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Gonorrhoea is caused by bacteria, which is easily passed from one person to another through sexual contact.

The bacteria usually live inside the cells of the cervix (entrance to the womb), the urethra (tube from where urine comes), the rectum (back passage), the throat and occasionally the eyes. The infection can spread if you have vaginal, anal, oral sex or share sex toys.

Signs and Symptoms

Women  Men 
An unusual vaginal discharge which may be thin/watery or yellow/greenish A white, yellow or green discharge from the tip of the penis
Pain while passing urine Pain when passing urine
Lower abdominal pain or tenderness Pain or tenderness in the testicles


If left untreated
Without proper treatment the infection can spread to other parts of the body causing damage and serious long-term complications. In women Gonorrhoea can spread to other reproductive organs causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

This can lead to long-term pelvic pain, blocked fallopian tubes, ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy that occurs outside the womb) and infertility. In men it may lead to inflamed testicles, an inflamed prostate gland and infertility.

Any concerns?
If you have any concerns please contact GUM/Sexual Health clinic. There are GUM services provided across Northern Ireland, see map of services for more information.

Page last updated:10 January 2017