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What is Gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae. In men, the bacteria often infect urethra - the tube in the penis, which conducts urine or semen. They can also infect the mouth, throat and anus. Person may be infected in several places at once.

Gonorrhea is spread through sexual intercourse, specifically by anal, oral or vaginal contact. Also, you can get gonorrhea without penetration. A condom may be protective, but most people do not use condoms during oral sex or foreplay so fluids can enter the anus, urethra or vagina.


Gonorrhea is usually diagnosed by culturing pus. If there is not enough pus, the doctor may insert a swab in the urethra in order to take the sample. Although it sounds painful - it is not.

Cultivation must be carried out in a very strict conditions, because these bacteria are extremely sensitive to desiccation and require a high concentration of carbon dioxide for growth.

Besides cultivation, doctors may send swabs to the laboratory for DNA analysis. A positive DNA test indicates that the person is infected. This test is more accurate than cultivation, because it doesn't require strict conditions.

It is more difficult to diagnose gonorrhea in the mouth, throat and anus, because the symptoms are atypical and cause less pain and pus than in the case of infected penis.

If you have a sore throat or anus, be sure to tell your doctor about your sexual habits so he/she could take appropriate samples for diagnosing.


Symptoms usually appear two to five days after infection. In men, the most common symptoms is a greenish yellow pus which discharges from the penis. Although it is usually thick, pus may cause only a stain on the underwear. Pus is often accompanied with pain during urination.

If gonorrhea infects the mouth, throat or anus, it is harder to diagnose it. Infections of the mouth and throat are similar to a typical sore throat. The pain may be weak and quickly disappear. If your doctor does not know that you had an oral sex, he/she won't think the gonorrhea is the cause of these symptoms.

Gonorrhea in the anus is manifested as pus or intestinal bleeding. The pain may be present, but it is not common. Again, if you do not tell the doctor that you had anal sex, he/she will not think of gonorrhea.


The appearance of scars and urethra blockage may be the consequences of penile gonorrhea. These complications occur many years after the disease.

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