Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection most often transmitted through sexual contact. Symptoms of gonorrhea in women can vary widely, and some people may not be symptomatic at all. There are certain telltale symptoms of gonorrhea in women that should be watched for if exposure may have occurred. Some doctors recommend getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) any time unprotected sex has occurred or protection has failed. Catching an STD early can limit complications and allow immediate treatment.
Symptoms of gonorrhea in women may appear in different parts of the body, depending where the infection occurred. If genital areas were exposed to the bacteria, one of the most common symptom is a burning sensation when urinating. This symptoms is extremely easy to miss, as it may be misdiagnosed as a bladder infection. A thick yellow-white discharge may also be a symptom of gonorrhea in women. This may be accompanied by an itching sensation, often leading to misdiagnosis as a yeast infection.
In other parts of the body, symptoms of gonorrhea in women can manifest as an itching or rash-like feeling. Common sites of infection include the back of the throat and the anus. Swelling or a hypersensitive feeling may also appear around the infection site.
If not treated, gonorrhea can lead to serious complications, including severe infections of the pelvis. Symptoms of gonorrhea in women that have advanced to this more serious stage include fevers, cramps and severe pelvic pain, and pain during sexual intercourse. It is vitally important to get treatment if any of these symptoms occur, as they can lead to further complications that may have lifelong effects, such as sterility.
Though understanding the symptoms of gonorrhea in women can help identify the condition, it is important to note that medical experts say up to half of all women infected with the disease show no outward symptoms. Despite no early symptoms, a woman can still be in danger of complications and can also cause the spread of the disease by participating in sexual activity. Pregnant women with gonorrhea can also pass the infection to their infants during labor.
For the safety of both self and others, it is extremely important to get any symptoms of gonorrhea examined by a doctor and treated quickly. Treatment is usually antibiotic, and will clear up the infection in a few days or weeks. Sexually active women may wish to consider regular STD testing for both peace of mind and to avoid unwittingly spreading an infection that was not detected by symptoms.