About Gonorrhea - Minnesota Dept. of Health

About Gonorrhea

On this page:
Signs and Symptoms
Testing and Treatment
For more Information

Signs and Symptoms

  • May be mild or absent, especially in women
  • Usually begin 2-7 days after exposure

For women:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding, discharge or itching
  • Burning or pain during urination or bowel movement
  • More pain than usual during periods
  • Cramps and pain in lower abdomen
  • Anal discomfort, itching or discharge

For men:

  • Thick, white or yellow discharge (pus) from penis
  • Burning or pain during urination or bowel movement
  • Anal discomfort, itching or discharge


Gonorrhea is spread by:

  • Vaginal sex
  • Oral sex
  • Anal sex
  • Infected mother to newborn


If left untreated, gonorrhea can:

  • Spread to sex partners
  • Lead to pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Lead to ectopic (tubal) pregnancy
  • Lead to infertility in men and women
  • Cause infection in the joints
  • Make it easier to transmit or acquire HIV during sex

During pregnancy, gonorrhea infection:

  • May be passed to newborn during childbirth
  • May cause serious eye infection in newborn
  • May infect other organs


  • Avoiding vaginal, oral or anal sex is the best way to prevent STDs.
  • Condoms, when used consistently and correctly, can reduce the risk of transmission of gonorrhea.
  • Always use condoms during vaginal and anal sex.
  • Use a condom for oral sex on a penis.
  • Use a barrier (dental dam or condom cut in half) for oral sex on a vagina or anus.
  • Limit the number of sex partners.
  • Notify sex partners immediately if infected.
  • Make sure partners are tested and treated at same time to prevent re-infection.
  • CDC Condom Locator
    Search by zip code to find free or low-cost condoms near you.

Testing and Treatment

  • Get a test from a medical provider if infection is suspected.
  • Gonorrhea can be cured using medication prescribed by a medical provider.
  • Partners should be treated at the same time.
  • STD Testing
    Find free or low-cost testing near you.

NOTE: A person can be re-infected after treatment.

For more Information

  • STD Basics
    Signs and symptoms, transmission, complications, prevention and treatment for STDs.

Updated Thursday, 14-Mar-2019 08:39:50 CDT