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Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection that is transmitted sexually. Many women and some men who have gonorrhea don’t have any signs or symptoms. If not treated, gonorrhea can cause a painful penile, vaginal, or rectal discharge. It can sometimes lead to swollen and painful joints or lifelong (permanent) damage to your reproductive organs. And in some cases it can make a man or woman unable to have children (infertile). If a pregnant woman has gonorrhea, she can infect her baby during childbirth.


In men:

  • Pain or burning when urinating
  • Watery, milky, or yellow discharge from the penis or anus

In women:

  • Yellow or white discharge from the vagina or anus
  • Bleeding between periods


Gonorrhea can be cured quickly with antibiotics. If you are being treated, your partner should also be checked by a healthcare provider. Don’t have sex while you are being treated and for a week after.


As with all sexually transmitted infections (STIs), knowing your partner’s sexual history is important. It’s a key step in preventing gonorrhea. Also know the signs and symptoms of the infection. And use latex condoms to reduce your risk.

For more information on SBL Women's Health, or to schedule an appointment, call 217-258-4030.