Gonorrhea infection is a common STI caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, a gram-negative diplococcus bacterium that is closely related to other human Neisseria species.
Men typically present with a urethral discharge; women are often asymptomatic, but may have vaginal discharge.
Risk factors include multiple sexual partners in recent months, known partner with gonorrhea, drug use, prior STI, and men who have sex with men.
If left untreated, N gonorrhoeae can disseminate to areas of the body to cause skin and synovial infections; rarer complications include meningitis, endocarditis, and perihepatic abscesses.
High rates of antimicrobial resistance have been reported, and antibiotic treatment should be guided by local and national guidelines. The main treatment for uncomplicated gonorrhea is monotherapy with single-dose intramuscular ceftriaxone.
The treatment of N gonorrhoeae is important in the prevention of infertility, chronic pelvic pain, and ectopic pregnancy in women.
If acquired congenitally from an infected mother, the neonate can present with ophthalmia neonatorum, which left untreated can cause blindness.
Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a gram-negative diplococcus bacterium that is closely related to other human Neisseria species. Gonorrhea is any manifestation of infection by N gonorrhoeae. Aside from causing infection in the lower genital tract, it can also cause conjunctivitis and severe disseminated infections especially if acquired congenitally. The pathogen is almost exclusively sexually transmitted and can be found in the genital tract, pharynx, and rectum.
History and exam
- pelvic pain in women
- urethral irritation in men
- dysuria in men
- tenderness and/or swelling of testis
- tenderness and/or swelling of prostate
- anal pruritus
- mucopurulent discharge from the rectum
- rectal pain
- rectal bleeding
- vaginal discharge
- cervical friability
- uterine, adnexal, or cervical motion tenderness
- uterine mass
- anterior cervical lymphadenopathy
- skin lesions (papules, bullae, petechiae, or necrotic) at extremities
- purpuric rash
- positive Brudzinski and Kernig sign
- focal cerebral signs
- ophthalmia neonatorum
- urethritis (infantile)
Sheldon Morris, MD, MPH
Division of Infectious Diseases
Department of Medicine
UCSD Antiviral Research Center
Division of Family Medicine
Department of Family and Preventive Medicine
UCSD La Jolla Family and Sports Medicine
SM has completed a National Institutes of Health contract for research study on the Visby Medical Sexual Health Test. SM is an author of a number of references cited in this topic.
Vani Dandolu, MD, MPH
Ob/Gyn and Urology
Division of Urogynecology
Associate Residency Program Director
Temple University Hospital
VD declares that he has no competing interests.
Eva Jungmann, FRCP MSc
Consultant in Genitourinary and HIV Medicine
Archway Centre & Mortimer Market Centre
EJ declares that she has no competing interests.
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