Gonorrhoea - Symptoms 

Symptoms of gonorrhoea 

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Media last reviewed: 21/10/2013

Next review due: 21/10/2015

Gonorrhoea in babies

Gonorrhoea can be passed from a mother to her baby during childbirth. Newborn babies normally show symptoms in their eyes during the first two weeks. The eyes become red and swollen, and have a thick, pus-like discharge.

Gonorrhoea can be treated with antibiotics when you are pregnant or when you are breastfeeding. The antibiotics will not harm your baby.

Symptoms of gonorrhoea usually develop within about 10 days of being infected, although they sometimes may not appear until many months later.

About 1 in 10 infected men and half of infected women will not experience any obvious symptoms, which means the condition can go untreated for some time.

Symptoms in women

In women, symptoms of gonorrhoea can include:

  • an unusual vaginal discharge, which may be thick and green or yellow in colour
  • pain or a burning sensation when passing urine
  • pain or tenderness in the lower abdominal area (this is less common)
  • bleeding between periodsheavier periods and bleeding after sex (this is less common)

Symptoms in men

In men, symptoms of gonorrhoea can include:

  • an unusual discharge from the tip of the penis, which may be white, yellow or green
  • pain or a burning sensation when urinating
  • inflammation (swelling) of the foreskin
  • pain or tenderness in the testicles (this is rare)

Infection in the rectum, throat or eyes

Both men and women can also develop an infection in the rectum, eyes or throat by having unprotected anal or oral sex. If infected semen or vaginal fluid comes into contact with the eyes, you can also develop conjunctivitis.

Infection in the rectum can cause discomfort, pain or discharge. Infection in the eyes can cause irritation, pain, swelling and discharge. Infection in the throat usually causes no symptoms.

Seeking medical advice

It's important to be tested for gonorrhoea if you think there is a chance you are infected, even if you have no obvious symptoms or the symptoms have gone away on their own.

If gonorrhoea is left undiagnosed and untreated, you can continue to spread the infection and there is a risk of potentially serious complications, including infertility.

Read more about testing for gonorrhoea, treating gonorrhoea and the complications of gonorrhoea.

Page last reviewed: 17/10/2013

Next review due: 17/10/2015

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