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Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease. It is most common in young adults. The bacteria that cause gonorrhea can infect the genital tract, mouth, or anus. You can get gonorrhea during vaginal, oral, or anal sex with an infected partner. A pregnant woman can pass it to her baby during childbirth.
Gonorrhea does not always cause symptoms. In men, gonorrhea can cause pain when urinating and discharge from the penis. If untreated, it can cause problems with the prostate and testicles.
In women, the early symptoms of gonorrhea often are mild. Later, it can cause bleeding between periods, pain when urinating, and increased discharge from the vagina. If untreated, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which causes problems with pregnancy and infertility.
Your health care provider will diagnose gonorrhea with lab tests. Treatment is with antibiotics. Treating gonorrhea is becoming more difficult because drug-resistant strains are increasing. Correct usage of latex condoms greatly reduces, but does not eliminate, the risk of catching or spreading gonorrhea.
NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
- Gonorrhea Test (American Association for Clinical Chemistry)
- Male Condoms (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Epididymitis (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Antibiotic-Resistant Gonorrhea (ARG) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Statistics and Research
- Antimicrobial (Drug) Resistance: Gonorrhea (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases)
- NCHHSTP Atlas (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Reported STDs in the United States: 2012 National Data for Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, and Syphilis (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases Surveillance, 2012: Gonorrhea (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Gonorrhea (National Institutes of Health)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
Find an Expert
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- Gonorrhea (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - PDF
- Rectal culture Available in Spanish
- Urethral discharge culture Available in Spanish