Gonorrhea – Symptoms in Men & Women

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GonorrheaGonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease that is very common, and this sexually transmitted infection is sometimes referred as “the clap” or “the drip”.

The disease affects many people around the world and can be found in almost every country. There are a number of STD symptoms which indicate this infection may be present.

If you have this STD it is very important to get treated as soon as possible. Any recent sexual partners should also be informed so that they can be tested for this disease as well.

What Is Gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is a disease caused by the Neisseria gonorrhea bacteria. This bacteria thrives in body areas which are warm and moist, and this includes the reproductive tract of both men and women. In addition this disease can be present in your anus, mouth, and other areas of the body including your eyes and throat.

Over 700,000 people in the United States alone will be infected by Gonorrhea every year, and globally this number is much higher. The number of cases reported to authorities is less than half of all the new cases diagnosed across the United States each year.

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How Is Gonorrhea Transmitted?

The transmission of gonorrhea can occur through sexual activity and through childbirth. The disease cannot be transmitted any other way, unlike some other sexually transmitted diseases. You can catch this bacterial infection by having vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who is already infected and has not been treated. Any contact with the sexual organs of an infected person places you at risk for contracting gonorrhea. If you are pregnant and have this bacterial infection present during labor and delivery then your baby can be infected at birth if special steps are not taken.

The groups who are at the highest risk for this STD are teenagers between, young adults between 15 to 24 years of age, and certain racial groups including African Americans. These individuals tend to engage in unprotected sexual activity more frequently, and tend to become infected with this type of bacteria more often.

How Do You Know If You Have Gonorrhea?

There are a number of symptoms that may be seen in individuals who are infected however there are also many individuals who are infected with gonorrhea that may show no symptoms at all. If you are sexually active, it is always recommended to go for regular STD test. Gonorrhea symptoms if present, may be different from those experienced by men and women because the reproductive tract is not the same in both sexes.

Symptoms may typically develop within 2 to 10 days of sexual contact with an infected partner.

Gonorrhea Symptoms in Men

The symptoms in men who have been infected with the Neisseria gonorrhea bacteria may include:

  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Penile discharge that is unusual in color and may appear thick or cloudy
  • Testicles that are painful or swollen up

Gonorrhea Symptoms in Women

About 50% of women who have contracted gonorrhea may experience no symptoms at all. The rest may exhibit one or more of the following symptoms:


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  • Painful sensation during urination
  • An unusual or excessive vaginal discharge
  • Abdominal pain
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding not caused by the menstrual cycle
  • Spotting between menstrual periods or after intercourse

If gonorrhea is contracted through anal sex, both men and women will experience symptoms such as rectal pain, itching or bleeding. Gonorrhea can also be contracted during oral sex but may produce no symptoms or may be experienced as a sore throat.

Gonorrhea Testing and Diagnosis

Before a diagnosis of gonorrhea can be made you must undergo a test to determine if the Neisseria gonorrhea bacteria is present, and is causing the symptoms you are experiencing. A culture is taken by your doctor from the location where the infection is suspected, and this culture is then sent to a lab to be tested so the infectious agent can be identified.

A test using a Gram stain can show the bacteria responsible under a microscope. A urine test may also show that this bacteria is present if the cervix or urethra is infected. A diagnosis for this STD will not be made until the Neisseria gonorrhea bacteria is positively identified in the sample sent to the lab.

How Is Gonorrhea Treated?

If you have been diagnosed with this bacterial infection then treatment will usually consist of antibiotics given orally or by injection which will help resolve the infection within 2 weeks. There are gonorrhea bacterial strains which have become antibiotic resistant in many areas around the globe, and this can make treatment more difficult.

The best treatment for Gonorrhea is the use of two different antibiotics: a single dose injection of ceftriaxone or a single oral dose of cefixime, to ensure that any resistance of the bacteria does not prevent the treatment from being effective. This method is called dual therapy, and ensures that the bacteria is killed off completely even if it is a drug resistant strain.

If you are being treated for gonorrhea it is critical that you take your medications exactly as directed, and that you continue with the full course of treatment. This will prevent any further drug resistance and allow the treatment to work. Antibiotics will not reverse any damage that the bacteria has caused in your body but these drugs will eliminate the infection responsible.

What If Gonorrhea is Not Treated?

If a gonorrhea infection is not completely treated there are a number of complications that can occur. Complications can include:

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease in women
  • Infertility in both sexes
  • An increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage and premature delivery for women
  • Epididymitis in men, an inflammation of the testicles that can result in infertility
  • An increased risk of contracting and transmitting HIV
  • Bacterial infections in the joints ad blood
  • Infection of a newborn who may develop gonococcal ophthalmia if the mother is not treated before labor and delivery occurs

Can Gonorrhea Be Cured?

Is gonorrhea curable? Yes. A course of the right antibiotics can completely cure the infection caused by the bacteria responsible. If this infection is left untreated for any length of time the bacteria can cause permanent damage in the body though, and this damage cannot be reversed in many cases even with medical treatment.

If you have gonorrhea and receive antibiotics, you will be cured of this infection however you still can catch the STD again if you have sexual contact with someone who is currently infected though. It is easier to prevent transmission with the use of condom, stay in a monogamous relationship as well as get screened regularly for STIs.

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