Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by bacteria called neisseria gonorrhoeae or gonococcus.

About Gonorrhoea

The bacteria that cause gonorrhoea are mainly found in discharge from the penis and in vaginal fluid.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of gonorrhoea include:

  • A thick green or yellow discharge from the vagina or penis
  • Pain when peeing
  • In women, bleeding between periods

1 in 10 infected men will have no symptoms.

Almost half of infected women will have no symptoms.

How is it Transmitted?

Gonorrhoea is easily passed between people through:

  • Unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex
  • Sharing unclean vibrators or other sex toys

The bacteria can infect the entrance to the womb, the tube that passes urine out of the body, the rectum and sometimes the throat and eyes.

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Gonorrhoea can be prevented by:

  • Using male or female condoms
  • Using a condom or a latex or plastic square (dam) if you have oral sex
  • Not sharing sex toys


Gonorrhoea can be treated with an antibiotic injection in the buttocks or thigh. Most symptoms should improve within a few days.

It’s usually recommended you have a follow-up appointment a week or two after treatment.


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Contacting a sexual health service for the first time can be a little daunting, so here are some easy answers to many of the questions you may have.

Is gonorrhoea serious?

If left undiagnosed and untreated there is a risk of potentially serious complications including infertility. During pregnancy gonorrhoea can also cause miscarriage, premature labour and the baby being born with conjunctivitis which could cause permanent vision damage.

Where can I get tested?

You can order a Test at Home kit.

Can I have sex during treatment?

You should avoid having sex until you, and your partner, have finished treatment. This will help prevent re-infection and passing the infection on to anyone else. If your symptoms reappear or do not go away you may need repeat treatment or further tests.