Most women (80%) have no signs of gonorrhea. Some women experience symptoms that include a greenish-yellow discharge of pus from the vagina or cervix; burning with urination; mushroom-like odor from the genital area; lower back pain or abdominal pain. These are the symptoms of cervical gonorrhea. Gonorrhea of the throat may be characterized by a sore throat. Gonorrhea of the anus includes a mucous discharge from the anus or itching in that area.
Men may also have no symptoms, but usually they notice burning while urinating or a clear or creamy discharge from the penis that can be white, yellow or yellowish-green. In addition, a male's lymph nodes in the groin may be slightly swollen and tender.
Because women and men often have no symptoms, either one can unknowingly infect the other. If your partner is being treated for gonorrhea, you should be treated also.
If you have been exposed to gonorrhea, it takes from two to ten days for possible symptoms to develop, or for a gonorrhea test to have a positive result. Once a person has gonorrhea they can infect another part of their own body. A woman with gonorrhea can transmit the disease to her child during birth causing an eye infection that if not treated, can cause blindness.
If untreated, gonorrhea can develop into a more complicated infection. In women it can cause PID Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, spreading from the cervix to the lining of the uterus and the fallopian tubes and thus causing scar tissue. Symptoms of PID include lower abdominal pain, pain with intercourse, pain during menstruation and irregular periods. The scarring of the tubes can possibly cause infertility and put a woman at higher risk for developing an ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy that implants outside of the uterus).
Gonorrhea is easily treated with antibiotics, and it's a good idea to have a follow-up culture after treatment.