Infection with gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is the fourth most common STD in the Netherlands. Every year, 6,000 people become infected with this disease. Gonorrhea is very contagious and is caused by a bacterium that lives on or in the mucous membranes. In men, this condition is also called ‘drip’. Gonorrhea has different symptoms and consequences for men and women who become infected with it.

What is Gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is an STD caused by a bacterium that lives on or in the mucous membranes of the vagina, penis, anus, eyes and throat. Both men and women can become infected with this condition. The throat can also become infected through oral sex. There are usually no complaints if the anus is infected. there may be some mucus or blood in the stool.

Symptoms in women

Women who have become infected with gonorrhea often have no complaints, so they sometimes do not notice that they have become infected. This means she can infect others without even knowing it.
Sometimes a woman with gonorrhea experiences more discharge than normal. This discharge smells unpleasant and looks different. A woman may also experience pain when urinating.

Symptoms in men

Men experience the first symptoms a few days to two weeks after being infected with gonorrhea. A pus-like discharge may come from the urethra, which is often yellow or green in color. Because of this phenomenon, gonorrhea in men is also called ‘drip’. A man may also experience a burning or irritated feeling while urinating. Men also urinate more often and less at a time. In some cases, the man has no complaints at all, even though he has become infected with gonorrhea. Even without these clear complaints, the man can quickly infect others.

Possible consequences for women

If gonorrhea is not treated (in time), the bacteria can ascend through the uterus to the fallopian tubes. An inflammation can develop there, which can spread to the abdominal cavity. This is called PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease). This inflammation can cause fever and pain in the lower abdomen. It can make you feel very sick. With prompt treatment, the fallopian tube infection can be completely cured. If the inflammation is not treated, or is treated too late, the inflammation can leave scars in the fallopian tubes. These scars can (partially) block the fallopian tubes. This leads to infertility or an ectopic pregnancy. The baby can also become infected during pregnancy. For example, if the eyes come into contact with bacteria in the vagina during childbirth. Good treatment during pregnancy prevents the baby from running unnecessary risks. Always inform the treating physician about the disease during pregnancy.

Possible consequences for men

The bacteria can enter the prostate and epididymis through the vas deferens. This can lead to epididymitis. This causes severe pain in the scrotum, sometimes radiating to the groin. A swelling can be felt in the scrotum and the spermatic cord, which runs upwards, can also be painful and swollen. In some cases, inflammation in the epididymis can cause inflammation in the ball itself. this also causes swelling and pain. An inflammation of the prostate is often accompanied by fever, painful and/or difficult urination and pain in or around the genitals.


In most cases, gonorrhea can be cured with a course of antibiotics and some bed rest. Any inflammation that may arise can also be treated and cured with antibiotics. In some cases, men are advised to wear supportive underwear to relieve the pain that inflammation in the prostate can cause.

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