Dear Doc | Worried that I cheated and may have caught something
Q Dear Doc, I did something stupid and I am not sure what to do now. I was partying over the holidays and had sex with a girl who is not my girlfriend. I did not use any protection, but I pulled out. I had sex some days after with my girlfriend, and pulled out again, but now I am having a burning sensation in my penis. I think I got something and now I don’t know what to do, because I don’t want to get in trouble with my girlfriend. I don’t know if I got something from the other girl. I don’t think I gave it to my girlfriend, though, ’cause she hasn’t said anything and I did pull out.
Is there anything I can get from a pharmacy to take so that I don’t have to say anything to her?
A You, indeed, have a problem to which there is no easy solution.
NO! There isn’t anything that you can simply go and get at a pharmacy for this.
Why? Because you may have gonorrhoea, and gonorrhoea has potentially serious consequences if it is not treated; and it is not treated with over-the-counter medication, but with medication requiring a prescription.
Common symptoms of gonorrhoea include an abnormal discharge from the vagina or penis, and pain with urination for either men or women. A man does not have to ejaculate to spread the infection, and some people have no symptoms at all.
This means that gonorrhoea can spread from person to person before they even know they have it. This becomes of importance to your girlfriend, because she may simply not have symptoms as yet, or be one of those persons who don’t have symptoms.
The most common symptoms of gonorrhoea in men include:
- Pain with urination.
- A milky/creamy discharge from the penis.
- Pain and swelling in one testicle.
In order to confirm if you do have gonorrhoea, testing is usually done in a doctor’s office or clinic with a urine sample (in men), or a swab of the vagina or cervix (in women). Some clinics can test for gonorrhoea from a swab of the urethra in men and provide immediate results. Other clinics may provide results within two to three days, depending on the type of test performed.
If you or your girlfriend is diagnosed with gonorrhoea, you should also have testing for other infections, including HIV, chlamydia, hepatitis B, trichomoniasis, and syphilis.
If untreated, gonorrhoea can lead to serious complications in both men and women.
Women can develop what is called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) if gonorrhoea spreads from the cervix to the uterus and fallopian tubes. PID can cause scarring to the fallopian tubes and lead to infertility and an increased the risk of having an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy (a pregnancy that develops in the fallopian tube).
Men with untreated gonorrhoea can develop inflammation of the epididymis (epididymitis), which can also lead to infertility. The epididymis collects sperm after it leaves the testis.
Treatment of gonorrhoea is the same for women and men and includes a one-time antibiotic treatment, which includes an injection and pills. You should take the pills for the entire time period that they are prescribed for.
If you take the recommended treatment, you will not need to be retested for gonorrhoea after you complete your antibiotics. However, if you continue to have symptoms after your treatment, you should see your doctor again in case you have gonorrhoea that is resistant to standard antibiotics.
Treatment is important for you and anyone you have had sex with recently. Your doctor will ask you to tell your sexual partner(s) to be tested and treated, and in some cases, your doctor will even give you a prescription for both you and your partner.
You should not have sex until both you and your partner have been treated.
You should see a doctor as soon as possible to get tested and treated, if needed, and most important, use a condom every time you have sex.