What is Gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection that can affect both men and women. Symptoms of gonorrhea can include vaginal spotting or bleeding, abnormal discharge from the vagina or penis, and pain with urination for either men or women. Gonorrhea has potentially serious consequences if it is not treated, but this infection can be cured with antibiotics.
Gonorrhea is caused by bacteria known as Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Gonorrhea can be spread from one person to another during oral, vaginal/penile, or anal sex. A man does not have to ejaculate to spread the infection. You cannot become infected with gonorrhea by touching objects, like a toilet seat.
Your risk of getting gonorrhea is greater if you have a new sexual partner, more than one sexual partner, or if you have other sexually transmitted infections.
Symptoms of gonorrhea depend on where the infection is and whether you are male or female.
Both men and women can develop infection of the urethra (where urine exits), throat, and rectum. In women, infection can also occur in the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.
Infection of the throat or mouth can cause a sore throat, but oral gonorrhea usually causes no symptoms at all.
What are symptoms of Gonorrhea?
Women — In women, symptoms of gonorrhea can include:
- Vaginal itching or abnormal vaginal discharge
- Vaginal bleeding or spotting
- Pain or burning during urination
- Anal itching or discharge
- Pain with bowel movements
Men — The most common symptoms of gonorrhea in men include:
- Pain with urination
- A milky discharge from the penis
- Pain and swelling in one testicle
How is Gonorrhea tested?
Testing for gonorrhea is usually done in a doctor’s office or clinic with a sample of urine or with a swab of the cervix (in women) or urethra (in men).
How is Gonorrhea treated?
Gonorrhea is treated with oral or injectable antibiotics in both men and women. All the partners should be treated at the same time.
Retesting for gonorrhea in three months is recommended after the treatment.
You should not have sex until both you and your partner have been treated. It is possible to be infected with gonorrhea more than once.
How can Gonorrhea be prevented?
Using latex condoms.
Making sure that the partner does not have Gonorrhea before you have sex.
Practicing safe sexual practices.