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Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection , caused by a bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. This infection is often called ‘the clap’ (from a French word clapoir meaning ‘sexual sore’).

Like other sexually transmitted infections, it is especially common in young people, although you can catch it at any age. In 2004, there were over 22,000 cases diagnosed in clinics in the United Kingdom. The true number of cases is probably much higher, because gonorrhoea often has no symptoms(especially in women), so therefore many people who have it may not attend a clinic.

How gonorrhoea is transmitted

You catch a genital gonorrhoea infection by having sex with someone who has the infection. Therefore it is very important to use condoms with a new partner. Also, you can catch a gonorrhoea throat infection from oral sex.

How do I know if I have gonorrhoea?

Men with gonorrhoea usually develop a discharge from the urethra (‘pee hole’) and pain when passing urine. These symptoms start about 3–10 days after catching the infection. However, some men may have no symptoms so they do not know they have the infection.
In 7 out of 10 women, gonorrhoea causes no symptoms at all. Some women develop vague symptoms, such as an increase in vaginal discharge.

What to do if you think you might have gonorrhoea

If you have a symptom, such as a discharge, or if think you might be at risk of having an infection, you need a check-up at a genitourinary medicine clinic. People with gonorrhoea often have another infection as well (such as trichomonas), and a genitourinary medicine clinic will give you a general check-up for genital infection as well as testing for gonorrhoea.

Treatment for gonorrhoea

If the clinic finds that you have gonorrhoea, you will be prescribed a special antibiotic. In many countries gonorrhoea does not respond to common antibiotics. (This is called ‘resistance’.) Therefore the clinic will send your samples to the laboratory to ensure that the antibiotic you are given is the correct one. You will need check-ups afterwards to make sure the infection has gone. You must not have sex with anyone (not even with a condom) until the clinic gives you the all-clear. Your partner(s) will also need to be tested.

Is gonorrhoea dangerous?

If it is not treated, gonorrhoea can spread to other parts of the body. In women, it can travel upwards to the Fallopian tubes. These are the tubes that transport eggs from the ovary to the uterus. If the Fallopian tubes are damaged by an infection such as gonorrhoea, the woman may have difficulty conceiving a baby. Infection in the Fallopian tubes can cause pain in the lower abdomen (especially during sex), or may not cause any symptoms. In men, gonorrhoea can spread to the tubing around the testicle and to the prostate gland. Gonorrhoea can also spread through the bloodstream to the joints, causing a painful arthritis.
Dr Phil Hammond talks frankly about genital infections in his Expert guide to Genital infections

Written by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Edited by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Last updated: Thursday, June 10th 2010


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Comments on this article

Posted by winawake on 07/04/2017 at 01:47

Am experiencing whitish fluid from my penis. no pain. what can be the problem??

Posted by onyema u samuel on 15/03/2017 at 10:00

for some few days now i started noticing some discharge from my body penis it looks like pus coming out from my body nd a litle frequent in urinating sometimes it hurt nd pains me

Posted by Optional on 20/12/2016 at 10:45

I don't know why i feel it a bit peppery when am peeing and after that i have this substance like watery sperm on my penis and when i scrub it together it looks whitish....whats wrong with me

Posted by Optional on 07/05/2016 at 09:51

I had used doxycycline for 7 days now. Discharge had stopped by my vaginal keep itching me sometimes . Does it mean gonorrhea hasn't gone

Posted by carol on 02/01/2016 at 04:19

I had sex with my boyfriend we had sex at night the next morning i had to run to school and he told me tht i gave it to him i was like i just checked my self so there is no way you got it from me he told me his ex girlfriend dose drugs my questions is how do i know if i gave it to him or he got it from his ex girlfriend he said then had sex 4 weeks ago and now tht i had sex with him i feel like he is blaming me but i checked my self for everything so what should i do help me plz

Posted by L S on 23/11/2015 at 04:08

Hello, I'm 14 and i usually masturbate everyday and I've not had sex, but about 2 Weeks ago theres started to come out a thick, yellowish substance when I masturbate and yesterday my foreskin has kindoff swollen a bit and stings, any1 tell me if this is dangerous. I'm also quiet shy and not easy to start talking about intimate subjects so im scared to tell my parents or friends

Posted by Optional on 27/08/2015 at 01:55

I have a yellow leakage from my pee hole and my little boy had problems down below with swimming in a paddling pool that had slimy stuff at the bottom plus I attached hot water hose to heat it up can this cause any infection below that cause discharge .my doctor asked me about my sex life and I told her I have only 1n sexual partner and she sent a swob for tests I asked my girlfriend to b honest and tell me if u have had sex with any 1n else but me and she sware it's me and me only

Posted by Optional on 09/08/2015 at 05:31

Hi, I usually have a milky discharge after stooling which cause painful testis for a while. I didn't go for medical check up cus I was still very young. But now im having a whitish discharge on my penis couple with som burning sensation during pee. I went for medical test but nothing. The doctor gav me oflocet but nothing. Plse help me cus im beginning to hav lower abdominal pain too

Posted by Refilwe on 16/07/2015 at 06:17

Hii :) am a 16 year old girl .. And i use to have urethra pains and a burning urine.. So what can i do to solve this problem ??

Posted by Optional on 27/05/2015 at 11:54

I had sex with a girl last saturday, and the next day I had white discharges coming out on my penis, burning sensation when I pee. Is it possible that I had a transmitted infection?I drink drug zenith tablet but thats still , as if nothing happened

Posted by Skelewane watsotsi on 08/05/2015 at 04:23

Before one can recognise that he has a gonorrhea, is it possoble for it pass to another partner if both partners did not use condom?

Posted by Optional on 13/04/2015 at 01:11

Is there any probablity to be attacked by this disease without sex?

Posted by Optional on 10/03/2015 at 12:59

I have been discharging a yellowish fluid from my penis,it is odourless and does not feel pain when urinating, is it gonorrhea

Posted by calinton on 03/01/2015 at 08:43

I have bin having discharge from my penis

Posted by William on 03/01/2015 at 07:41

My penises is discharging and I feel pains when I urine

Posted by MARIA on 26/12/2014 at 12:50


Posted by Metro on 15/12/2014 at 05:45

My penis is sore when i pass urine and creamy liquid is coming out

Posted by Optional3 on 29/11/2014 at 02:19

good afternoon. i discovered last night when i urinated that i feel like i still want to urinate and noting we come out, and these morning i discovered something white coming out of my penis so i now went to the hospital complain which i was given injection and some drugs was given to me but i forget to tell them that i do experience it when ever i ate rice that is still watery. can the rice cause it or is it gonoria cause i hav done urine test before which was negative for urine infection

Posted by nautillus on 02/11/2014 at 12:34

every morning i wake up i have yellowish discharge on my pennis about 2 weeks ago. what should i do? i think this is not a STD because theres no pain at all. what sould i do? please plase help.

Posted by Marvin on 15/09/2014 at 07:24

I have a yellowish discharge n it stains my boxers... I don't know what it is I got it like a week ago... n every time I pee it hurts... I don't know what I have but I hope you can help..

Posted by Optional on 31/08/2014 at 11:19

I had sex with a girl last Friday, and the next day I had white discharges coming out on my penis, burning sensation when I pee. Is it possible that I had a transmitted infection?

Posted by Optional on 02/08/2014 at 06:53

I had an intercourse,the condom burst and in a day I discovered a piece of rubber in me,a week after a developed sores they took few days and got healed,then in two weeks I had a smelly discharge and lately I have painful nipples,lower abdominal pain and it pierces on my right, and the smelly discharge continues. Don't know what to do,please help.

Posted by Lucy on 01/06/2014 at 08:49

Im not sure what i have but ive had real bad discharge for one to two years it isnt alot sometimes but i used to get it every single day ! Having sex wasnt a problem till my vagina was getting itchy and swollen ! During the beginning of sex with my partner i was fine then after a while it started burning !i had a miscariage about three four weeks ago n started my period i just ended it about two days ago me and my partner had sex with a condom but when we took a shower he noticed about 9 -10 little tinny bumps on his penis like on the inside of skin ! He also had a real bad smell i should say horrible smell! We fought over this and were anxious to know what it is is it me is it him or what is it ! I hope its not any herpes or any std ! Omg i dont know what to do im going crazy please help!!!!! :,(

Posted by Optional on 22/09/2013 at 10:10

vigina itches n after itching it it burns what is it im really scared like it came out of nowhere

Posted by OPTIONAL on 17/01/2013 at 05:59


Posted by Optional on 05/12/2012 at 11:06

my partner and i live a long way from each other and spend a week together 5 times a year. we are both faithfull. twice before i have visited him i have been tested for sti's which were all negative. i had more partners than him in the past. on 2 occasions now he has caught an sti after having sex with me.gonorreah.i was tested about 1 week before visiting him both times and it was negative. how can this happen, im very upset about this. we are both faithfull to each other there is no doubt about it. i think i am giving him gonorreah even though the tests were negative. he tried jokingly a few times to have anal sex with me, but i didnt let him. he didnt penetrate me but touched the outside with his penis then immediately had vaginal sex. could this be the cause. also we have been to egypt, where they have a sort of toilet shower inside the toilet bowl to wash your private parts with. i wonder if this was dirthy. im very upset and confused and feel very sorry for my partner. im going to my gp, but it seems he never has time for me to tell him all of this. can anyone help?

Posted by Kat on 23/09/2012 at 10:32

i've abnormal discharge thick yellow,itching and burning and sometimes smelly it changes through the cycle.i consulted, the doctor said it ws yeast infection the problem is that this symptoms keeps coming back its lik they resist treatment

Posted by Optional on 19/09/2012 at 01:29

All the symptom of gonorrhea

Posted by Optional on 18/09/2012 at 12:30

I'm 21 yrs old n i have had a whitish creamish discharge from my Virgina which is smelly and sometimes itchy. i once had it like 3months ago and seeked medical assistance and cooled for a while but now its back. what could be the problem am i HIV+ or what is it. am so confused, the smell is so bad that i cant even be around people. kindly help me coz am so worried..............pliz pliz pliz pliz

Posted by Optional on 17/07/2012 at 07:58

Am avin a strange symptoms n it goes lyk dis=my dick rushes a milky liquid n i also hv pains........wat av i infected?????wat s d cure??????cn it b treated??

Posted by Optional on 15/06/2012 at 09:41

Though I had this and turned out to be HIV.. Frequent yeast infections, just turned 19 I'm so upset

Posted by Scared on 27/05/2012 at 10:04

what do you mean by discharge?

Posted by Me on 30/04/2012 at 11:47

Ive been having un protective sex with my new partner for 3 weeks now. My last periods were 2weeks ago. I have a "sterilet" on n its still good for 3years. Im use to the discharge after my menstation but now this is just not normal. But now I have this thick pinkish smelly substance that comes out non stop.. I see people are talking about yellow or white or even green but me its pink. Can someone PLZ help me!!

Posted by Optional on 22/03/2012 at 08:09

I haven't had sex for about 30 months now but 2 or 3 weeks ago a girl did oral on me and then I woke up 2 days ago with a sticky yellow mucus at the tip of my penis but that was all its been 2 days and nothing has came out anymore and I don't feel pain while peeing or anything. what could this be??

Posted by mario on 21/12/2011 at 01:20

there is a tingle/ sensation in my urethra and there is pain coming from my right testicle side but theres no tenderness Any ideas?

Posted by Optional on 03/10/2011 at 05:15

Hi, I'm really worried, I had unprotected sex about 2/3 weeks ago with my new partner.. My vagina started 2 itch & I started passing white discharge. I knew it was thrush so bought canisten combi , inserted the tablet & been using the cream 4 over a wk now.. But it's not getting any better, went bk 2 my gp, prescribed me the oral thrush tablet.. I then explained my symptoms had worsened, I have 2 wee in the shower with water running on me because it's absolute agony! My vulva & entrance is very red, swollen & painful 2 touch.. But my discharge hasn't stopped & is turning slightly more of a light yellow colour than white.. & a snotty kind of texture.. I also have sore tonsils, with white lumps on them :( please please help me! Ta

Posted by Optional on 21/09/2011 at 07:02

I have been confirmed to have chlamydia & ghon' taken oral meds & had injection. 3 weeks on I'm suffering with very sore burning throat, watery offensive discharge & thrush. Not sure what is normal... Please advice.

Posted by Optional on 21/08/2011 at 06:50

It better to know the early stage of a disease.

Posted by Alice on 20/08/2011 at 11:57

I have a discharge that is foul fishy smelling and does not itch or causes any pain. There's no abdominal pain or nothing. The discharge really smells. What could it be?

Posted by Optional on 29/04/2011 at 05:01

i started to have burning sensetion on my ower abdmen two days after sex then and high temperature on my genitals then some painless tiny spots developed on my penis

Posted by jay on 25/04/2011 at 10:57

I have a yellowish discharge n it stains my boxers... I don't know what it is I got it like a week ago... n every time I pee it hurts... I don't know what I have but I hope you can help.. plz..

Posted by Optional gloria emmanuel on 13/03/2011 at 04:58

Hi doctor, i have a vaginal discharge. Am seeing blood even when i am not on my period, i have pain, and painful sexual intercourse. Am worry, pls, kindly tell me what i have.

Posted by Anonymous on 29/01/2011 at 12:56

Hi. I have a foul-smelling cloudy whitish liquid coming out of my penis for quite some time already. Does this mean I have Gonorrhoea when I did not have sex? It sometimes feels painful when I urine, and my genitals sometimes feel sore as well.

Posted by Optional on 25/01/2011 at 07:12

i have a strong smelling discharge. I went to the local clinic but the pills only helped for some few days & it came back again. It is so light, smelly & yellow. Sometimes i even use tampons to block the smell. It really hurts me. All this happened when i was dating this guy, we didnt use a condom for years cos i was using contraceptives. I regret myself for everything cos really this disease is so stressing and embarrasing

Posted by Discharge on 17/11/2010 at 07:05

HI so 5 days ago i had sex without a condom with a guy i know and today i noticed cloudy whitish liquid is coming out of my penis. Does this mean i have Gonorrhoea? It does kinda hurt sometimes to urine and my genitals sometimes feel sore.

Posted by MARY on 11/10/2010 at 06:30

Sumtimes wen i lay pussy starts itching me...den d lower part of my tummy hurts...and also wen i wana hurts...and my discharge is thick and smells soo bad dat i cnt even let my bf do oral sex wiv soo ashamed..dnt know wat caused it..and i av to wash my pussy and change ma pants evry tired of doin dat..wat do i do...pls help me...asap...pls...thanks

Posted by Optional on 08/08/2010 at 04:40

i have a yellowish discharge that i have been having for a while and thought i'd just ignore because it would just go away. but it has sort of got worse as my urine smells funny, also feel a bit of a burning/itching wen i urinate and a bit of pain in my testicles when i squeeze it lightly. very much appreciated if you help. cheers

Posted by mariaa on 27/07/2010 at 10:15

i have a yellow smelly discharge & i get the feeling i have to pee alot but i dont just a little comes out ! & my vagina is itchy sometimes !

Posted by kiera on 11/06/2010 at 01:12

I am 7months pregnant and I have this foul odor discharges in my vagina, does this affect my baby? What could this be? Where did I possibly get it? I also have itchiness before the foul odor discharge. What should I do?

Posted by ironman on 12/02/2010 at 12:10

this is so helpful,

Posted by anonymous on 17/10/2009 at 02:15

I started having discharge that was white and thick like cottage cheese and odoury..then suddenly it switched to this yellowish non odourless colour. I'm on anti depressants and some other pill for my mood so could that be messing around with my discharge colour? Help me please.

Posted by anon on 29/04/2009 at 09:45

been while my boyfriend a while and have noticed my discharge has suddenly gotten smelly and gone a funny colour, i haven't cheated and im 100% sure my boyfriend hasnt either. Help!!!

Posted by Anonymous on 09/01/2009 at 11:57

i have smelly discharge and white stains in my knickers


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