What is scary is that most women who have a gonococcal infection have no symptoms or signs. Women with gonorrhea are at risk of developing serious complications from the infection even if they don’t have any symptoms! Complications include:
- pelvic inflammatory disease
- ectopic pregnancy
- chronic pelvic pain
When women do have symptoms and signs, they are often mild and can be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. Symptoms and signs in women may include:
- Painful or burning sensation when urinating
- Increased vaginal discharge
- Vaginal bleeding between periods
Some men have no symptoms or signs but most men with gonococcal infections one or more of the following:
- burning sensation when urinating
- white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis
- Painful or swollen testicles (although this is less common).
Men and women with anorectal gonococcal infections may have either no symptoms and signs or the following:
- Anal itching
- Painful bowel movements
How will my doctor know if I have a gonococcal infection?
Laboratory tests can diagnose gonorrhea. Your health care provider may ask you to provide a urine sample or may use (or ask you to use) a cotton swab to get a sample from your vagina to test for gonorrhea. Self test kits are also available for you to collect samples at home and mail back to a lab.