a highly contagious sexually transmitted disease (STD), is one of the most
common STDs, sometimes referred to as "the clap," gonorrhea may produce signs
and symptoms such as a burning sensation when urinating or a thick discharge
from the penis or vagina. Many people experience mild or no signs or symptoms.
Left untreated, gonorrhea can cause serious complications, especially in women.
of gonorrhea is a bacterium (also referred to as gonococcus) that spreads
through sexual contact. The disease can passed from a mother to her child during
bacterium is spread through semen or vaginal fluids during unprotected sexual
contact, heterosexual or homosexual, with an infected partner.
Signs and symptoms
symptoms of gonorrhea may include: -
Thick, cloudy or bloody discharge from the penis
Pain or burning sensation when urinating
Pain during sexual intercourse
gonorrhea symptoms generally appear within two to 10 days after exposure to the
bacterium. However, some people may be infected for months before signs or
How gonorrhea affects men
first there's often a tingling sensation in the urethra, the passageway that
carries urine from your bladder to the outside of your body. Later, urination
becomes painful and you may notice a discharge from your penis. As the infection
progresses, urethral pain usually becomes more pronounced and the discharge
becomes more profuse and thick.
How gonorrhea affects women
women, the signs and symptoms, if any, may be so mild you may not realize you
have the infection. Often, the only clue that you may have gonorrhea comes when
someone who you've had sexual contact with develops the disease. The infection
usually affects the cervix and other reproductive organs as well as the urethra.
In some women, gonorrhea causes frequent, urgent and painful urination along
with an abnormal discharge from the vagina or urethra.
receiving adequate treatment for gonorrhea may lead to complications. These may
Inflammation of the
In men, epididymitis — inflammation of the rear portion of the testicles where
the sperm ducts are located (epididymis) — is an acute condition treatable with
antibiotics and pain relievers. If untreated, it may lead to infertility.
Pelvic inflammatory disease.
In women, the bacteria can spread into the uterus and fallopian tubes, causing
pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which may result in scarring of the tubes,
greater risk of ectopic pregnancy and infertility. PID may lead to abdominal
pain, backache, irregular menstrual periods, pain during intercourse and
foul-smelling vaginal discharge. It's a serious infection that requires
immediate treatment by a doctor.
Spread of the infection during
A pregnant woman with untreated gonorrhea may spread the infection to her baby
as the baby passes through the birth canal during delivery. In an infant,
gonorrhea may cause complications such as blindness and widespread infection of
the joints and blood.
In both sexes, anorectal gonorrhea may result from anal intercourse with an
infected person or from the infection spreading from the genital area. It may
cause some discomfort in and discharge from the anal area, but in many cases no
signs or symptoms are present.
Irritation of your throat and
Oral sex can lead to pharyngeal gonorrhea with a sore throat, pain on swallowing
and redness of the throat and tonsils.
Infection may sometimes spread to the eye by touching or rubbing the eye with
your hand after it has been in contact with infected discharge. Gonorrhea in
such cases can cause a red, inflamed eye (conjunctivitis). In babies who
contract gonorrhea during childbirth, gonorrheal eye infections can lead to
Widespread infection in your
Rarely, the bacterium that causes gonorrhea can spread through the bloodstream
to cause infection in other parts of your body. Fever, rash, skin sores, joint
pain, swelling and stiffness are possible results.
the spread of gonorrhea, use latex condoms and avoid oral sex.
is highly contagious, and yet may cause no signs or symptoms.
sexual partners you have, the greater your risk, casual contact.
When to seek medical advice
Have a discharge from your vagina, penis or have
other signs and symptoms of gonorrhea.
Are concerned that a partner may have been
exposed to the infection.
has been diagnosed in a partner.