Common, early gonorrhea symptoms in males typically appear 2-7 days following exposure and infection. In females gonorrhea infection symptoms typically do not appear for weeks or months.
If females do present symptoms they are mild and they typically appear between 7 and 21 days post exposure and infection. Less commonly women do have severe symptoms.
Infection occurs during unprotected sexual activity with an infected partner.
Gonorrhea is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The infection it causes typically localizes at the site of contact and infection, although this might be at several locations depending on the sexual activity.
Less frequently the bacterium can spread through the blood and localize to the joints and skin. In women the bacterium can ascend the genital tract and cause reproductive complications.
- pain in urethra (male)
- pain during urination (male and female)
- pus discharge from penis (male)
- frequent need to urinate (male and female)
- penile opening red and inflamed (male)
- pus discharge from the vagina (female)
- fever (female)
- mild to severe pelvic pain (female)
- pelvic pain during intercourse (female)
- anal infection – inflammation, pain, and discharge from the rectum (male and female)
- oral infection – sore throat and pain while swallowing(male and female)
- eye infection – swelling of eyelids, pus discharge from eye, possible blindness if untreated (male and female)
- joint infection – painful, swollen joints (male and female)
- blood infection – fever, general feeling of illness, red pus filled skin spots (male and female)
- liver infection – upper right abdomen pain (male and female)
Diagnosis is typically made by microscopic examination or culture of discharge or swabs from the infected regions. Blood samples are also regularly taken for additional testing.
Gonorrhea cases have decreased significantly in the past 30 years.
Treatment and cure is effective with antibiotics.