Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease caused by bacterial infection. This infection can take place inside the urethras, throats, anal canals and eyes of both sexes, and the interior of the uterus and Fallopian tubes of the female. In addition, gonorrhea bacteria can enter into the bloodstream and infect the heart, liver, nervous system, joints and even the skin.
Gonorrhea symptoms vary, depending upon several factors, including where the bacteria was transmitted, how long the infection lasted, and whether the infection was contained or allowed to spread. A burning sensation during urination, and often the frequent need to urinate, is the most common symptom in males, along with a pus-like discharge from the penis. These symptoms normally take anywhere from two days to a week after exposure to the bacteria to begin. Performing oral sex on a partner with gonorrhea can result in infection of the throat. Symptoms include pain and a visible pus-like substance on the back of the throat. Anal sex can result in symptoms that include burning or itching in the anal canal, bleeding discharge, and painful bowel movement. Be aware, however, that in some cases males don’t develop any symptoms.
Symptoms in females are often mistaken for a simple bladder or vaginal infection. Symptoms include vaginal discharge, burning during urination as well as an increased need to urinate, increased bleeding during menstruation, soreness in the anal canal, and a sore throat. Some women who are infected inside the uterus can expect for the infection to spread into the Fallopian tubes in what is known as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). This happens to roughly fifteen percent of women infected inside the mouth of the uterus. Of these, about nine percent will become infertile because permanent damage will have taken place to the Fallopian tubes. Early symptoms in women often tend to be very mild and many women have no apparent symptoms at all.
Detecting gonorrhea cannot be accomplished by either a Pap smear or urinalysis. It takes a specially developed test to detect the bacteria that causes it and properly diagnose symptoms.