Gonorrhea is caused by a type of bacteria that thrives in warm, moist areas of the reproductive tract. It also can grow in the mouth, throat, eyes, and anus. Most women who have gonorrhea have no symptoms.

Untreated gonorrhea can lead to serious health problems. Antibiotics are used to cure gonorrhea. But gonorrhea has become more and more resistant to antibiotics, which means the drugs do not work as well or at all. Still, it’s important to get tested and treated by a doctor.

How can you get it?

You can get gonorrhea through contact with an infected vagina, penis, anus, or mouth. It is spread through semen and vaginal fluid during unprotected sexual contact with a person who has it. Touching infected sex organs, and then touching your eyes can cause an eye infection. An infected pregnant woman can pass gonorrhea to her baby during vaginal delivery. You cannot get gonorrhea from shaking hands or sitting on toilet seats.


Most women have no symptoms. When a woman does have symptoms, they most often appear within 10 days of becoming infected. Symptoms can include:
• Pain or burning while passing urine.
• Yellowish and sometimes bloody vaginal discharge.
• Bleeding between periods.
• Pain during sex.
• Heavy bleeding during periods.

NOTE: These signs can be mistaken for a urinary tract infection or another vaginal infection. Gonorrhea that affects the anus might cause discharge, soreness, bleeding, itching, or painful bowel movements. Infections in the throat could cause a sore throat. With eye infection, symptoms may include redness, itching, or discharge from the eye.

How to find out if you have it

Your doctor can tell if you have gonorrhea by testing your urine or by testing a swab sample taken from the infected site, such as the cervix.
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