Reviewed by Ruthann Cunningham, MD, June 2, 2017

What is gonorrhea?

It's caused by bacteria and can be passed from person to person during vaginal, oral and anal sex. The CDC estimates that there are about 700,000 new gonorrhea infections each year in the U.S.

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What are the symptoms of gonorrhea?

For men and most women, gonorrhea can be silent, meaning the it does not present any symptoms. Gonorrhea symptoms in men can show up a few days after being infected. Symptoms of gonorrhea in men include unusual discharge from the penis, itching, and painful urination. Symptoms of gonorrhea in women can be absent or mild. Gonorrhea symptoms in women can include painful urination, fever, unusual vaginal discharge, bleeding between periods, vomiting, and belly pain.

How do you get gonorrhea?

Vagina, anal, and oral sex. It can be passed along even if the penis or tongue doesn't fully enter the vagina or anus. Not having sex is the only way to be 100% safe from STDs. If you are sexually active, condom use every time for oral, vaginal, and anal sex is your best bet for staying healthy.

How do I get tested for gonorrhea?

The test for gonorrhea is a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), a urine test. This test is highly recommended by the CDC for its accuracy. There's no swabbing required, only a urine test.

What should I know about the gonorrhea test?

The test for gonorrhea is a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT). This urine test is also used to screen for chlamydia. To prepare, we ask that you do not urinate an hour before the test. Chlamydia and gonorrhea tests are run together at the lab. If you are risk for one, you might be at risk for the other, which is why it’s important to test for both at the same time.

After viewing your results, you can follow up with our medical team about any questions you might have. If medically appropriate and if permitted by state law, one of our doctors can prescribe treatment.

Is there a cure for gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is curable with the right antibiotics. If you test positive our doctors will discuss treatment recommendations with you. It's important that your partners get tested.

What if I don't get treated for gonorrhea?

An untreated gonorrhea infection makes individuals more susceptible to HIV and some other STDs, if exposed. For men, untreated gonorrhea may lead to a painful infection of the testicles, inflammation of the prostate, urethral scarring, and infertility. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is a more common result in women if gonorrhea is not treated. Untreated PID can lead to potentially dangerous tubal pregnancy and can also lead to infertility.

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