Do I Have Gonorrhea?

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Question: What Are The Symptoms of Gonorrhea?

Answer: The symptoms of gonorrhea vary a lot from person to person and between men and women. Common symptoms include:



  • yellow, white, or green urethral discharge
  • burning on urination
  • pain and swelling of the testicles
  • some cases have no symptoms, but asymptomatic cases are less common than in women.

    Both (rectal infection):

    • rectal pain
    • rectal discharge
    • rectal bleeding
    • painful bowel movements

    Both (throat infection):

    • sore throat

    Gonnorhea is a relatively common bacterial STD, which used to be known colloquially as "the clap," due to an ineffective method of treating it in men. It can be transmitted during oral, vaginal, or anal sex, and it can infect any of these areas.

    Although theoretically straightforward to treat, the growing number of cases of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea mean that treatment is becoming more and more difficult. Using the wrong antibiotic, or the right antibiotic the wrong way, can leave someone still infected -- with bacteria that will be even harder to get rid of on the second attempt.

    Non-genital cases of gonorrhea are more difficult to treat than genital cases, and oral and rectal gonorrhea may also be more difficult to detect. Neither oral or anal STD testing is a standard part of doctors visits, which is why it's important to tell you doctor both if you have regular anal or oral sex and if you have any unusual rectal or oral symptoms.

    Without open and honest discussion, it's easy for such infections to go undetected for very long periods of time.

    A Note on Asymptomatic Infections

    The vast majority of gonorrhea infections in women are asymptomatic, in other words, women with gonorrhea often have no idea they are infected. This is one reason why regular STD screening is so important.

    If people wait for symptoms to appear, the infections can be hanging around for a long period of time before detection, which is a longer window in which they can cause long-term fertility damage or spread to others.  Asymptomatic gonorrhea infection can occur in men as well, although they are much less common.

    Learn more about the symptoms of other STDs here.

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