Gonorrhea is a common bacterial sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can be transmitted during oral, vaginal, or anal sex. It’s easily curable with prescription antibiotics, but many people don’t know they have it because signs of infection are often vague or silent. Without proper treatment, gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent damage, which can affect your ability to have a child.
Untreated gonorrhea can lead to infertility in both men and women and make you more susceptible to contracting additional STDs. Gonorrhea is an STD that is easily cured with antibiotics. Order quick and confidential testing today.Put Your Mind at Ease Today
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Gonorrhea often doesn’t have symptoms, so many people don’t know they or their sexual partner(s) are infected. In fact, 10-15% of men and about 80% of women with gonorrhea show no symptoms.1 Even when symptoms do occur, they can be so mild that they’re easily overlooked or confused with other infections, which is why getting tested is important.
When symptoms appear, for men, they usually begin 2-7 days after infection. However, it can take as long as 30 days for symptoms to begin. For women, when signs are present, they typically appear within 2-10 days of infection but can take several months to begin.2
Most women don’t show symptoms of gonorrhea. When symptoms do appear, the signs are often mild and can be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection.
Gonorrhea symptoms in women can include:
Some men with gonorrhea have no symptoms. When symptoms do occur, men can experience slightly different symptoms compared to women.
Gonorrhea symptoms in men can include:
In both men and women, gonorrhea can affect the throat if you have oral sex, and the rectum if you have anal sex with an infected sex partner. Often, these conditions don’t show symptoms.
More rarely, gonorrhea can cause an eye infection if infected bodily fluid enters the eye. This can happen through direct contact with the fluid or if you rub your eyes after touching infected fluid.
Signs of gonorrhea in the throat can include:
Signs of anal gonorrhea can include:
Signs of gonorrhea in the eye can include:
If you think you were exposed to or are experiencing symptoms of gonorrhea, visit your doctor or get tested quickly at a local testing center.
Although gonorrhea is common and often asymptomatic, untreated gonorrhea can lead to serious, sometimes permanent health complications. Due to inflammation, an active gonorrhea infection can also increase the likelihood of contracting HIV.3
Untreated gonorrhea in females can spread into the uterus or fallopian tubes and lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can cause chronic pelvic/abdominal pain, dangerous ectopic pregnancies (pregnancy where the embryo attaches outside the uterus), and infertility.4
If a pregnant woman has gonorrhea, she can pass the infection to her baby through the birth canal during delivery. If this happens, the baby can suffer blindness, joint infection, or even a life-threatening blood infection. To reduce the risk of health complications for your baby, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends women who are at risk get tested starting early in their pregnancy.5
Untreated gonorrhea in males can cause epididymitis (inflammation of the epididymis, which stores and carries sperm), which can lead to sterility.6
In rare cases (about 0.5-3% of infected patients), gonorrhea can spread to other areas of the body, including blood, skin, heart or joints. This potentially fatal condition is called disseminated gonococcal infection (DGI) or gonococcal arthritis, and it can develop within two weeks after being infected with gonorrhea.7 It can cause fever, rash, skin sores, joint pain, swelling, and stiffness.
Quick diagnosis and treatment of gonorrhea are key to preventing serious health complications. If you feel embarrassed or alone, know that gonorrhea is common and easily curable. Getting regularly tested for gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted infections helps people who are sexually active know and protect their sexual health.
Medically Reviewed by J. Frank Martin JR., MD on February 3, 2020Written by Taysha on January 20, 2020
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