Learn about gonorrhea.



(curable with medication)

What is Gonorrhea?

A treatable bacterial infection of the penis, vagina or anus that causes pain, or burning feeling as well as a pus-like discharge. Also known as “the clap” or “the drip.”

The bacteria that causes Gonorrhea grows and multiplies quickly in moist, warm areas of the body such as the cervix, urethra, mouth, or rectum. It can infect the genital tract, the mouth, and the rectum. In women, the opening (cervix) to the womb (uterus) from the birth canal is the first place of infection. The disease however can spread into the womb and fallopian tubes, resulting in pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

Gonorrhea is the most common reportable infectious disease in the United States. There are an estimated 1. 5 million cases annually in the United States

If left untreated, gonorrhea can lead to fever, chills, and painful swelling of the genitals and prostate in men. In women, the gonorrhea infection can spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes, resulting in sterility, ectopic pregnancy, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Infected pregnant women will pass the disease on to their newborn babies, with the disease affecting the infant’s eyes. In both sexes, extreme untreated infections can enter the bloodstream and affect the joints, heart and brain.

How is Gonorrhea Transmitted?

Gonorrhea is transmitted through sexual intercourse; vaginal, oral or anal. People who practice anal intercourse can get gonorrhea of the rectum. Even women who do not engage in anal intercourse can get gonorrhea of the rectum if the bacteria are spread from the vaginal area.

The bacterium neisseria gonorrhoeae enters the body and multiplies very quickly in the warm, moist mucous membranes of the urethra, cervix, rectum, mouth, throat or sometimes the eyes.

What are the Symptoms of Gonorrhea?

The initial symptoms in women include a painful or burning sensation when urinating or an abnormal vaginal discharge. Men usually have a discharge from the penis and a burning sensation during urination that may be severe. Symptoms of rectal infection include discharge, anal itching, and sometimes painful bowel movements. The early symptoms of gonorrhea often are mild, and most women who are infected have no symptoms of the disease. If symptoms of gonorrhea develop, they usually appear within 2 to 10 days after sexual contact with an infected partner. A small percentage of patients may be infected for several months without showing symptoms.

How does Gonorrhea affect pregnant women?

Infected women can pass gonorrhea to their newborn baby during delivery. If a baby catches gonorrhea during childbirth, they might have eye infections. When the infection occurs in the genital tract, mouth, or rectum of a child, it is due most commonly to sexual abuse.

Is Gonorrhea Curable?

Yes. Your doctor can prescribe antibiotics that will cure the infection.

Gonorrhea Statistics

* Nearly 750,000 cases of gonorrhea are reported annually in the United States.
* Another 750,000 unreported cases, mostly among teenagers and young adults, are believed to occur each year


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