Q:

What is the cause of gonorrhea?

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Quick Answer

The bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae causes gonorrhea, and it is most often passed from person to person through oral, anal or vaginal intercourse, notes Mayo Clinic. People who are younger, those who have new or multiple sex partners, a previous diagnosis of gonorrhea, or who have other sexually transmitted infections are at higher risk of contracting gonorrhea.

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Full Answer

Gonorrhea usually affects the urethra, rectum or throat, though in women it can also affect the cervix, states Mayo Clinic. Some people may experience no symptoms of gonorrhea, while others experience symptoms in their genital tracts, though it can also affect other parts of the body. Pain while urinating, pus-like discharge from the penis and pain or swelling in one testicle are symptoms of gonorrhea in men. An increase in vaginal discharge, pain while urinating, vaginal bleeding between menstrual cycles, and abdominal and pelvic pain are symptoms of gonorrhea in women.

When left untreated, gonorrhea can cause infertility in men and women, infections that spread through the blood to other areas of the body, an increased risk of contracting HIV or AIDS, and blindness or infections in babies born to mothers with the disease, according to Mayo Clinic. People can help prevent gonorrhea by using condoms, asking their partners to be tested, abstaining from sex with those who have gonorrhea symptoms, and getting screenings if they are at high risk.

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