Gonorrhoea is less common than chlamydia but still affects thousands of people in the UK. It's easily passed between people through:

  • unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex

  • sharing vibrators or other sex toys that have not been washed or covered with a new condom each time they are used

  • It can also be passed from a pregnant woman to her baby


Not everyone experiences symptoms of gonorrhoea.

In women:

  • an unusual discharge from the vagina, which may be thick and green or yellow in colour

  • pain when peeing

  • pain or tenderness in the lower abdominal area (this is less common)

  • bleeding between periods or heavier periods (this is less common)

In men:

Nine out of ten men who contract gonorrhoea experience symptoms after they are infected, which can include:

  • an unusual discharge from the tip of the penis, which may be white, yellow or green

  • pain or a burning sensation when peeing

  • inflammation (swelling) of the foreskin

  • pain or tenderness in the testicles or prostate gland (this is rare)

In men and women:

Both men and women can also catch gonorrhoea at other sites of the body. These include:

  • infection in the rectum, which may cause pain, discomfort or discharge

  • infection in the throat, which does not usually have any symptoms

  • infection in the eyes, which can cause pain, swelling, irritation and discharge (conjunctivitis)

Getting tested

If you think you might have gonorrhoea we recommend that you get checked at your local sexual health service as soon as possible or request a free and confidential STI postal test kit here.

It is important to receive treatment for gonorrhoea as quickly as possible. It is unlikely the infection will go away without treatment and, if you delay treatment, you risk the infection causing complications and more serious health problems. You may also pass the infection onto someone else.

Gonorrhoea is treated with a single dose of antibiotics.

Useful links


*see our Latest News page for information about antibiotic resistant gonorrhoea Safe sex reminder as antibiotic resistant gonorrhoea investigations continue