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Gonorrhea Overview

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Gonorrhea is one of the most common diseases passed from one person to another during sexual activity.

  • The overall rate of gonorrhea has decreased to the lowest rate ever recorded, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, gonorrhea is still the second most commonly reported notifiable disease in the United States. The CDC estimates that approximately 700,000 new gonorrheal infections occur yearly in the U.S., only about half of which are reported to the CDC. More than 5% of people between the ages of 18 and 35 have an infection with gonorrhea that they do not know about. New strains are more easily spread and are resisting treatment even with strong antibiotics.
  • Infection with gonorrhea is more common in certain groups of people. The highest reported infection rates occur in the following groups:
    • Adolescents and young adults
    • People (often poor) living in urban areas and Southern states
    • African Americans
    • Drug users
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/5/2015
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The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Gonorrhea:

Gonorrhea - Experience

Please describe your experience with gonorrhea.

Gonorrhea - Treatment

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Gonorrhea - Prevention

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Gonorrhea Symptoms

What Are the Symptoms of Gonorrhea?

Some men with gonorrhea may have no symptoms at all. However, some men have signs or symptoms that appear two to five days after infection; symptoms can take as long as 30 days to appear. Symptoms and signs include a burning sensation when urinating, or a white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis. Sometimes men with gonorrhea get painful or swollen testicles.

In women, the symptoms of gonorrhea are often mild, but most women who are infected have no symptoms. Even when a woman has symptoms, they can be so non-specific as to be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. The initial symptoms and signs in women include a painful or burning sensation when urinating, increased vaginal discharge, or vaginal bleeding between periods. Women with gonorrhea are at risk of developing serious complications from the infection, regardless of the presence or severity of symptoms.

Symptoms of rectal infection in both men and women may include discharge, anal itching, soreness, bleeding, or painful bowel movements. Rectal infection also may cause no symptoms. Infections in the throat may cause a sore throat, but usually causes no symptoms.

SOURCE: Gonorrhea - CDC Fact Sheet.

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