Gonorrhoea is an infection caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. This bacteria can live in the: vagina, womb, cervix (entrance to the womb), urethra (tube carrying urine out of the body when you pee), and the rectum (back passage). It can sometimes live in the throat and eyes.

Anyone who has sex can catch it - You don’t have to have lots of sexual partners to get it.

It can be painful and, if it is not treated early, it can lead to painful complications and even affect your fertility.

How do I get it?

  • You can get Gonorrhoea from having sex with someone who has it. The bacteria is carried in semen (cum or pre-cum) as well as vaginal and rectal fluids so it can be passed on by unprotected (without a condom) vaginal and anal sex. 
  • Gonorrhoea can also live unnoticed in the back of the throat and so it can be picked up and passed on through oral sex (going down, giving or receiving head).
  • Gonorrhoea can cause an eye infection if someone rubs their eyes after they have touched genitals which are infected.
  • Gonorrhoea can be passed from a pregnant woman to her baby when the baby passes through the vagina during birth. The bacteria can cause infections in the baby including conjunctivitis (the eye).
  • Gonorrhoea can also be passed by sharing sex toys that aren’t cleaned or aren’t covered with a new condom each time they are shared.

What might I notice if I have it (Symptoms)?

10% of men and 50% of women with gonorrhoea don’t notice anything.

Symptoms can occur about 3-14 days after coming into contact with gonorrhoea or many months later once the infection has spread.


For Men

  • pain when passing urine (having a pee)
  • a cloudy liquid (discharge) coming out of the penis tip: it can be white, yellow or green.
  • pain in the testicles


For Women

  • pain when you have sex 
  • bleeding after or during sex
  • lower abdominal pain (pain below your belly button)
  • unusual vaginal liquid (discharge) 
  • pain when passing urine (having a pee)
  • rarely, bleeding between periods or heavier periods (including women who are taking hormonal contraception)


For men and women

  • Infection in the rectum (back passage) is often silent, but it can cause discomfort and discharge.
  • Eye infection usually leads to irritation, redness or a sticky discharge in the eye.
  • Infection in the throat usually has no symptoms.

How do I get tested?

Gonorrhoea tests are very easy to do. It is usually a urine sample for men and for women a self-taken swab (like a cotton bud).

Swabs can also be taken from other parts of the body as appropriate to symptoms and types of sex (anal or oral).

Please order a self test kit

For females, if you have pelvic pain and bleeding after sex please book an appointment online

What is the treatment?

Usually an antibiotic injection.

You would need to avoid sex for about a week until you and current sexual partners have completed the treatment.