eg. How do you approach an STD test with a new partner?

Gonorrhea Symptoms

Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Unprotected vaginal, anal, and oral sexual contact can all transmit gonorrhea and symptoms, if they appear, do so within about ten days of exposure to the bacteria. Gonorrhea usually does not present symptoms in either men or women, or if it does, those symptoms are mild and can be mistaken for other infections, such as chlamydia.

If left untreated, gonorrhea can cause severe issues in both men and women, including an increased risk of infertility. Mothers can also pass gonorrhea on to their children during childbirth, which can potentially cause a variety of health problems including eye infections, joint problems, and other issues.

Symptoms in Women

If symptoms appear in women, they can include:

  • Vaginal discharge
  • Bleeding after sex or between periods
  • Burning or painful urination
  • Pelvic or lower back pain
  • Nausea or fever
  • Sore throat
  • Rash
  • Pain during sex
  • Rectal discharge or bleeding

Of these potential symptoms, vaginal discharge (which can be bloody, yellowish, green or watery) and bleeding after sex or between periods are the most common.

Symptoms in Men

If symptoms appear in men, they can include:

  • White, yellow, or green discharge from penis
  • Pain, discomfort, or burning during urination
  • Burning, discomfort, or itching around the penis opening
  • Testicular pain
  • Sore throat
  • Rash
  • Rectal discharge or bleeding

Of these symptoms in men, discharge from the penis and pain or discomfort during urination are the most common.

Symptoms in Men and Women

A sore throat can be a symptom of oral gonorrhea in both men and women. If, after having unprotected oral sex, you experience a sore throat and a strep test comes back negative, you should talk to your doctor about getting tested for gonorrhea.

Both men and women can also experience symptoms of gonorrhea after engaging in anal sexual contact. In addition to rectal discharge, pain or bleeding, gonorrhea can also cause swelling of the rectum, anal itching, and pain during bowel movements. Women who engage in only vaginal sex might spread the infection to their rectum by wiping.

Health Complications

Both men and women can experience a variety of complications of gonorrhea is left untreated. Women can experience infertility, miscarriage, inflammation of the bladder, and pelvic pain. Men with untreated gonorrhea may experience prostate inflammation, infertility, or a scarred urethra.

Because STIs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia attack the mucus lining of sexual organs, these infections also increase the risk of transmitting HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

Back to STD Symptoms

Last updated on May 6th, 2016

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