Gonorrhea Symptoms in Men
Gonorrhea, sometimes referred to as “the clap,” is a highly contagious sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a bacterial infection. While the disease affects both men and women, gonorrhea symptoms in men tend to be more pronounced and obvious, often prompting them to seek help sooner than their female counterparts. And, while there are many common gonorrhea symptoms in men, most men become aware of the disease due to the presence of a thick discharge from the tip of the penis. If left untreated, gonorrhea may spread to other parts of the body and cause complications, so early diagnosis and treatment is paramount.
What to Watch out For
Gonorrhea symptoms, when present, usually become obvious within two weeks after infection. Sometimes, they may be evident as soon as the next day after transmission. Some of the potential gonorrhea symptoms in men, other than discharge from the penis include:
- Pain or burning when urinating
- A need to urinate more frequently
- Anal itching
- Painful bowel movements
- Sore and itchy throat (in oral infections)
Approximately nine out of ten men infected with gonorrhea will experience some symptoms. However, as this statistic shows, there are some men who do not have any symptoms at all. Furthermore, symptoms are often mistaken for other problems or are mild enough that many men ignore them. The disease, though, can still be passed on to others and can still spread to other parts of the body even if no symptoms are present. Because of this fact, it is very important to be tested for gonorrhea if you have engaged in unprotected sexual activity.
The Spread of Gonorrhea
Though gonorrhea is most commonly spread through sexual activity, there are other ways for the disease to be spread. These include:
- The use of infected sex toys
- Touching an infected body part and then touching another body part, thereby spreading the disease
- Any close physical contact to an infected person
- From hand to hand
- From an infected mother to her child during delivery
These types of infections happen rarely, but because they can and do happen, it is always smart to get tested for gonorrhea and other common STDs on a regular basis.
The Gonorrhea/Arthritis Connection
Both men and women are at risk of developing a condition known as gonococcal infection if they allow gonorrhea to go on untreated. While this infection, which can lead to arthritis and permanent joint damage, is more common in women than in men, all infected persons are at risk. Symptoms that may indicate the disease has progressed to this point include:
- Unexplained joint pain
- Frequent, unexplained fevers
- Skin rash or irritation
- Lesions on the skin
Fortunately, gonorrhea never does have to progress to this point. When it is caught and treated early enough, the treatment is relatively simple and painless. However, the only way to know for sure if you have gonorrhea and to get treatment is to visit a healthcare professional. Doctors can test for gonorrhea by swabbing the potentially affected area or by simply collecting and testing a urine sample. Remember, it only takes a few minutes of your time to protect your health and the health of your partners!