Symptoms usually occur within two to 14 days after exposure. However, some people infected with gonorrhea never develop noticeable symptoms. It’s important to remember that a person with gonorrhea who doesn’t have symptoms, also called a nonsymptomatic carrier, is still contagious.
A person is more likely to spread the infection to other partners when they don’t have noticeable symptoms.
Symptoms in men. Men may not develop noticeable symptoms for several weeks. Some men may never develop symptoms. Typically, the infection begins to show symptoms a week after its transmission. The first noticeable symptom in men is often a burning or painful sensation during urination.
As it progresses, other symptoms may include:
greater frequency or urgency of urination
a pus-like discharge (or drip) from the penis (white, yellow, beige, or greenish)
swelling or redness at the opening of the penis
swelling or pain in the testicles
a persistent sore throat
Symptoms in women. Many women don’t develop any overt symptoms of gonorrhea. When women do develop symptoms, they tend to be mild or similar to other infections, making them more difficult to identify. Gonorrhea infections can appear much like common vaginal yeast or bacterial infections.
discharge from the vagina (watery, creamy, or slightly green)
pain or burning sensation while urinating
the need to urinate more frequently
heavier periods or spotting
pain upon engaging in sexual intercourse
sharp pain in the lower abdomen