Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection (sexually transmitted disease*) that is caused by a bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The Cleveland Clinic says that “1.14 million new gonorrhea infections occur in the United States every year. About half of these infections occur in people ages 15 to 24.” Gonorrhea is spread through unprotected sex and can infect the penis, anus, vagina, or mouth/throat. People can be infected with gonorrhea and show no symptoms.

Gonorrhea is treatable with antibiotics, but the infection is starting to become resistant to antibiotics in some cases. If you are sexually active, you can reduce your risk by using condoms and spermicide; limiting sexual partners, and getting tested regularly if you have multiple partners.

*What is the difference between a sexually transmitted infection, STI, and a sexually transmitted disease, STD? According to Verywell Health, an STI is an infection that is transmitted through sexual activity. These infections may or may not show symptoms and become a sexually transmitted disease. Keep in mind, STD and STI terminology are used interchangeably, so that is why both terms are used in this article.

Gonorrhea Symptoms

Gonorrhea infects women and men including the urethra, rectum, or throat. In women, gonorrhea can infect the cervix.

Symptoms in Women

  • Pain while urinating
  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods
  • Vaginal bleeding after intercourse
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain

Symptoms in Men

  • Pain while urinating
  • Discharge from the penis that is pus-like
  • Swelling or pain in one testicle

Signs of an infection from gonorrhea can also be present in the rectum, eyes, throat, and joints, according to the Mayo Clinic. Symptoms include:

  • Eyes – Pain, sensitivity to light, and pus-like discharge from only one eye or both
  • Rectum – Itching, pus-like discharge, spots of bright red blood or straining during bowel movements
  • Joints – Warm, red, swollen, and extremely painful especially when moving
  • Throat – Sore and swollen neck lymph nodes

Oral Gonorrhea vs Strep Throat

If gonorrhea infects a person’s throat they may experience a sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, redness in the throat, and fever, according to Healthline. Like gonorrhea, strep throat can also cause the infected person’s throat to be sore with redness and cause the lymph nodes in the neck to become swollen. Unlike oral gonorrhea, strep symptoms can also include:

  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Rash
  • Red spots in the back of the throat
  • Sudden fever

Sometimes people infected with oral gonorrhea will show no symptoms. If you believe you may have strep throat, consider testing with Rapid Testing LLC. Rapid strep throat testing is available without a doctor’s visit and results are available the same-day as testing. The strep throat test is conducted curbside.

If you would like to be tested for oral gonorrhea, please consider testing with Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine. This is a send-out lab test with results in a few days, so a visit is required.

What’s the Difference between Gonorrhea and Chlamydia?

Gonorrhea and chlamydia are very similar sexually transmitted infections (sexually transmitted diseases). Both infections are caused by bacteria. Shared symptoms of chlamydia and gonorrhea include: abnormal discharge from the penis, vagina, or rectum; pain/bleeding from the rectum, and painful urination.

According to Medical News Today, some symptoms that are specific to gonorrhea include vaginal bleeding between periods in females. In males, penile discharge may be white, yellow, or green.

Gonorrhea symptoms may also include rectal symptoms like soreness, itching, and pain when you defecate.


Untreated gonorrhea can lead to:

  • In women – Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can cause infertility and a tubal pregnancy; cause swollen and painful joints, liver inflammation, heart valve, and brain damage
  • In men – Infertility, inflammation of the testicles, scars in the urethra, prostate inflammation and pain; cause swollen and painful joints; liver inflammation, heart valve, and brain damage
  • Infants may become infected if born to untreated mothers. This may cause eye problems in the infant that may lead to blindness

Gonorrhea Treatment

Gonorrhea can be treated with antibiotics, which is administered in a shot or as an oral treatment. The Cleveland Clinic states that treating gonorrhea infections is becoming harder because some infections are resistant to antibiotics.

Where Do I Get an STD Test for Gonorrhea?

gonorrhea test

Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine is partnering with Rapid Testing LLC to offer rapid STD testing with same-day results. This is an FDA-approved, 3-in-1 combo test that is manufactured by Visby Medical. This rapid PCR test not only tests for gonorrhea, but also for chlamydia and trichomoniasis. The convenience of testing with Rapid Testing LLC means same-day testing with same-day results all without a doctor’s visit.

The test offered by Rapid Testing LLC is a self-collected vaginal swab. There is also a test for men that is a lab send-out test. This test requires a visit with a provider and results are available in 3 to 7 days.

How Much Does Testing Cost & How Long Does it Take?

The test is an FDA-approved self vaginal swab and not a blood test. Once you arrive at the clinic, you will be able to collect the sample yourself in the privacy of an exam room. Or, at no additional cost, the provider can collect the sample – whichever you are more comfortable with. Collecting the sample is quick and you will receive the results the same day you were tested.

The cost of the rapid STD combo PCR test is $225. There is also the option for a lab send-out STD test that is suitable for men and women. This test requires a visit with a provider and results are available in 3 to 7 days, rather than the same day as with the rapid test.

Get Tested Today!

Testing for STDs is offered at all of Advanced Urgent Care & Occupational Medicine’s clinics across the Denver metro area. Schedule your appointment online and get tested all without a doctor’s visit. If you test positive for any of these infections, please schedule a visit with an Advanced Urgent Care provider, or with a provider of your choice, in order to get treatment. Click here to learn more and schedule testing today!