs or other health complications are usually treated with a short course of antibiotics that would not last for more than 7 days.

The kind of antibiotics used for gonorrhea treatment will depend on:

  • Availability
  • Allergic reactions
  • Whether you are pregnant or not

Antibiotics are prescription drugs. They cannot be bought over the counter because wrong dosage and usage of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic resistance in bacteria, which makes them more difficult to treat.

How to Treat Gonorrhea with Antibiotics

How to treat gonorrhea depends on what drug is available and where the infection is occurring.

For uncomplicated gonorrheal infections, ceftriaxone or azithromycin is given as the usual treatment.

Ceftriaxone, is usually injected in the muscle near the infected area. For rectal gonorrhea, it’s usually injected in the buttocks. For urethral and cervical gonorrhea, it is injected in the thighs. Ceftriaxone injections are also used for pharyngeal gonorrhea, or gonorrheal infection in the mouth.

Alternative medications for uncomplicated gonorrheal infections of the urethra, cervix, and rectum include:

  • Gentamicin
  • Cefixime

A person who is infected with gonorrhea is most likely also infected with chlamydia. For patients infected with both gonorrhea and chlamydia, doxycycline is suggested.

However, doxycycline is avoided during pregnancy. If a pregnant or breastfeeding mother is being treated for chlamydia, azithromycin is used for treatment.

Consult with your doctor for all courses of treatment.

Antibiotic resistance of gonorrhea

Antibiotics are the only treatment for gonorrhea but as the bacteria builds resistance, how to treat gonorrhea has also evolved and has become more difficult.

Antibiotic resistance is when a bacteria develops the ability to fight or protect itself against these medications.

Gonorrhea has developed resistance to all but one class of antibiotics designed to treat it. Half of all gonorrhea infections are resistant to at least one antibiotic.

Antibiotics that are no longer recommended for the treatment of gonorrhea include penicillin, tetracycline, ciprofloxacin, and cefixime.

In a surveillance conducted by the World Health Organization, gonorrhea has also shown increasing resistance to azithromycin.

Things to remember during treatment

Even if you have been treated for gonorrhea, and the symptoms have subsided, it does not mean that you are immune. A person cannot develop resistance against gonorrhea. Make sure to practice safe sex even after treatment.

When getting treated for gonorrhea:

  • Avoid sexual contact
  • Wait for seven days after the treatment before engaging in sex again
  • Get tested again in 3 months to make sure that gonorrhea is no longer in your system
  • Use dental dams and condoms when having oral and penetrative sex until you get tested again for gonorrhea to confirm that it is no longer in the system
  • If symptoms do not go away after treatment, visit your doctor for further assessment

Key Takeaway

There is only one sure way to treat gonorrhea and that is through antibiotic treatment. Gonorrhea is treated with a combination of antibiotic drugs. However, gonorrhea has developed resistance to several antibiotics. Consult your doctor and strictly follow the prescribed regimen.

Learn more about gonorrhea here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

John Paul Abrina, MD

Oncology · Davao Doctors Hospital

Written by Hazel Caingcoy · Updated Jun 25, 2021

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