Not everyone who gets gonorrhoea will notice any symptoms. If you do, they’ll usually appear about two weeks after you’ve had unprotected sex, but can take up to 30 days.
Like many sexually transmitted infections, gonorrhoea can have a serious effect on your health if it’s left untreated. Whether you notice symptoms or not, if you’ve had unprotected sex it’s best to see one of our online doctors as soon as possible, in order to arrange the necessary tests and treatment.
As you’d expect, the symptoms of gonorrhoea are different for men and women. We’ve split the information up so it’s quick and easy to find what’s relevant for you.
Gonorrhoea Symptoms in Women
Nearly half of women who have gonorrhoea do not notice any symptoms.
If you do get symptoms, they’ll often include:
- A green or yellow discharge from the vagina (note that this is different to the discharge you’d get from chlamydia)
- Pain or burning when urinating
- Stomach pain
- Changes in your period
- Vaginal bleeding between periods or after sex
If left untreated, gonorrhoea can cause a condition known as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) that affects your reproductive organs (in particular the fallopian tubes) and can lead to infertility.
Gonorrhoea in Pregnancy
If you have gonorrhoea while you’re pregnant, you are more likely to experience a miscarriage or premature birth.
Should your infection lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, you’re also 10-20% more likely to experience an ectopic pregnancy. This occurs when an egg is fertilised outside the womb and when it happens, it’s not possible to save the pregnancy.
Gonorrhoea can also be passed to your baby. If they’re infected, they may be born with conjunctivitis, which could lead to permanent vision damage if it’s not treated quickly.
Fortunately, you can be treated for gonorrhea while you’re pregnant, or if you’ve been trying for a baby. Our doctors can recommend treatment that’s safe for you and your baby and you can read more about that here.
Gonorrhoea Symptoms in Men
While most men with gonorrhoea will get symptoms, 10% won’t notice any problems.
If you do get symptoms, they could include:
- White, yellow or green discharge from the penis (note that this is different to the discharge you’d get from chlamydia)
- Pain or burning when you urinate
- A swollen foreskin
- Testicle pain or tenderness
If gonorrhoea is left untreated, the infection can spread to your testicles and prostate. Long term, there’s a chance that this could lead to fertility problems.
Gonorrhoea symptoms in the rectum
If you have unprotected anal sex, it’s possible to get a gonorrhoea infection in your rectum. Symptoms of this include:
- Pain or discomfort
- Discharge from your back passage
Gonorrhoea symptoms in the eyes
It’s possible to get gonorrhoea if you get infected semen or vaginal fluid in your eye. Symptoms to watch out for include:
- Swelling around your eye
- Discharge from your eye
Gonorrhoea symptoms in the throat
If you have unprotected oral sex, you can get a gonorrhoea infection in your throat. However, this rarely produces any symptoms, with 90% of people not aware that they have an infection.
A sore throat is the only real sign, and of course this is quite a common symptom that can easily be dismissed as something that will go away on its own.
Despite this, it’s still important to get tested in order to avoid any potential health complications.
How to see an online doctor
As you can see, it’s best to see a doctor as soon as possible if you think you might have gonorrhoea. Our doctors are available from 6am - 11pm, 7 days a week, so it’s easy to get discreet, confidential advice whenever you need it.