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Gonorrhoea is an especially common sexually transmitted infection. Gonorrhoea is a bacterial infection that infects the genitalia, rectum, mouth, throat or eyes. Symptoms include discharge from the genitalia, painful urination, pain in the abdominal region, and testicular pain.

Testing for Gonorrhoea is simple and involves using PCR technology to locate the presence of the bacteria. The good news is that Gonorrhoea is curable and is usually treated with an injectable dose of antibiotics. However, if left untreated, Gonorrhoea may lead to further complications.

It is important to get tested regularly, especially if you are showing symptoms or if you are concerned about your sexual health.


What are the symptoms of Gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea symptoms in men

  • Pus-like discharge from the urethra
  • Burning or pain when urinating
  • Discoloration or swelling at the penis opening
  • Painful or swollen testicles
  • ‘Wetness’ at the penile tip
  • Less commonly, red spots on the glans (head) of penis
  • Mucoid, slimy, or blood-stained discharge from the back passage, as well as anorectal discomfort (for those who have anal sex)

Gonorrhoea symptoms in women

  • Increased or unusual vaginal discharge
  • Burning or pain when urinating
  • Bleeding between periods, or spotting
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Painful sex
  • Bleeding after sex (post-coital bleeding)
  • Mucoid, slimy, or blood-stained discharge from the back passage, as well as anorectal discomfort (for those who have anal sex)

If Gonorrhoea is present in the throat, you may experience a sore throat. Furthermore, it is possible for Gonorrhoea to disseminate into the skin and joints.

Can you have Gonorrhoea without any symptoms?

It is possible to have Gonorrhoea without experiencing any symptoms. Despite this, you are still able to transmit the infection.

It is especially common for women with Gonorrhoea to experience mild or no symptoms.

Symptoms can be vague and non-specific, and a correct diagnosis can be easy to miss in the absence of appropriate tests.

What complications can Gonorrhoea lead to if left untreated?

Gonorrhoea complications in men

  • Epididymitis
  • Infertility (For women as well due to untreated PID)

Gonorrhoea complications in women

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Gonorrhoea complications in men & women

  • Disseminated Gonococcal Infection (DGI) (For men and women).
  • Although rare, Gonorrhoea can also cause SARA (Sexually Acquired Reactive Arthritis). This causes pain and inflammation of the joints and tendons, and can also cause inflammation of the eyes, as well as skin lesions. SARA can occur weeks or months after Gonorrhoea has been treated.

What is the long term prognosis for someone who has Gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea can be easily treated and cured using a singular dose of injectable antibiotics. It is unlikely that you will be left with any long term complications if you get treated as soon as possible following a positive Gonorrhoea test result.


How can I get Gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea is transmitted through genital, oral or rectal sexual contact with an infected partner.

You cannot get Gonorrhoea through kissing and hugging, sharing showers or towels, swimming pools, toilet seats or cutlery.

What factors can increase the likelihood of getting Gonorrhoea?

  • Having unprotected vaginal, oral and anal sex.
  • Having unprotected sex with multiple partners.
  • Very close contact with partners’ genitals.
  • Not attending regular testing following unprotected sex.
  • Sharing unwashed and unprotected sex toys.
  • Getting infected semen or vaginal fluid in your eyes.
  • Passed on from an infected mother during childbirth.
  • Having Gonorrhoea previously.

Can I get Gonorrhoea even if I wear a condom?

Condoms are up to 98% effective at preventing transmission if they are used correctly. However, some creams and vaginal pessaries, such as thrush treatment can make condoms less effective.

It is important to get tested if you have been exposed to Gonorrhoea or any other STI.

Can you tell who gave me Gonorrhoea?

It is not possible to tell who gave you Gonorrhoea.

You may be able to work this out based on your sexual history, but we are not able to provide you with a definitive answer.

How can I prevent getting Gonorrhoea?

Transmission can be avoided by the following measures:

  • Using a condom or femidom during vaginal, oral, and anal sex.
  • Avoid sharing sex toys which have not been cleaned properly, or do not have a condom on them.
  • Avoid having sex with a partner if they have been treated for Gonorrhoea less than 7 days ago.
  • Getting tested before engaging in sexual contact with any new partners.

Next Steps 

In Clinic Care

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Online Care

Same Day Telephone / Video Consultation