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Gonorrhea

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Symptoms

The bacteria that cause gonorrhea are carried in semen and vaginal fluids and cause a discharge in men and women. A small number of people may be infected for several months without showing symptoms.

For women, the early symptoms of gonorrhea often are mild. Symptoms usually appear within 2 to 10 days after sexual contact with an infected partner. When women have symptoms, the first ones may include:

  • Bleeding associated with vaginal intercourse
  • Painful or burning sensations when urinating
  • Yellow or bloody vaginal discharge

More advanced symptoms, which may indicate development of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), include cramps and pain, bleeding between menstrual periods, vomiting, or fever.

Men have symptoms more often than women, including:

  • White, yellow, or green pus from the penis with pain
  • Burning sensations during urination that may be severe
  • Swollen or painful testicles

If left untreated, men could experience prostate complications and epididymitis (inflammation of the testicles).

Symptoms of rectal infection include discharge, anal itching, and occasional painful bowel movements with fresh blood in the feces. Symptoms typically appear 2 to 5 days after infection but could appear as long as 30 days later. 

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Last Updated January 05, 2011