What is gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is an infection caused by caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae (N. gonorrhoeae), which is transmitted sexually. Both males and females are susceptible to gonorrhea, and it most often affects the urethra, rectum, cervix, or throat. It can also be transmitted during childbirth if the mother is infected.

What are the symptoms of gonorrhea?

A gonorrhea infection often causes no symptoms, and you may not know that you have one. The following are the most common symptoms of gonorrhea infections. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently.

Symptoms may include:

  • yellowish or bloody vaginal discharge (females) or yellowish white discharge from the penis (males)
  • painful or burning urination (males and females)
  • swollen or painful testicles (males)
  • vaginal bleeding during intercourse (females)
  • lower abdominal (pelvic) pain during intercourse (females)

The symptoms of a gonorrhea infection may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

How is gonorrhea treated?

Specific treatment will be determined by your physician based on your age, medical history, and preferences. Most strains of this infection can be cured by following the course of medication your physician prescribes. Some strains, however, are becoming drug resistant. If your symptoms persist after 4 days, consult your physician for further treatment.

If left untreated, gonnorhea infections can lead to serious conditions such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which increases a female’s risk of infertility, pelvic adhesions, chronic pelvic pain, and ectopic (tubal) pregnancy. Because of these risks, early treatment of the infection with antibiotics is essential. Treatment of sexual partners is also necessary to prevent reinfection and further spread of the disease.