Skip to main navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer For Medicare For Providers For Brokers For Employers Español For Individuals & Families: For Individuals & Families Medical Dental Other Supplemental Explore coverage through work How to Buy Health Insurance Types of Dental Insurance Open Enrollment vs. Special Enrollment See all topics Shop for Medicare plans Member Guide Find a Doctor Log in to myCigna
Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Gonorrhea


Condition Basics

What is gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is an infection that is spread through sexual contact. It most often infects the reproductive organs. Gonorrhea doesn't cause problems if you treat it right away. But if you don't treat it early, it can lead to serious problems.

What causes it?

Gonorrhea is caused by a type of bacteria. It can be spread during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. If you're pregnant and infected, you can pass it to your baby during delivery. Anyone who has gonorrhea can pass it on, even if they don't have symptoms.

What are the symptoms?

Many people have no symptoms of gonorrhea. If there are symptoms, they can take several days to appear. Or it may take several weeks. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain when you urinate.
  • Abnormal discharge from the penis or vagina.

If it isn't treated, the infection can move into the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. This is called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Symptoms can include lower belly pain, pain during sex, vaginal bleeding, and a fever.

You can spread gonorrhea even if you don't have symptoms. You're contagious until you've been treated.

How is it diagnosed?

To diagnose gonorrhea, your doctor will ask you questions about your past health and your sexual history, such as how many partners you have. Your doctor may also do a physical exam to look for signs of infection.

Urine or fluid from the infected area will be tested for gonorrhea. You may also be tested for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) at the same time.

As soon as you find out that you have gonorrhea, be sure to let your sex partner(s) know. Experts recommend that you tell everyone you've had sex with in the past 60 days. If you haven't had sex in the past 60 days, contact the last person you had sex with.

How is gonorrhea treated?

Antibiotics are used to treat gonorrhea. Early treatment helps prevent the spread of the infection. It also lowers your risk for other problems, such as pelvic inflammatory disease.

You and your sex partners need to take the antibiotics. If only one person takes the medicine, you may keep passing the infection back and forth.

To make sure that the medicine works, you need to take all of the medicine as directed. You also need to avoid all sexual contact while taking the medicine. If your treatment is a single dose of medicine, do not have any sexual contact for 7 days after treatment. The medicine needs time to work.

How can you prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?

It's easier to prevent an STI than it is to treat one:

  • Limit your sex partners. The safest sex is with one partner who has sex only with you.
  • Talk with your partner or partners about STIs before you have sex. Find out if they are at risk for an STI. Remember that it's possible to have an STI and not know it.
  • Wait to have sex with new partners until you've each been tested.
  • Don't have sex if you have symptoms of an infection or if you are being treated for an STI.
  • Use a condom (a male or female condom) every time you have sex. Condoms are the only form of birth control that also helps prevent STIs.
  • If you're pregnant, be extra careful. Some STIs can be passed to your baby during delivery.

Vaccines are available for some STIs, such as HPV. Ask your doctor for more information.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

© 1995-2022 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Related Links

Chlamydia Health Screening: Finding Health Problems Early Syphilis Genital Herpes Sexually Transmitted Infections Genital Warts (Human Papillomavirus) Gonorrhea Test HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) Infection

<cipublic-spinner variant="large"><span>Loading…</span></cipublic-spinner>

Page Footer

I want to...

Get an ID card File a claim View my claims and EOBs Check coverage under my plan See prescription drug list Find an in-network doctor, dentist, or facility Find a form Find 1095-B tax form information View the Cigna Glossary Contact Cigna


Individuals and Families Medicare Employers Brokers Providers

Secure Member Sites

myCigna member portal Health Care Provider portal Cigna for Employers Client Resource Portal Cigna for Brokers

Cigna Company Information

About Cigna Company Profile Careers Newsroom Investors Suppliers Third Party Administrators International Evernorth

 Cigna. All rights reserved.

Privacy Legal Product Disclosures Cigna Company Names Customer Rights Accessibility Non-Discrimination Notice [PDF] Language Assistance [PDF] Report Fraud Sitemap


Individual and family medical and dental insurance plans are insured by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (CHLIC), Cigna HealthCare of Arizona, Inc., Cigna HealthCare of Illinois, Inc., and Cigna HealthCare of North Carolina, Inc. Group health insurance and health benefit plans are insured or administered by CHLIC, Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (CGLIC), or their affiliates (see a listing of the legal entities  that insure or administer group HMO, dental HMO, and other products or services in your state). Accidental Injury, Critical Illness, and Hospital Care plans or insurance policies are distributed exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, are administered by Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, and are insured by either (i) Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company (Bloomfield, CT); (ii) Life Insurance Company of North America (“LINA”) (Philadelphia, PA); or (iii) New York Life Group Insurance Company of NY (“NYLGICNY”) (New York, NY), formerly known as Cigna Life Insurance Company of New York. The Cigna name, logo, and other Cigna marks are owned by Cigna Intellectual Property, Inc. LINA and NYLGICNY are not affiliates of Cigna.

All insurance policies and group benefit plans contain exclusions and limitations. For availability, costs and complete details of coverage, contact a licensed agent or Cigna sales representative. This website is not intended for residents of New Mexico.

Selecting these links will take you away from to another website, which may be a non-Cigna website. Cigna may not control the content or links of non-Cigna websites. Details