Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It can be passed on through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. While it can affect both men and women, the symptoms and consequences of gonorrhea can vary.
In men, the symptoms of gonorrhea may not always be obvious. This is why it is often referred to as the “silent” infection. Many men may not experience any symptoms at all or may mistake the symptoms for a minor infection, leading them to ignore the issue and unknowingly spread the infection to others.
However, beneath the surface, gonorrhea can cause significant damage if left untreated. Here are some hidden symptoms that men with gonorrhea may experience:
1. Discharge: One of the most common symptoms of gonorrhea in men is an abnormal discharge from the penis. The discharge is usually thick, white, yellow, or green in color and may have a foul odor. However, it is crucial to note that not all infected men will experience this symptom.
2. Painful urination: Gonorrhea can cause inflammation of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body. This inflammation can lead to a burning sensation or pain while urinating. Men who experience this symptom should seek medical attention as it is an indication of a potential STI.
3. Swollen testicles: In some cases, gonorrhea can lead to inflammation of the epididymis, a tube located at the back of the testicles. This swelling can cause pain or discomfort in the testicular area. If left untreated, this condition, known as epididymitis, can lead to infertility.
4. Rectal symptoms: Gonorrhea can also infect the rectum, particularly if engaging in anal sex. Men who have contracted gonorrhea through anal intercourse may experience symptoms such as anal itching, discharge, or pain during bowel movements.
5. Throat infection: Engaging in unprotected oral sex can lead to gonorrhea infection in the throat. While this symptom may not cause any discomfort for some men, others may experience a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, or swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
6. Eye infections: Although rare, gonorrhea can also infect the eyes. Men who have performed oral sex on someone infected with gonorrhea may experience symptoms such as redness, itching, discharge, or sensitivity to light in their eyes.
It is essential to remember that symptoms may differ from person to person, and some individuals may experience no symptoms at all. Even if the symptoms are not evident, it is crucial for sexually active men to get regularly tested for STIs, including gonorrhea, to avoid complications and prevent its spread.
Untreated gonorrhea can have serious health consequences, including the risk of infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, increased susceptibility to HIV infection, and the infection spreading to other parts of the body.
If you suspect you may have gonorrhea or have engaged in risky sexual activities, it is imperative to get tested promptly. Gonorrhea can be easily diagnosed through a urine sample, swab, or blood test, and it is curable with antibiotics prescribed by a healthcare professional.
In conclusion, while the symptoms of gonorrhea in men may not always be apparent, the hidden consequences of untreated gonorrhea can have a lasting impact on their health and fertility. Regular STI testing and safer sexual practices are vital in preventing the spread of this infection and maintaining overall sexual health.