Typical symptoms of gonorrhoea include a thick green or yellow discharge from the vagina or penis, pain when peeing and, in women, bleeding between periods.

But around 1 in 10 infected men and almost half of infected women do not experience any symptoms.

Getting tested

If you have any of the symptoms of gonorrhoea or you're worried you may have an STI, you should visit a sexual health clinic for a sexual health test.

Find a sexual health clinic.

You can also contact the FPA sexual health helpline on 0345 122 8687.

Gonorrhoea can be easily diagnosed by testing a sample of discharge picked up using a swab. In men, testing a sample of urine can also diagnose the condition.

It's important to get tested as soon as possible because gonorrhoea can lead to more serious long-term health problems if it's not treated, including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women or infertility.

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Gonorrhoea is usually treated with a single antibiotic injection and a single antibiotic tablet. With effective treatment, most of your symptoms should improve within a few days.

It's usually recommended you attend a follow-up appointment a week or 2 after treatment so another test can be carried out to see if you're clear of infection.

You should avoid having sex until you have been told you no longer have the infection.

Previous successful treatment for gonorrhoea does not make you immune to catching it again.

Who's affected

Anyone who's sexually active can catch gonorrhoea, particularly people who change partners frequently or do not use a barrier method of contraception, such as a condom, when having sex.

Gonorrhoea is the second most common bacterial STI in the UK after chlamydia.

In 2017, more than 44,500 people were diagnosed with gonorrhoea in England, with most cases affecting young men and women under the age of 25.

Preventing gonorrhoea

Gonorrhoea and other STIs can be successfully prevented by using appropriate contraception and taking other precautions, such as:

  • using male condoms or female condoms every time you have vaginal sex, or male condoms during anal sex
  • using a condom to cover the penis or a latex or plastic square (dam) to cover the female genitals if you have oral sex
  • not sharing sex toys, or washing them and covering them with a new condom before anyone else uses them

If you're worried you may have an STI, visit a sexual health clinic for advice.

Find a sexual health clinic.

Get more advice about STIs.