Signs and symptoms   


Signs And Symptoms Of Gonorrhea

Neisseria gonorrhea can infect the urethra, anus, rectum and/or mouth and throat of both boys and girls. This bacteria most commonly infects the cervix (opening to the uterus at the top of the vagina) in girls while the primary site of infection in boys is the urethra. A female Gonorrheal infection of the cervix progresses on to the more serious pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in ten to forty percent of cases. In fact, up to 40% of PID cases are thought to be caused by Gonorrheal infections. (Click the "PID" tab on the left or the "PID Animation" tab on the right for more information.).

It is important to realize that 50% of female cervical infections cause no symptoms at all and a person may become infected with Gonorrhea without even knowing it!

When a Gonorrhea infection of the cervix is symptomatic, it causes vaginal itching and/or pus (purulent) discharge from the cervix. The leaking pus, if noticed, is most often seen as discharge coming from the vagina, possibly staining the underclothes. Fever generally only occurs if the infection has advanced on to PID. Anal and rectal infection often happens simultaneously with a cervical infection although the anus alone can also become infected with the Gonorrhea bacteria (depending on sexual habits). Symptoms of anal/rectal infection in boys and girls, if any, include anal itching, rectal discharge or fullness, and painful bowel movements.

A Gonorrheal infection of the urethra in girls is usually asymptomatic but may cause painful urination. In boys, an infection in this area can result in pus discharge from the opening at the end of the penis and/or burning with urination.

Less commonly, Gonorrhea can infect an area at the opening of the vagina in girls, called the Bartholin's gland. There is one gland located on either side of the vagina opening. If infection occurs in this area, one gland becomes swollen to a clearly visible, grape-sized pus collection which looks like a mound under the skin. This collection of pus often causes discomfort, particularly when compressed or when sitting down. In addition, although rare, untreated Gonorrheal infection in either sex can spread to the body joints (like the knee) and cause pain in affected areas.