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What are some common signs and symptoms of gonorrhea?

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Common symptoms of gonorrhea in men include a white or yellow penis discharge, a burning feeling while urinating and painful testicles, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although most women have no symptoms or may mistake mild symptoms for vaginal or bladder infections, occasionally they may have a vaginal discharge, pain when urinating or vaginal bleeding outside their typical menstrual schedules. Signs of rectal gonorrhea infections may include itching, soreness, bleeding, discharge and painful defecation.

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Untreated gonorrhea may spread through the bloodstream and manifest symptoms such as rash, fever and arthritis-like joint pain, explains MedlinePlus. People are more likely to contract gonorrhea if their partners have had sexually transmitted diseases in the past, they have sex with multiple partners or they do not use condoms while having sex. Men typically show symptoms two to five days after becoming infected, but the symptoms may not be obvious for up to a month. Many people have no symptoms or mild symptoms, so they are in danger of complications and risk passing the disease to others.

Doctors diagnose gonorrhea by examining a discharge or DNA sample, according to MedlinePlus. Depending on the severity of the infection, treatment involves antibiotics that patients take in one large oral dose, several smaller oral doses, an injection followed by pills or an IV drip during hospitalization. In women, untreated gonorrhea may cause permanent problems such as infertility, blockage of the fallopian tubes, ectopic pregnancies and chronic abdominal and pelvic pain, warns the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In men, it may cause painful testicles and sterility. In rare cases, untreated gonorrhea can be life-threatening.

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