Gonorrhea is one of the most common STDs in the United States and can lead to infertility in men and women. It is both treatable and preventable, though scientists have discovered a new strain of gonorrhea that is resistant to all currently utilized antibiotics.
Many people with gonorrhea don’t have any symptoms. Those who do might notice unusual discharge from the penis or vagina and/or pain or difficultly peeing. Men may have swelling in their testicles and women may bleed in between periods. If left untreated, gonorrhea can cause infertility without ever showing symptoms. It can also spread to the blood and joints.
Gonorrhea is treated with antibiotics, usually given in a single dose. If you’re being treated, your partner should be tested too. You should also wait until you and your partner(s) finish your treatment and until your symptoms disappear (if you have them) before you start having sex again. This is to make sure you don’t spread the infection.
In addition to the urethra and vagina, gonorrhea can also cause infections in the mouth, throat, eyes and anus.
As with all STIs, the most effective protection is to abstain from sexual activity or be monogamous with one long-term partner who has tested negative for gonorrhea. Using latex condoms or dental dams can help reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the infection.