Anonymous on August 8, 2011

Can I get gonorrhea from giving someone oral sex? What symptoms should I look for?

I’m a 18-year-old female and I’m worried that I might have gonorrhea. About three days ago I had oral sex with a guy (without a condom) and now, since this morning, I have a very sore throat. I’m feverish and achy. He didn’t come in my mouth. Is that the only way to get gonorrhea? Does it sound like I have symptoms of gonorrhea or do I just have the flu?

answered by Lisa Oldson, MD on August 8, 2011


I’m glad you asked these important questions. It's hard to know what might be the cause of your sore throat without an examination so I encourage you to visit your doctor to find out for sure what your symptoms mean. However, I'm happy to offer you some thoughts on the situation...

First, a male doesn’t need to ejaculate to spread gonorrhea or chlamydia. Gonorrhea and chlamydia are caused by two different bacterias and are usually spread from one person to another during sexual contact...vaginal, anal or oral. The bacterias can attack the mucous membranes inside the penis, vagina, anus or throat.

A sore throat can be a symptom of gonorrhea in the throat, or oral chlamydia...but it could also mean something else. Symptoms of gonorrhea in the throat are a sore throat, swollen glands, fever and painful swallowing. Oral chlamydia has similar symptoms of sore throat and throat infection. However, as you pointed out, a sore throat is also a common symptom of other less serious strep throat or the flu.

To find out for sure the cause of your sore throat talk to your doctor about getting tested for strep throat and STDs...including gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Let me add that...if you’re worried that you may have been exposed to gonorrhea or chlamydia, there’s a chance you’ve been exposed to other STDs, as well. For your peace of mind and to be on the safe side of taking care of your health, talk to your doctor about testing for other STDs too. Herpes, hepatitis B and C, syphilis and HIV are all common STDs for which you may want be tested.

If you test positive for gonorrhea or chlamydia, don’t despair. Talk to your doctor about treatment, but typically both infections are easily treated and cured with a single oral dose of antibiotics.

How can you prevent STDs going forward?Practicing safer sex–using a condom or dental dam each and every time you have vaginal, anal or oral sex–is one way to help prevent STDs and stay healthy. Regular STD testing may also be a healthy habit to consider.

In particular, for women your age (under 25), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that you get tested for chlamydia every year. That’s because chlamydia often doesn’t show symptoms, butif left untreatedit can cause lasting consequences like pelvic inflammatory disorder (PID) and infertility.

For more information about chlamydia and gonorrhea risk factors and prevention, symptoms, complications and testing, check out our Expert Guides.

Thanks again for your good questions, and I wish you a safe and healthy future.


Lisa Oldson, MD

Dr. Oldson is Medical Director of the Analyte Physicians Group. She is on staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, as well as Clinical Instructor at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. Her areas of expertise include STDs (with a particular clinical emphasis on herpes), women's health, preventive medicine, diabetes, obesity and weight management, and mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Oldson was educated at Rush Medical College and completed her residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, IL.

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