Gonorrhea is a bacterial disease that generally affects the genital organs. The disease is transmitted from person-to-person by intimate physical contact with the sex organs or the rectum of the infected person. The infection may also be present in the throat and can be transmitted orally. If left untreated, gonorrhea can cause abdominal, joint, blood-stream, and eye infections as well.


Men who have a genital infection will usually notice a burning pain when urinating, often accompanied by a discharge of pus. These symptoms generally appear two to six days after contact with an infected person, although a considerable number of men who contract gonorrhea experience no apparent symptoms. Most women with genital gonorrhea do not notice obvious symptoms such as burning during urination or increased vaginal discharge. Both men and women may have rectal gonorrhea without obvious symptoms, although rectal irritation and discharge may occur. Gonorrhea infection of the throat may result in a sore throat.

Diagnosis of gonorrhea is confirmed by a simple smear test if the infection is present in the male uretha. Gonorrhea in the female genital organs, or in the male or female rectum, or the throat is confirmed by laboratory culture tests.


Antibiotics are used to treat gonorrhea. Completion of all medication is essential and a post-treatment culture is mandatory to substantiate cure. All sexual partners should be notified and strongly encouraged to seek medical treatment. Intimate contact should be avoided until treatment of all partners is complete and post-treatment cultures indicate cure.


If gonorrhea is not treated properly, the disease may progress, causing arthritis, sterility, heart problems, or serious pelvic disorders. Women who have untreated gonorrhea can pass the infection to a newborn child. Although these complications are serious, they can be prevented by early, complete treatment under proper medical supervision.


The following health habits may be helpful in preventing gonorrhea:


  1. Use condoms
  2. Urinate and wash the penis immediately after
    sexual activity.
  3. Avoid intimate contact with anyone who has a
    sexually transmitted disease.


  1. Encourage male partners to use condoms.
  2. Have regular medical check-ups.
  3. Avoid intimate contact with anyone who has a
    sexually transmissible disease.

For more information, please contact the Student Health Center at (970) 351-2412.