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Gonorrhea Symptoms

Gonorrhea symptoms in women

In women, gonorrhea symptoms are usually undetectable, extremely mild or often confused for other conditions. If left untreated, gonorrhea can spread into the uterus or Fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID might lead to infertility and an increased risk of ectopic (or tubal) pregnancy. Consider gonorrhea testing as part of your routine STD testing, especially if you are pregnant or at risk of contracting an STD.

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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.

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Gonorrhea symptoms in men

About 50 percent of men with gonorrhea do not experience any symptoms at all. If symptoms do present themselves, it is often in the form of painful urination or a yellow or green tinted white discharge from the penis. Less common symptoms include itching or burning around the urethra. Other symptoms are often mild and unnoticeable. An untreated gonorrhea infection can lead to serious complications like intense testicular or scrotal pain (epididymitis).

How long do gonorrhea symptoms take to appear?

Although some people do not experience any gonorrhea symptoms, they may appear 10 days after being exposed to the gonorrhea bacterium. Typically gonorrhea symptoms can be mild or confused with a long-lasting flu. In some cases, symptoms may be severe and lead to serious complications such as PID for women and epididymitis for men.

Gonorrhea and health complications

Some health complications, like pelvic inflammatory disease for women, are not symptomatic of gonorrhea, but are a serious health complication. You should seek medical attention if you feel sick, have a fever or pelvic pain, or experience pain during sex.

Untreated gonorrhea can lead to Disseminated Gonococcal Infection (DGI)

There are many reasons to treat gonorrhea infection including the risk of DGI. Also known as gonococcal arthritis, DGI is caused by the spread of gonorrhea to the body, including the blood, skin, heart, or joints. This rare condition occurs in only 1 out of 100 people infected with gonorrhea, but DGI can be deadly. DGI can develop as soon as 2-14 days after you are infected with gonorrhea. Symptoms usually include chills, fever, joint pain or swelling, painful wrist and heel tendons, skin rash, and symptoms of meningitis (such as headaches, stiff and painful neck, vomiting, confusion and seizures). Our doctors recommend seeking medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms in order to avoid any serious or deadly complications.

Gonorrhea Symptoms in Men

Most Common
  • Silent or no symptoms (50% of the time men do not show signs)
  • Yellow-white, or green-white discharge from the penis
  • Painful, frequent urination
  • Rectal pain, discharge, or bleeding
  • Inflamed eye
Less Common
  • Testicular or scrotal pain
  • Burning and itching around the opening of the penis
  • Sore throat

Gonorrhea Symptoms in Women

Most Common
  • Silent or no symptoms
Less Common
  • Unusual, increased bloody yellowish or watery green vaginal discharge
  • Painful urination
  • Rectal pain, discharge, or bleeding
  • Inflamed eye
Least Common
  • Sore throat
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Lower back pain
  • Low stomach aches
  • Bleeding between periods
  1. "Women's Health Care Physicians." ACOG. https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Ectopic-Pregnancy?IsMobileSet=false
  2. "Detailed STD Facts - Gonorrhea." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/std/gonorrhea/stdfact-gonorrhea-detailed.htm
  3. "Gonococcal Infections - 2015 STD Treatment Guidelines." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015/gonorrhea.htm
  4. "Gonorrhea." Gonorrhea | Michigan Medicine. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw188975

Medically Reviewed by on Jun 18, 2019

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