Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Clap; The drip
Gonorrhea is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Any type of sex can spread gonorrhea. You can get it through contact with the mouth, throat, eyes, urethra, vagina, penis, or anus.
Over one million cases occur in the United States each year.
The bacteria grow in warm, moist areas of the body. This can include the tube that carries urine out of the body (urethra). In women, the bacteria may be found in the reproductive tract (which includes the fallopian tubes, uterus, and cervix). The bacteria can also grow in the eyes.
Health care providers are required by law to tell the State Board of Health about all cases of gonorrhea. The goal of this law is make sure the person gets proper follow-up care and treatment. Sexual partners also need to be found and tested.
You are more likely to develop this infection if:
Symptoms of gonorrhea most often appear 2 to 5 days after infection. However, it may take up to a month for symptoms to appear in men.
Some people do not have symptoms. They may not know that they have caught the infection, so do not seek treatment. This increases the risk of complications and the chances of passing the infection on to another person.
Symptoms in men include:
Symptoms in women can be very mild. They can be mistaken for another type of infection. They include:
If the infection spreads to the bloodstream, symptoms include:
A number of different antibiotics may be used for treating this type of infection.
About one half of the women with gonorrhea are also infected with chlamydia. Chlamydia is treated at the same time as a gonorrhea infection.
You will need a follow-up visit 7 days after if your symptoms include joint pain, skin rash, or more severe pelvic or abdomen pain. Tests will be done to make sure the infection is gone.
Sexual partners must be tested and treated to prevent passing the infection back and forth. You and your partner must finish all of the antibiotics. Use condoms until you both have finished taking your antibiotics. If you've contracted gonorrhea or chlamydia, you are less likely to contract either disease again if you always use condoms.
All sexual contacts of the person with gonorrhea should be contacted and tested. This helps prevent further spread of the infection.
Jeffrey Klausner is an Infectious Disease doctor in Los Angeles, California. Dr. Klausner has been practicing medicine for over 31 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Gonorrhea. He is also highly rated in 17 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Trichomoniasis, and Syphilis. He is licensed to treat patients in California.
Lindley Barbee is an Infectious Disease doctor in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Barbee has been practicing medicine for over 14 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Gonorrhea. She is also highly rated in 5 other conditions, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Urethritis, and HIV/AIDS. She is licensed to treat patients in Washington. Dr. Barbee is currently accepting new patients.
Magnus Unemo is in Oerebro, Sweden. Unemo is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Gonorrhea. He is also highly rated in 11 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Cervicitis, and Trichomoniasis.
A gonorrhea infection that has not spread can almost always be cured with antibiotics. Gonorrhea that has spread is a more serious infection. Most of the time, it gets better with treatment.
Complications in women may include:
Complications in men may include:
Complications in both men and women may include:
Call your provider right away if you have symptoms of gonorrhea. Most state-sponsored clinics will diagnose and treat STIs without charge.
Avoiding sexual contact is the only sure way to prevent gonorrhea. If you and your partner do not have sex with any other people, this can greatly reduce your chance also.
Safe sex means taking steps before and during sex that can prevent you from getting an infection, or from giving one to your partner. Safe sex practices include screening for STIs in all sexual partners, using condoms consistently, having fewer sexual contacts.
Ask your provider if you should receive the hepatitis B vaccine-link and the HPV vaccine-link. You may also want to consider the HPV vaccine.
Published Date : April 14, 2021
Published By : John D. Jacobson, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Editorial update 12/06/2021.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Sexual transmitted infections prevalence, incidence, and cost estimates in the United States. www.cdc.gov/std/statistics/prevalence-2020-at-a-glance.htm. Updated January 25, 2021. Accessed August 12, 2021.
Dinulos JGH. Sexually transmitted bacterial infections. In: Dinulos JGH, ed. Habif's Clinical Dermatology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 10.
Embree JE. Gonococcal infections. In: Wilson CB, Nizet V, Maldonado YA, Remington JS, Klein JO, eds. Remington and Klein's Infectious Diseases of the Fetus and Newborn Infant. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 15.
LeFevre ML; U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for Chlamydia and gonorrhea: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation statement. Ann Intern Med. 2014;161(12):902-910. PMID: 25243785 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25243785/.
Marrazzo JM, Apicella MA. Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Gonorrhea). In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 212.
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force website. Final recommendation statement: chlamydia and gonorrhea:screening. www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/document/RecommendationStatementFinal/chlamydia-and-gonorrhea-screening. Updated September 14, 2021. Accessed December 06, 2021.
Workowski KA, Bolan GA; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines, 2015. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2015;64(RR-03):1-137. PMID: 26042815 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26042815/.