Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted bacterial disease. The bacteria that cause this disease can affect the genital tract, mouth and rectum.
An estimated 650,000 cases of gonorrhea occur each year in the United States.
The early symptoms of gonorrhea are often mild. Symptoms usually appear within two to 10 days after sexual contact with an infected partner. A small number of people may be infected for several months without showing symptoms.
When women have symptoms, the first ones include:
- bleeding associated with vaginal intercourse
- a painful or burning sensation when urinating and/or vaginal discharge that is yellow or bloody.
- more advanced symptoms, which indicate development of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), include cramps, pain, bleeding between menstrual periods, vomiting or fever.
Men have symptoms more often than women. Symptoms include:
- pus from the penis and pain, or
- a burning sensation during urination that may be severe.
- symptoms of rectal infection include discharge, anal itching, and occasional painful bowel movements with fresh blood on the feces.
Health care providers usually prescribe a single dose of one of several antibiotics. However if the infection is complicated, more than one antibiotic and hospitalization may be necessary (put in chlamydia as well). If you have gonorrhea, all of your sexual partners should get tested and then treated if infected, whether or not they have symptoms of infection.
Gonorrhea is spread during sexual intercourse – vaginal, oral, and anal. By using male latex condoms correctly and consistently during vaginal, anal or rectal sexual activity, you can reduce your risk of getting gonorrhea. Other preventative measures are limiting the number of sex partners, practicing sexual abstinence and avoiding sexual contact if you think you are infected.