Gonorrhea – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Tripper (Gonorrhö)

One of the most common STDs is gonorrhea This leads to various complaints in the area of ​​​​the genital organs. Due to oral sex, which is becoming increasingly popular today, the pathogens can also quickly spread to the mouth and throat area. The typical symptoms of gonorrhea also occur very frequently in the anal area.

What is gonorrhea?

What used to be a protracted and sometimes even fatal disease is now considered to be quite curable: the so -called clap or gonorrhea . Triggered by a tiny bacterium, which belongs to the so-called “gram-negative cocci”, this disease can take a very different course – from asymptomatic to extremely complicated.

Neisseria gonorrhoeae, as the pathogen is written out, is named after Albert Neisser, who first discovered this germ in 1879 in a urethral smear. The gonorrhea occurs worldwide and only affects humans. A cure for the infection was first possible in 1944 with the invention of penicillin. In the meantime, however, the germ only rarely responds to treatment with the former all-purpose weapon penicillin . Experts speak of “resistance” here. Fortunately, there are some alternative medications and combinations that can effectively combat gonorrhea.


Gonorrhea is mainly transmitted sexually. It hardly matters whether the intercourse takes place vaginally, anally or orally. However, transmissions from the throat with gonorrhea are less common. The aggressive pathogen can sometimes also cause severe eye infections by touching the eyes with the hands. In men, an infection with gonorrhea causes urethritis with itching and discharge . Without antibiotic treatment , the symptoms often only subside after 2 months.

In women, the feared complication is that the pathogen could block the fallopian tubes, which if left untreated can lead to infertility. However, there is a particularly great danger for the developing life. During the first trimester of pregnancy, the bacterium can ascend into the uterus and cause fetal loss. Later, the embryo is protected because a mucus plug closes the cervix.

A feared complication is the eye infection of the newborn with gonorrhea, since the pathogen can get into the eyes through vaginal secretions and thus lead to blindness. Gonorrhea can be particularly dangerous when it enters the bloodstream. Sepsis with gonorrhea bacteria is often severe and fatal. Mortality increases the longer gonorrhea remains undetected and thus untreated.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

Infection with the venereal disease gonorrhea does not always cause symptoms. In women in particular, infection is often mild. About half don’t notice anything. They unknowingly pass on the bacteria. Symptoms vary by gender. The first symptoms appear after three to ten days.

Men usually complain of severe pain when urinating . They state that they excrete splinters of glass. If left untreated, the problems can progress to chronic prostatitis . The penis and its foreskin are very red. A purulent, yellow-greenish discharge develops.

In the advanced stage, swelling and lower abdominal pain are also possible. Male disease carriers can pass on the pathogens during sexual contact. Anal intercourse leads to an inflammation in the rectum, oral intercourse to a sore throat in the sexual partner. Female patients usually suffer from cervical inflammation .

This is accompanied by a purulent discharge. Like men, women sometimes experience pain when urinating. In extreme cases, the bacteria spread further and attack the fallopian tubes and ovaries. Fever and discomfort in the lower abdomen then accompany the disease. In a few cases, symptoms can also affect the entire body. Men and women then suffer from fever , joint inflammation and skin changes. The heart and brain can also be attacked.


If gonorrhea is caught early enough, there is a good chance that it will heal completely, but if left untreated or treated inadequately, various complications can develop. A common complication is male or female infertility. It can also happen that the gonococci, the causative agents of gonorrhea, spread through the bloodstream in the body and cause secondary diseases such as inflammation of the joints, tendonitis, conjunctivitis and iris inflammation in the eye, heart muscle inflammation or skin inflammation.

If a pregnant woman has contracted gonorrhea, the child can be infected with the pathogen at birth. Ulcers can then form in the infant, which infect the cornea of ​​the eye and, in the worst case, lead to blindness. In rare cases, the pathogens can spread through the bloodstream and cause blood poisoning, which is known in technical jargon as gonococcal sepsis.

It primarily affects people with a general immune deficiency, for example with AIDS or other infectious diseases. Other serious complications from gonococcal infection can include meningitis or inflammation of the lining of the heart.

When should you go to the doctor?

If typical gonorrhea symptoms such as burning when urinating, swelling or redness in the intimate area or discharge from the urethra are noticed, a doctor’s visit is recommended. Throat symptoms indicate spread of gonorrhea as a result of oral sex. At the latest when fever or bleeding occurs, medical advice is required. If left untreated, gonorrhea can develop into a chronic condition. As a result, there is a risk of infertility. If symptoms appear immediately or some time after unprotected sex, gonorrhea may be the cause.

Pregnant women and men who already suffer from a chronic disease of the prostate or epididymis should consult their doctor promptly. The same applies to people who have a weakened immune system or cardiovascular disease due to another condition. Gonorrhea is diagnosed and treated by a urologist or gynecologist . The doctor can diagnose the condition with a swab and a urine sample and take appropriate measures. If this happens early, possible consequences such as inflammation of internal organs, infertility and the like can be avoided. Therefore, a doctor should be consulted quickly if the symptoms mentioned occur and do not go away on their own within a few days.

Treatment & Therapy

Gonorrhea is now treated with highly effective antibiotics . Since the well-tried penicillin is now obsolete, the Robert Koch Institute recommends treatment with high doses of 3rd generation cephalosporins (eg ceftriaxone). In the case of the so-called fluoroquinolones, which were often used for therapy, many resistances have developed over time.

Testing of suitable antibiotics would be indicated here, including ofloxacin. It is carried out as a so-called “resistance test” in the medical laboratory. Complicated gonorrhea should be treated over a longer period of time. Since there is often an infection with clamydia and gonorrhea, the attending physician must use antibiotic combinations in this case. In addition to the cephalosporins, either doxycycline or azithromycin are suitable here .

In 2012 it became known that in some countries the gonorrhea pathogen Neisseria gonorrhoeae was already resistant to common broad-spectrum antibiotics. Should no other antidote be developed in the near future, this would mean that infected persons would retain irreversible physical damage for life; for example infertility in men and infertility in women .


Infection with gonorrhea can be effectively avoided by using condoms during sexual intercourse. If the condom feels like a foreign body, you shouldn’t keep changing sexual partners. If a partner is infected with gonorrhea, both must always be treated, otherwise the so-called “ping-pong” effect occurs, i.e. a repeated new infection with gonorrhea. The disease of newborns with gonorrhea is now very well covered by pregnancy prophylaxis and is therefore hardly ever found in the rich industrial nations.


Gonorrhea (gonorrhea) requires early treatment. For effective aftercare, it is important to include your partner in the therapy to prevent reinfection. Until the final test has taken place, those affected should refrain from sexual contact. Otherwise there is a risk that the pathogen will be transmitted to another person.

Patients typically experience pain when urinating and notice a discharge. To reduce these discomforts, daily hygiene is very important. This helps to alleviate the symptoms. The doctor uses a PCR test to determine whether the therapy and follow-up treatment have been successful. This generally takes place two weeks after the end of the therapy.

If this control is positive for gonococci, it is necessary to have another culture and resistance test performed. Depending on the evaluation, a course of antibiotics may be necessary. Depending on how the antibiotic therapy goes, further tests may be due. During the follow-up treatment, it makes sense not only to stop sexual activities. The entire organism needs a certain amount of rest, because the body’s defenses are heavily stressed during recovery.

You can do that yourself

Self-treatment is not advisable for gonorrhea. Scientists agree that treatment with antibiotics is the only remedy. However, more and more limits can also be identified here. Because the pathogens have developed resistance. As a result, some therapies take longer until an effective drug combination is found.

Patients can only support medical therapy. This sets limits to self-help. Those affected refrain from any sexual contact until a test confirms a cure. This prevents the transmission of the pathogens to other people. Because one aspect must not be neglected: sexuality always has an impact on the partner’s life. Often both people are infected at the same time. They must then begin treatment together to prevent recurring cross-infection.

Significant symptoms of gonorrhea sufferers are painful urination and a discharge. Sufficient daily hygiene can at least partially alleviate these signs. To prevent infection in everyday life, the use of condoms is advisable. Chance acquaintances and one-night stands in particular carry the greatest risk of gonorrhea. Prevention is the best way to prevent infection.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.