Everything you need to know about Gonorrhea: Symptoms, treatment, and causes

By , K24 Digital
On Wed, 18 Jan, 2023 06:07 | 2 mins read
Everything you need to know about Gonorrhea: Symptoms, treatment, and causes
Image used for illustration. PHOTO/Courtesy

A recent report about an outbreak of super gonorrhea in Nairobi caused panic among many city dwellers as people pondered how to keep themselves safe.

Last week there were reports that drug-resistant gonorrhea was isolated from a sample taken from one of 24 sex workers in Nairobi.

A handful of public figures including former Nairobi governor Mike Sonko and former nominated senator Millicent Omanga were quick to warn Nairobians following the reports about super gonorrhea in the city.

So what is this gonorrhea that caused panic in the city?

Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

You can contract or transmit gonorrhea by having oral, anal, or vaginal sex.

Some evidence also suggests that oral gonorrhea may also be transmitted through French kissing, or kissing with the tongue.

People who have contracted gonorrhea before are at a higher risk of contracting it again.

Gonorrhea can also be transmitted from birthing parent to baby during delivery.

Signs and symptoms of gonorrhea

Some people who contract gonorrhea may exhibit signs and symptoms while others are just asymptomatic carriers.

Men may develop noticeable symptoms of gonorrhea within 2 to 30 days after exposure.

One may notice; white, green, or yellow discharge, pain or swelling in the testicles, inflammation or swelling of the foreskin, greater frequency or urgency of urination, discoloration and swelling at the penis opening, testicular swelling or pain, itching and soreness in the anus, rectal bleeding or discharge, pain when having bowel movements.

Many women don’t develop any symptoms of gonorrhea, and if they do the symptoms are often fairly mild. What’s more, they can seem very similar to symptoms of vaginal yeast or other bacterial infections, which can make them even more difficult to recognize.

Possible symptoms for women include; watery, creamy, or greenish vaginal discharge, pain or burning while urinating, an urge to urinate more frequently, heavier periods or spotting between periods, pain during penetrative vaginal sex, sharp pain in the lower abdomen, itching and soreness in the anus, rectal bleeding or discharge, painful bowel movements.

Diagnosis and Treatment

A healthcare professional can diagnose gonorrhea by testing the urine, testing a sample of fluid (swab the penis, vagina, throat, or rectum to get a sample of fluid for testing) and blood tests.

Gonorrhoea can be treated with antibiotics.


Gonorrhea can cause various severe complications. For women, it can lead to Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) - an infection of a woman's reproductive organs, chronic pelvic pain, infertility, ectopic pregnancy.

For men, gonorrhea can lead to epididymitis, which can cause problems with fertility.

In addition, people with gonorrhea have a higher risk of contracting or transmitting HIV. One reason is that either infection can cause open sores, which make it easier for viruses and bacteria to enter the body.


Researchers are working to develop a vaccine to prevent gonorrhea transmission. To date, though, no vaccine can prevent the infection.

The safest way to prevent gonorrhea and other STIs is through abstinence. However, if sex is a must, using a condom, dental dams during oral intercourse or other barrier methods every time you have anal or vaginal sex can also help lower your risk of contracting many STIs like gonorrhea.

Additional reporting by healthline.

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