Chlamydia and Gonorrhea: What You Need to Know

Written by Dr. Ryner Lai
September 14, 2020

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are two common sexually transmitted infections (STIs). They are most common among people ages 20 to 35. They are also easily treatable, if you recognize the signs and symptoms and get tested regularly if at risk. 


Risky behavior 

Chlamydia and gonorrhea are typically spread through unprotected sex. This means that you can get these diseases by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with an infected person. You can reduce the risk of getting these diseases by using condoms. 


The CDC recommends that all sexually active women who are 25 years and younger should be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year. Women who are 25 years and older with risk factors, such as new or multiple sex partners or a sex partner who has an STI, should also be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year.

The CDC recommends that all sexually active gay and bisexual men be tested at least once a year for chlamydia and gonorrhea.


Signs and Symptoms

Not everyone has symptoms when infected, which is the main reason why it is so commonly passed on to others. When symptomatic, chlamydia and gonorrhea look similar: 

Men often experience a burning sensation during urinating and discharge from the penis. In more severe cases, it may also cause pain in the testicles (epididymitis).

Women often experience a burning sensation during urination and discharge from the vagina. In more serious cases, it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which may cause abdominal pain and fevers.  

The additional risk for women is that their tubes might become scarred from the inflammation of an untreated infection, which may result in infertility and increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy (in which the embryo is not implanted in the uterus), which can be dangerous.

Patients who get infected rectally might experience rectal pain, rectal discharge, and bleeding. 



If you have a history of unprotected sex and experience the symptoms above, your doctor will likely treat you with antibiotics without testing. However, in some cases, especially when no symptoms are present, testing may be ordered. This usually involves collecting a urine sample. Alternatively, a sample of cells is collected using a swab from the penis or the vagina.

Your doctor may test you for other STIs, like trichomonas, herpes, syphilis, and more.



For gonorrhea, the treatment typically consists of a single dose of an antibiotic, which is either taken orally or injected intramuscularly. For chlamydia, you may either be prescribed a single dose of a different antibiotic, or in more severe cases, a 7-14 day course. 

It is strongly recommended to avoid having sex for a week after completion of the antibiotics. 

Furthermore, it is important to inform your partner(s) of your diagnosis and make sure they get treated as well to avoid reinfection and further spread of the disease. 


How to Get Help 

If you or your partner experience any of the symptoms above or test positive for an STI, do not delay in getting treatment. QuickMD can diagnose you via video chat and send a prescription for antibiotics directly to your pharmacy.

Click here to make an appointment or speak to a doctor now. If you would like to get tested, you can order your own STI test here and have it done at a LabCorp location close to you. 



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