Gonorrhea, a highly contagious sexually
transmitted disease (STD).
Gonorrhea, sometimes referred to as the clap,
often is characterized by thick discharges from your
penis or vagina. But many people experience no
The bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae,
also referred to as gonococcus, causes gonorrhea.
The disease spreads through unprotected sexual
contact, heterosexual or homosexual, with an
infected partner. The more sexual partners you have,
the greater your risk. An infected woman also can
pass gonorrhea to her newborn infant during
delivery. Casual contact doesn't spread the disease.
The incidence of gonorrhea is higher in adult
women than in adult men and much higher in girls
ages 10 to 14 than in boys of the same age.
of the testicles.
In men, inflammation of the testicles (epididymitis) is an acute
condition treatable with antibiotics and pain relievers. If
untreated, it may lead to infertility.
In women, the bacteria can spread into the uterus and fallopian
tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which may result
in scarring of the tubes, greater risk of ectopic pregnancy and
infertility. PID may lead to abdominal pain, backache, irregular
menstrual periods, pain during intercourse and foul-smelling vaginal
discharge. PID is a serious infection that requires immediate
treatment by a doctor. Between 10 percent and 40 percent of women
infected with gonorrhea develop PID.
In both sexes, anorectal gonorrhea may result from anal intercourse
with an infected person or from the infection spreading from the
genital area. It may cause some discomfort in and discharge from the
anal area, but in many cases no signs or symptoms are present.
your throat and tonsils.
Oral sex can lead to pharyngeal gonorrhea with a sore throat, pain
on swallowing and redness of your throat and tonsils.
If the infection spreads to your eye by touching, gonorrhea can
cause a red, inflamed eye (conjunctivitis). In babies who contract
gonorrhea during childbirth, gonorrheal eye infections can lead to
infection in your body.
The bacterium that causes gonorrhea can also spread through the
bloodstream to cause infection in other parts of your body. Fever,
rash, joint pain, swelling and stiffness are possible results.