Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). It is caused by a bacterium that can grow and multiply easily in the warm, moist areas of the reproductive tract. You can find it in the opening of the womb, the womb and egg canals in women and in the urine canal in women and men. The bacterium also grows in the mouth, throat, eyes and anus.


How it is spread Gonorrhoea is spread through contact with the penis, vagina, mouth or anus. The man does not have to ejaculate for gonorrhoea to spread. It can be spread from mother to baby during birth. If you had gonorrhoea and was treated, you may get infected again if you have sexual contact with someone infected with gonorrhoea.

Signs & Symptoms

Some men with gonorrhoea may have no symptoms at all. Symptoms and signs for men include:

  • a burning sensation when urinating
  • a white, yellow or green discharge from the penis
  • painful or swollen testicles.

In women the symptoms are often mild, but most women with gonorrhoea have no symptoms.

The initial symptoms and signs in women include:

  • a painful or burning sensation when urinating
  • increased vaginal discharge
  • vaginal bleeding between periods.

Women with gonorrhoea are at risk of developing serious complications.

Symptoms of rectal infection with gonorrhoea in both men and women may include:

  • discharge
  • anal itching
  • soreness
  • bleeding
  • painful bowel movements.


The best way to avoid any sexually transmitted disease is to abstain from sex or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and is known to be uninfected. Latex condoms, when used correctly and consistently, can reduce the risk of transmission. Any genital symptoms such as discharge or burning during urination or unusual sore or rash should be a sign to stop having sex and see a healthcare practitioner immediately. If you have been diagnosed with gonorrhoea, you should notify all your recent sexual partners so they can see a healthcare practitioner and be treated.


Antibiotics can cure gonorrhoea in adolescents and adults. Drug-resistant strains of gonorrhoea are however increasing in many areas, making it more difficult to treat. People with gonorrhoea should be tested for other sexually transmitted diseases. It is important to take all the medicine prescribed by the healthcare practitioner. Although the medication will stop the infection, it will not repair any permanent damage done by the disease. If your symptoms continue after receiving treatment, you should return to the healthcare practitioner to be re-evaluated.

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