Gonorrhea causes, symptoms, and treatment
Updated: Mar 17
What is gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is a curable bacterial infection. If it is not treated, it can cause infertility in women.
Gonorrhea can infect the cervix (neck of the womb), urethra (the tube through which you pass urine), rectum (back passage), pharynx (throat), and sometimes the eyes.
How do you get infected with gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is passed from one person to another through:
> unprotected sex (oral, vaginal, anal)
> rimming (mouth to anus contact)
> using unwashed sex toys
> mother-to-baby during delivery
You cannot catch gonorrhea by:
> swimming pools or saunas
> toilet seats
> sharing cutlery or towels
What symptoms would I have?
> discharge from the tip of the penis
> burning pain when passing urine
> 1 in 10 men have no symptoms
> bowel symptoms such as diarrhea, pain, mucus
discharge or bleeding from the back passage
> pain and swelling in one or both testicles
> 7 in 10 women have no symptoms
How can I be tested?
The type of test will depend on your symptoms and where the infection may be present.
For men, a urine sample and sometimes a swab from the penis is taken.
For women, a swab is taken from the vagina.
Sometimes a swab will be taken from the throat or rectum (back passage).
Can gonorrhea be treated?
Yes. Gonorrhea is treated with antibiotics prescribed by a doctor. You can use the Byon8 app to consult a doctor privately.
Your partner should also be tested and treated.
When can I have sex again?
We recommend that you don’t have sex (even oral sex or sex with a condom) until 2 weeks after you have finished the treatment and you have repeated the test to confirm that you have cleared the infection.
Your partner should be tested and treated too. If you have sex with your partner before they are tested and treated, you may become infected again.
How can I prevent myself from getting gonorrhea again?
Use condoms every time you have sex. If you have a new partner, it is a good idea for both of you to have a sexual health check-up before any unprotected sex.
Unemo, M., Golparian, D., & Eyre, D. W. (2019). Antimicrobial Resistance in Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Treatment of Gonorrhea. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 1997, 37–58. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-9496-0_3
Integrated approach to the prevention and treatment of sexually. https://www.euro.who.int