Symptoms of Gonorrhoea

If treated early, gonorrhoea is unlikely to lead to any complications or long-term problems.

However, without treatment, it can spread to other parts of the body and cause serious problems. 


Symptoms usually develop within 2 weeks of being infected although sometimes they do not appear until many months later. 
Common Indicators of infection in both men and women include: 
unusual discharge, which may be thin or watery and green or yellow in colour 
pain or a burning sensation when passing urine.

Gonorrhoea infection in both men and women can be asymptomatic with many women frequently experiencing no symptoms at all. For this reason, partner notification is essential for all people with newly diagnosed gonorrhoea.

In men, if left untreated, gonorrhoea can lead to epididymitis, infertility and prostatitis. 

In women, untreated gonorrhoea can spread to the reproductive organs and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This is estimated to occur in 10 to 20% of cases of untreated gonorrhoea. PID can lead to long-term pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy and infertility.  

During pregnancy, gonorrhoea can cause:

  • miscarriage

  • premature labour

  • the baby being born with conjunctivitis. This can also lead to neonatal blindness.

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Click here to find out more about sexually transmitted infections and sexual health with advice available from the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (