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What Are the Symptoms of Gonorrhea?

The most common symptoms of gonorrhea include a burning sensation when urinating and discharge from the vagina or penis. If left untreated, gonorrhea can cause serious health complications.

Gonorrhea Symptoms in Women

The symptoms of gonorrhea are typically mild or unnoticeable in women. Sometimes, affected individuals incorrectly assume the signs are due to a bladder or vaginal infection. When symptoms do occur, they might include:

  • Burning sensation when urinating.
  • Pain or difficulty when urinating.
  • Increased or unusual vaginal discharge.
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods.
  • Pain in the pelvis or abdomen.

Most women don’t experience any symptoms when they have gonorrhea. However, serious complications from the infection can still develop even when no signs are present.

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Gonorrhea Symptoms in Men

Symptoms of gonorrhea in men might include:

  • Burning sensation when urinating.
  • Yellow, green, or white discharge from the penis.
  • Pain in the pelvis or abdomen.
  • Painful or swollen testicles (less likely to occur).

Some men don’t have noticeable gonorrhea symptoms. Like women, however, men can still develop health complications even when the infection is asymptomatic.

Other Gonorrhea Symptoms

Although genital gonorrhea infections are most common, this sexually transmitted infection can affect other parts of the body. Signs and symptoms in these areas might include:

  • Rectum/anus: Anal itching, soreness, painful bowel movements, pus-like discharge, or bright red blood on toilet tissue.
  • Throat: Sore throat or swollen glands in the neck.
  • Eyes: Itching, pain, sensitivity to light, or pus-like discharge.

Gonorrhea Complications

Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious and sometimes irreversible health complications. Women might develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) if gonorrhea spreads to the uterus or fallopian tubes. PID can cause chronic pelvic pain, internal abscesses, and other health problems, such as infertility or ectopic pregnancy.

For men, gonorrhea can potentially lead to epididymitis, which occurs when the tube connecting the testicle to the vas deferens (sperm duct) becomes swollen. It can potentially cause infertility.

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