Symptoms and Signs of Gonorrhea

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 9/10/2021

Doctor's Notes on Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted infection caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria. Gonorrhea infection is transmitted from one person to another through vaginal, oral, or anal sexual contact. In addition, an infected mother may transmit gonorrhea to her newborn during vaginal childbirth.

Symptoms of gonorrhea infection may be different in women and men. Many women will have no symptoms. When symptoms of gonorrhea do appear in women, they may include

Symptoms of gonorrhea in men may include

  • pain or burning during urination,
  • thick and yellow penile discharge,
  • inflammation and tenderness of a duct in the testicles, and
  • inflammation and pain in the prostate gland.

In newborns, symptoms of gonorrhea include

  • irritation of the mucous membranes in the eyes.
  • Symptoms of oral and rectal gonorrhea may include sore throat or rectal pain or discharge.

What Is the Treatment for Gonorrhea?

Treatment for gonorrhea involves a one-time dose of an antibiotic called ceftriaxone injected into the muscle.

Because of increasing resistance of many tested samples of N. gonorrhoeae to the fluoroquinolone antibiotics, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now recommends that only one class of antibiotics, the cephalosporins, be used to treat gonorrheal infections.

If there is an allergy to ceftriaxone, alternate possible treatments may include:

Sexual partners should also receive treatment for gonorrhea because re-infection is common, and patients should be retested for gonorrhea three months after treatment of the initial infection. Unprotected sex should be avoided until both the patient and partner have been treated.

Must Read Articles:


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.