Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can infect both men and women.
- It can cause infections in the genitals, rectum, and throat. It is a very common infection, especially among young people ages 15-24 years.
- You can get gonorrhea by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has gonorrhea.
- The only way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting gonorrhea:
- Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results
- Using condoms the right way every time you have sex.
- If you are sexually active, have an honest and open talk with your health care provider and ask whether you should be tested for gonorrhea or other STDs.
- If you are a sexually active man who is gay, bisexual, or who has sex with men, you should be tested for gonorrhea every year.
- If you are a sexually active women younger than 25 years or an older women with risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners, or a sex partner who has a sexually transmitted infection, you should be tested for gonorrhea every year.
Some men with gonorrhea may have no symptoms at all. However, men who do have symptoms, may have:
- A burning sensation when urinating
- A white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis
- Painful or swollen testicles (although this is less common).
Most women with gonorrhea do not have any symptoms. Even when a woman has symptoms, they are often mild and can be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. Women with gonorrhea are at risk of developing serious complications from the infection, even if they don't have any symptoms.
Symptoms in women can include:
- Painful or burning sensation when urinating
- Increased vaginal discharge;
- Vaginal bleeding between periods.
- You should be examined by your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms or if your partner has an STD or symptoms of an STD, such as an unusual sore, a smelly discharge, burning when urinating, or bleeding between periods.
- Most of the time, urine can be used to test for gonorrhea. However, if you have had oral and/or anal sex, swabs may be used to collect samples from your throat and/or rectum. In some cases, a swab may be used to collect a sample from a man's urethra (urine canal) or a woman's cervix (opening to the womb).
- Gonorrhea can be cured with the right treatment. It is important that you take all of the medication your doctor prescribes to cure your infection. Medication for gonorrhea should not be shared with anyone. Although medication will stop the infection, it will not undo any permanent damage caused by the disease.
For more information about Gonorrhea, click here.