Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by infection with the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Gonorrhea is transmitted through sexual contact with the penis, vagina, mouth, or anus of an infected individual. It can also be transmitted from a mother with untreated gonorrheal infection to her newborn during childbirth.
Males may exhibit symptoms of gonorrheal infection; however, most infected females remain asymptomatic, with an estimated 85-90% of infected males showing symptoms and only ~20% of infected females.
In males, N. gonorrhoeae causes genitourinary infections resulting in dysuria, frequent urination, abnormal urethral discharges, and testicular pain and swelling.
In symptomatic females, symptoms may be so mild that they are mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. Symptoms can include dysuria, abnormal vaginal discharge and endocervical bleeding.
Rectal infections (in males and females) can lead to discharge from the rectum, itching, bleeding, or painful bowel movements, while pharyngeal infections are generally asymptomatic but may cause a sore throat.
Dual antibiotic treatment is recommended for gonorrheal infections due to antimicrobial resistance. Antibiotics do not repair any permanent damage done by the disease. Condom use reduces, but does not eliminate, the risk of gonorrhea.