Some people do not have symptoms of gonorrhea, and others have mild symptoms. Symptoms of gonorrhea may also come and go, but gonorrhea itself will not go away on its own. Untreated gonorrhea can lead to serious complications, so it is important to receive treatment. Treatment for gonorrhea involves a one-time antibiotic injection of ceftriaxone administered into the muscle.
Sexual partners of patients with gonorrhea should also get treated because re-infection with gonorrhea is common. Patients should be retested for gonorrhea three months after treatment of the initial infection. Patients should avoid sex until both the patient and partner have been treated.
What Are Symptoms of Gonorrhea?
Many people have no symptoms of gonorrhea, especially women. Because of this, people often do not know they have gonorrhea, so it is important to see a doctor for diagnosis at the first sign of infection.
Symptoms of gonorrhea in both males and females include:
- If the urethra is infected:
- Pain or burning during urination
- If the rectum is infected:
- If the throat or mouth is infected:
- Usually causes no symptoms
- May cause sore throat
Symptoms of gonorrhea in males include:
- Milky, yellow, or green discharge from the penis
- Pain and swelling in one testicle (less common)
Symptoms of gonorrhea in females include:
What Causes Gonorrhea?
- The Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria causes gonorrhea. The bacteria are spread from person to person during vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
- Pregnant women who have gonorrhea can pass the infection to their babies during childbirth.
- The risk of getting gonorrhea is increased in people who have a new sexual partner, more than one sexual partner, or who have other sexually transmitted infections.
How Is Gonorrhea Diagnosed?
Gonorrhea is diagnosed with:
- A swab of the vagina or cervix (in women)
- A urine sample (in men)
- A swab of the mouth or rectum
What Are Complications of Gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea does not go away on its own. Untreated gonorrhea can result in serious complications, such as:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women
- Epididymitis in men, which can lead to infertility
- Bloodstream infection, accompanied by joint infection and arthritis
- Higher risk of infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- During pregnancy
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