What is gonorrhea?
Signs and symptoms of gonorrhea
Doctors recommend regular screening to be sure you’re not infected, because not all cases of gonorrhea show symptoms. Even if your case doesn’t come with symptoms, you can still pass the infection along to sexual partners without knowing.
If your gonorrhea infection does display symptoms, they can show up as soon as 2 days to as long as 30 days after infection. Symptoms of gonorrhea in men are easier to spot, although some men notice only mild symptoms, too. Women typically notice such mild symptoms they might mistake the signs of gonorrhea for a vaginal or bladder infection.
In women, symptoms of genital gonorrhea include:
In people of any gender, symptoms of anal gonorrhea include:
Gonorrhea in the throat can cause a sore throat, but usually you won’t feel any symptoms.
If left untreated, gonorrhea can worsen and lead to permanent damage and other health issues.
In women, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disorder (PID). This disorder causes:
Sometimes untreated gonorrhea can spread to the blood and joints, leading to a systemic infection. It’s important to know the signs to watch out for, but regular testing is the best way to be sure you aren’t infected.
Causes of gonorrhea
The only cause of gonorrhea is the bacteria Neseirria gonorrhoeae.
This bacteria spreads through contact with an infected person's genitals, anus, or throat—whichever body part has the infection. It is usually spread through sexual activities. Because of the lack of symptoms, many infected people don’t know they’re spreading it.
Diagnosis for gonorrhea
Doctors say that any sexually active person between the ages of 21 and 25 should get tested at least once a year for gonorrhea. That way, you can spot an asymptomatic case and help to stop the spread of the infection in the community.
If you are over 25, you should get tested whenever you have a new sexual partner, or if you have unprotected sex.
Depending on the location of your infection, doctors may take a urine sample or do a swab of the affected area. Then they’ll test it for traces of the bacteria that causes gonorrhea.
Treatments for gonorrhea
Doctors treat most cases of gonorrhea with antibiotics. The current standard is an injection of ceftriaxone plus an oral dose of azithromycin.
However, some newer strains of gonorrhea are resistant to most of the available antibiotics. There are still treatment options, but researchers must constantly monitor the situation to make sure that strains from around the globe will still respond to available treatments.
Gonorrhea is treatable, but if you don’t know you’re infected, you are contagious until you receive antibiotics. It’s important for both partners to be tested and treated to avoid passing it back and forth or accidentally transmitting it to someone else, too.
Latest Sexual Health News
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Gonorrhea - CDC Fact Sheet."
Michigan Medicine University of Michigan Health: "Gonorrhea."
Minnesota Department of Health: "Gonorrhea."
National Coalition for Sexual Health: "This is How Often You Need to Get Tested for STDs, Based on Your Relationship Status."
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Gonorrhea Treatment and Care."
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Antibiotic-Resistant Gonorrhea Basic Information."
Top How Long Does it Take for Gonorrhea to Show Up Related Articles
Gonorrhea In Women
Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection transmitted during sexual contact. In women, symptoms include a yellow vaginal discharge, burning or frequent urination, and redness, swelling, burning and itching of the vaginal area. Gonorrhea can be treated with injectable (penicillin) or oral medications.
Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) TreatmentsIf you are diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease (STD), you must take and observe the following precautions.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Women (STDs)Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are among the most common infectious diseases in the United States. STDs can be spread through any type of sexual activity involving the sex organs, the anus or mouth, or through contact with blood during sexual activity. Examples of STDs include, chancroid, chlamydia, gonorrhea, granuloma inguinale, lymphogranuloma venereum, syphilis, genital herpes, genital warts, trichomoniasis, pubic lice (crabs), and scabies. Treatment is generally with antibiotics; however, some STDs that go untreated can lead to death.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Pregnancy (STDs)When you are pregnant, many sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can be especially harmful to you and your baby. These STDs include herpes, HIV/AIDS, genital warts (HPV), hepatitis B, chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis. Symptoms include bumps, sores, warts, swelling, itching, or redness in the genital region. Treatment of STDs while pregnant depends on how far along you are in the pregnancy and the progression of the infection.
STD QuizThere are more sexually transmitted diseases than just the ones you've heard of. Find out what you've been missing with the STD Quiz.
STD Symptoms for WomenMany women may not show any symptoms of STDs and may be unaware of the need for treatment. Women experiencing problems must seek gynecological advice.
STDs Facts SlideshowSexually transmitted infections like chlamydia and genital herpes are common STDs. Think you might have an STD? You’re not alone. Find pictures of herpes, gonorrhea, and more. Learn how venereal disease can harm your health, and how to tell your partner if you have an STD.
STDs: Common SymptomsSexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are diseases that a person can get by having sex with someone who has an STD.
The Clap (Gonorrhea) PictureA sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoea. See a picture of The Clap (Gonorrhea) and learn more about the health topic.
What Are STDs?Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are diseases that a person can get by having sex with someone who has an STD.
What Are the Symptoms of STD In Females?Many women may not show any symptoms of STDs and may be unaware of the need for treatment.
What Are the Top 10 STDs?According to the American Social Health Organization, each year one out of four teens in the United States develops a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Half of all sexually active young adults get an STD by the age of 25 years.
Yeast infections vs. STDs in Men and Women