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Gonorrhea Testing

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What is Gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria. It can be passed on during sexual intercourse, including oral and anal sex, and is often asymptomatic.

Gonorrhea Transmission

Gonorrhea is caused by a bacterial infection and transmitted through sexual contact. It can also be passed by a pregnant mother to her baby during labor, but this is less common.

Gonorrhea most commonly affects the genitals (which is caused by penetrative sex) but can also be caused by oral sex (where it causes symptoms in the throat) and anal sex (where it affects the rectum).

Gonorrhea Symptoms

Around 90% of people with gonorrhea experience no symptoms at all, particularly women.

Men are more likely to experience symptoms, which is usually a burning sensation in the urethra in the early stages.

Later, men might experience swelling on the testicles and penis around the urethra, as well as pain and a white, yellow or green discharge.

Gonorrhea symptoms women vs men

Gonorrhea in women:

  • Painful urination
  • Creamy, discolored discharge
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Fever
  • Pain during or after sex
  • Sore throat

Gonorrhea in men:

  • Painful urination
  • Creamy, discolored discharge
  • Swollen penis or testicles

If Gonorrhea is left untreated, it can cause more serious damage in both men and women. In women, it can lead to a condition called Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), which can lead to chronic pain, infertility and increased risk of ectopic pregnancy.

In men, untreated gonorrhea can cause pain and inflammation in the testicles, which can eventually lead to infertility.

Gonorrhea Testing

To test for gonorrhea, a doctor or lab technician will collect a swab, blood test or urine sample from the mouth, genitals or both.

The samples will be sent away to a lab, where they will be examined by technicians. Depending on how busy they are, the results can take days or weeks to arrive.

Gonorrhea Treatment

Although the long-term effects can be severe, gonorrhea is relatively easy to treat. A doctor will prescribe antibiotics that will usually be a large dose taken once orally. Alongside this, you might also be prescribed a second antibiotic intravenously.

It is important to go back and take another test a few months after receiving treatment for any STD. This is even more important in the case of gonorrhea, though, because of a new phenomenon called super gonorrhea.

The gonorrhea incubation period is up to 30 days, so it is possible to pass it on to others before showing symptoms yourself.

Super Gonorrhea

In recent years, new strains of gonorrhea have appeared that are more resistant to antibiotics than others. These strains are known colloquially as "super gonorrhea", but the name only refers to its ability to resist antibiotics, not worse symptoms.

The most commonly cited reason for the emergence of drug-resistant strains is our overuse of antibiotics. Antibiotics should be taken as rarely as possible and only when directed by a physician.

Super gonorrhea is the reason for the second antibiotic shot in some treatments, but don't worry if you are given both as it is probably precautionary!

Chlamydia vs. Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is very similar to chlamydia, and you will usually be tested for both at the same time.

Both can lead to PID if left untreated, so should be screened for regularly and in between sexual partners.

Oral Gonorrhea vs. Strep Throat

Oral gonorrhea (gonorrhea in throat) produces some of the same symptoms as strep throat, with the only real difference being the absence of a headache.

Gonorrhea FAQs

Is gonorrhea common?

Gonorrhea is one of the most common STDs, with around 0.1% of Americans being infected at once. There were over 500,000 cases in 2017!

What causes gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

What does gonorrhea look like?

Gonorrhea discharge is one of the first visible symptoms to appear in men and women. In men, swollen penis and testicles might also appear, but women will usually notice no symptoms. Gonorrhea penis is much easier to detect, but still many men don't experience symptoms.

What is gonorrhea rash?

Gonorrhea can very rarely cause a rash, which is sometimes referred to as "gonorrhea rash".

Can you get gonorrhea in your mouth?

Gonorrhea in mouth is called oral gonorrhea ("gonorrhea throat") and has symptoms similar to strep throat. It is passed with kissing and oral sex, so using dental dams might help to prevent it.

Can you get gonorrhea in your eye?

Gonorrhea in eye is caught through indirect sexual contact – such as touching your eye after touching an infected person's genitals. This is also the most common way for babies of infected mothers to experience gonorrhea.

Can you get gonorrhea in your anus?

Anal gonorrhea is gonorrhea that infects the anal area. This is usually caught through oral and anal sex, so using dental dams and condoms might help to prevent it.

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The content offered on Treatable.org is intended for informational purposes only and not as medical advice. For medical advice you should consult an appropriately licensed and qualified medical professional. If you are experiencing acute or distressing symptoms or life threatening symptoms you should immediately call 911 and/or go to the nearest emergency medical facility.

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Last updated: 1/21/2022, 11:45:07 PM