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Gonorrhea Symptoms & Diagnosis


Not all people that are infected will have symptoms. Some may have very severe symptoms. If there are symptoms, they may appear 2-10 days after contact with an infected partner. In some cases, they do not occur for up to a month.

People with gonorrhea may experience some, all, or none of the following symptoms:


  • Discharge from the penis
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Tender or swollen testicles


  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Abdominal pain
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding

Men and Women

  • Anal itching
  • Soreness
  • Bleeding
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Eye infections
  • Blood infections


Three tests are commonly used to diagnose gonorrhea:

Gram stain—A sample of the discharge from the penis or cervix is taken. It is examined for the presence of bacteria. This test is more accurate for men than women.

Nucleic acid probe test—Discharge or urine is tested for nucleic acids. These acids identify gonorrhea.

Laboratory analysis—A smear of the discharge is taken. It is sent to a lab. After two days, it is checked for growth of the bacteria.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2022 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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