If the infection is not treated, it can spread to other parts of the body, including the throat, joints, and eyes (potentially leading to blindness). Complications from gonorrhea infection include pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can affect fertility in women; inflammation of the testicles (epididymitis), which can lead to infertility in men; blindness in an infant infected during delivery; and widespread infection with a fever, rash, and joint pain.
Infection often starts with only mild symptoms of discomfort with urination. Later there may be frequent and painful urination or defecation; a thick, cloudy, or bloody discharge from the penis, vagina, or rectum; or pain with sexual intercourse. Throat infection may present a sore throat only.
Occasionally, the infection can spread throughout the body and presents with symptoms of fever, chills, swollen or painful joints, and small bumps that may be red or purple on the hands or feet. This is referred to as the arthritis-dermatitis syndrome.
Gonorrhea can be prevented by abstaining from casual sexual activity and using condoms correctly during any sexual contact. If you are in a long-term relationship, make sure that you know your partner's sexual history or ask that your partner is tested prior to engaging in sexual activity.
- There is a discharge from the vagina, penis, or rectum.
- There is burning or pain during urination or defecation.
- You are concerned or know that a sexual partner has similar symptoms or has been diagnosed with gonorrhea.
Antibiotics are prescribed for treatment. Because drug-resistant strains of bacteria are becoming common, it is extremely important that you finish all of the antibiotics and see the doctor again if your symptoms persist after treatment.