[Question #6032] Chances of passing gonorrhea

17 months ago
I had discharge 26 hours after exposure. Is that honestly possible? (I had Gonorrhea back in 2015 it took a little less than 36 hours.) Both times were broken condoms. I tested positive for gonorrhea and was treated with last Wednesday 11th. I was treated with Ceftriaxone and Azithromycin at the clinic. All symptoms cleared by Friday Morning the 13th. I recently had protected vaginal sex with a partner i know for a fact is clean. 9-18 No oral. No breakage. Was there a risk of affecting her? I didn't even think about until after the fact.
17 months ago
I forgot to mention (if it matters) I have a duplication of urethra. I have a hole that sits right above the normal functioning one. The duplicated one has no purpose. The only weird thing, both times I have had this infection. Discharge only comes out of the duplicated one. Never had discharge out of main urethra. I'm unsure if maybe thats why discharge shows up so quickly. Been to urologist about it. Even Without infection throughout the year. I do get a small amounts of cloudy most of the time clear discharge out of the duplicated. I test regularly for Stds and had it examined it (Swab) been on several antibiotics for it. urologist's only conclusion. That it must be a normal experience for me and my condition. 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
17 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your question.

You are correct in your understanding that onset of symptoms as soon as 36 hours of catching gonorrhea is unusual; generally symptoms don't start sooner than 2-3 days after exposure. That said, the gonorrhea lab tests are highly accurate, so it appears to have happened.

OVer my 4 decades in the STD business, I have seen 2 or 3 men witih gonorrhea involving a duplicate urethra and/or a blind channel, an occastional minor congenital anomaly; it sounds like you have one or the other. It might make sense that gonorrhea in this cicrumstance has a shorter incubation period, perhaps due to absence of urine flow. Urine inhibitis many bacteria, including Neisseria gonorrhoeae; and urine flow itself washes out the urethra and might delay the time it would otherwise take for the organism to grow to a point at which symptoms begin.

Also, a blind channel or urethral remnant might get infected from time to time with non-STD bacteria, which might explain why the discharge you notice sometimes is cloudy rather than clear; and even overt pus could be formed with some bacteria, e.g. strep or staph. In that event, it would exactly mimic gonorrhea. If this happened to occur soon after a new sexual exposure, and if lab testing were not done, it could easily be misdiagnosed as gonorrhea. In that situation, the antibiotics for gonorrhea probably would clear this sort of infection as well. Was gonorrhea lab testing done for your most recent epiisode?

My final thought is that if you find this anomaly bothersome, or if it seems to be getting infected frequently (whether with gonorrhea or anything else), I would think it could be easily corrected with minor surgery  -- something you might discuss with your urologist if not done previously.

I hope these comments are helpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

HHH, MD
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17 months ago
Thank you so much. I've learned so much reading your forums. Valuable information. Yes both times including last Wednesday the 11th. Lab test positive for Gonorrhea. I did have protected vaginal sex last night. Was there any chance I could have passed it to her.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
17 months ago
It is generally recommended that people abstain sexually for a week after treatment for gonorrhea, but that's intentionally conservative. In fact, the infection is non-transmissible by 24 hours after treatment. And you used a condom. There is no significant change you infected her.---
17 months ago
Thank you so much it was exactly 1 week and 7 hours after i had the shot and pills. I appreciate all you do thank you all so much.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
17 months ago
Thanks for the thanks. That's why we're here. Best wishes and stay safe.---