Frequently Asked Questions about Gonorrhea

What is Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea (pronounced gon-o-RHEE-a) is a sexually transmitted disease, or STD. It is caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterium. It grows in warm, moist areas such as the urethra of both women and men, the female reproductive tract, the mouth, throat, anus, or even in the eyes.

How common is Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is a very common disease. Around 800,000 new infections occur in the United States every year, and many of those infections go unreported. Oftentimes someone will be infected with the disease and have no idea.

How do people get Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is spread through sexual partners sharing contact with the penis, vagina, mouth, or anus. Gonorrhea can be passed from partner to partner without ejaculation.

What are the symptoms of Gonorrhea

Many times Gonorrhea is asymptomatic, or does not have any symptoms at all.

In men, symptoms can include the following:

  • Painful or swollen testicles
  • Burning during urination
  • More frequent urination
  • White, green, or yellow discharge from the tip of the penis

In women, the symptoms are often very mild, and can be mistaken for a more benign bladder or vaginal infection. These symptoms can include:

  • Uncharacteristic vaginal discharge
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Painful intercourse
  • Throwing up
  • Burning or pain during urination
  • Bleeding between periods

If Gonorrhea has infected the rectum, symotoms for both men and women can include:

  • Itching
  • Soreness
  • Bleeding
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Discharge

What happens if Gonorrhea goes untreated?

If Gonorrhea is untreated, it can cause major problems! The disease can eventually cause long-lasting pain and infertility in both men and women. It can cause a condition called disseminated gonococcal infection, or DGI, which can cause both skin sores and arthritis. Gonorrhea can also spread to the blood or joints, which can eventually cause death. If you suspect that you have Gonorrhea, it is very important to take a real STD test!

How is Gonorrhea diagnosed?

Gonorrhea is diagnosed using a simple laboratory test. Depending on the area being tested, different tests will be required. Some tests are performed on urine alone. If the infection is suspected to be in the rectum or throat a sample swab must be collected. A doctor or any general or sexual health clinic can perform this test for you.


Who should be tested for Gonorrhea?

Anybody who is sexually active can be infected with Gonorrhea. If you are experiencing any genital symptoms such as discharge, burning during urination, soreness, pain, or rashes you should stop having sex and schedule to have a test for Gonorrhea and other STDs immediately.If you have had oral, anal, or vaginal sex with a partner who has been recently diagnosed with Gonorrhea or any other STD, you should also schedule to be tested.

If you have recently tested positive for any other sexually transmitted diseases, it is reocmmendad that you be tested for Gonorrohea as well. Gonorrhea is often transmitted alongside chlymidia, and the presence of one may indicate the presence of the other.

It is recommended that if you are sexually active that you should receive regular screenings for Gonorrhea, even if you are not currently experiencing symptoms.

What should I do if I am positive for Gonorrhea?

If a person has been diagnosed and treated for Gonorrhea, he or she should tell all recent sexual partners - anal, vaginal, or oral – from within two months before the onset of symptoms or diagnosis. This will allow them to see a health provider and be treated as well. Ensuring that possibly exposed partners know their risks can spare them from serious complications from Gonorrhea. It can also prevent the first person from being reinfected.

Can I test for Gonorrhea from home?

Yes! You can be tested for Gonorrhea from home using a kit that you receive in the mail. IF you are interested in taking a real test for Gonorrhea from home, please check out our list of home Gonorrhea tests.

Is there a treatment for Gonorrhea?

Yes, Gonorrhea can be treated with several types of antibiotics. You should speak to your healthcare provider for guidance on which antibiotics will work best for you, and whether or not you will require additional testing to detect other STDs. If you have a partner, your partner should also be tested and treated before you have sex again. If not, you can risk reinfection.

If you have been prescribed antibiotics for Gonorrhea, it is very important that you take the entire course of medication. Even if the symptoms go away, the bacterium may still be present inside of your body and will not go away until the course of medication is completed.

It is recommended that you be retested a few months down the road to make sure that the Gonorrhea infection is completely eliminated.