What is it?

Gonorrhoea is a bacterial STI.  It is highly contagious.  It can be spread by vaginal, oral, or anal contact. Gonorrhoea is one of the fastest growing STIs in Ireland.  Most people often have no symptoms, but it can lead to PID and infertility in women and reduced fertility in men.  Gonorrhoea is increasingly resistant to antibiotics so it is important to test regularly, get the right medication and to have a test of cure two weeks after you have finished your treatment.

How can I get it?

Any sexual activity with an infected person means that you are at risk of contracting gonorrhoea. It can live in the genital tract, throat and rectum of both men and women. The testes, penis and semen of men.  The vagina of women.

How do I know if I have it?

Most people have mild or no symptoms.  The only way to know if you have gonorrhoea is to get tested.  When there are symptoms they will usually start between 5 and 30 days after sex.  Symptoms will differ slightly between men and women.  They may include:

  • Burning sensation when urinating 
  • Painful bowel movement
  • Sore throat
  • Conjunctivitis
  • For women: yellowish discharge from the vagina and/ or vaginal bleeding
  • For men: painful or swollen testicles and/ or white, yellow or green unusual discharge from the penis
Did you know …

There were nearly 1,500 new cases of Gonorrhoea in Ireland last year? Was your last partner one of them?

Gonorrhoea testing

Testing with Better2Know is fast, easy and painless.  Our standard test is done on a urine sample.  If you want to know if you have gonorrhoea in your throar or rectum, then we would need to take a swab of these sites. If you choose our standard test your results will be available two days from when the sample is received in the laboratory.   At some clinics in Ireland you can choose our instant Gonorrhoea test and have your results in around 20 minutes.  

You can also get a Home Sample Collection Kit - visit our Home STD Testing page for more details.


A gonorrhoea infection is usually curable.  There is a strain that is resistant to antibiotics, although this is rare.  It can be treated with a course of antibiotics if detected. You should repeat the test two weeks after you finish your medication to check it has worked.

What happens if I do not treat my infection?

Gonorrhoea can lead to infertility.  It is a very preventable cause of infertility. Most infected women have no symptoms until their fertility is affected. If left untreated it can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). PID can lead to infertility and potentially fatal ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.

Pregnant women with the infection can have higher rates of miscarriage, infection of the amniotic sac and fluid, preterm birth, and Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes (PPROM). Mothers can transmit the bacteria to their unborn child during pregnancy or labour. Newborn infants can develop an infection most commonly in the eyes and may eventually go blind if left untreated.

Men with gonorrhoea can have reduced ferility.  Men with an untreated infection are more likely to develop prostate cancer.

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