Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can affect both men and women. It is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which can be transmitted through vaginal, anal, or oral sex with an infected partner. While gonorrhea often presents with similar symptoms in both genders, there are some common and uncommon symptoms specific to males.
1. Urination problems: One of the most common symptoms experienced by men with gonorrhea is pain or a burning sensation during urination. This is due to the infection affecting the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body.
2. Discharge: Another common symptom is a white, yellowish, or greenish discharge from the penis. The discharge may appear thick or thin and can have an unpleasant odor. It is generally more noticeable in the morning.
3. Testicular pain and swelling: Gonorrhea can also cause pain and swelling in the testicles or scrotum. This may occur if the infection spreads to the epididymis, a tube located at the back of each testicle that stores and carries sperm.
4. Rectal symptoms: If the infection is acquired through anal intercourse, men may experience rectal symptoms such as itching, discomfort, bleeding, or discharge from the rectum.
1. Sore throat: While uncommon, gonorrhea can infect the throat if oral sex is performed with an infected partner. This can result in a sore throat, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, or even difficulty swallowing.
2. Conjunctivitis: Gonorrhea can be transmitted to the eyes through sexual contact or by touching infected genital fluid and then touching the eyes. This can cause redness, discharge, and itching in one or both eyes.
3. Joint pain: In rare cases, gonorrhea can cause joint pain and inflammation, a condition known as gonococcal arthritis. The joints most commonly affected are the knees, ankles, wrists, and elbows.
It is important to note that some men infected with gonorrhea may not experience any symptoms at all. This is known as asymptomatic gonorrhea. The absence of symptoms does not mean the infection is not present, and individuals can still transmit the infection to their sexual partners. Regular STI testing is essential to identify and treat infections promptly.
If you suspect you may have gonorrhea or have been exposed to the infection, it is crucial to seek medical attention. A healthcare professional can conduct appropriate testing, diagnose the infection, and provide appropriate treatment. Untreated gonorrhea can lead to serious complications, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and an increased risk of HIV transmission.
Practicing safe sex by using condoms consistently and correctly, getting regular STI check-ups, and limiting sexual partners can significantly reduce the risk of acquiring or transmitting gonorrhea and other STIs. Education and open communication about sexual health are vital in preventing the spread of infections and maintaining overall well-being.