Gonorrhea – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment (2022)

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae that causes disease in the genitals, rectum, throat or eye. The disease is transmitted through unprotected sex. It can also be transmitted from mother to infant during birth. The incidence of gonorrhea in Norway is increasing, particularly among men who have sex with men. Gonorrhea is very common worldwide and much of the infection in Norway originates from abroad. The symptoms can vary and often it causes little or few symptoms. Therefore, the bacteria spreads easily. Untreated, gonorrhea can cause infertility and is therefore important to treat.

We now offer a home test that can detect both chlamydia and gonorrhea. Order at home and receive an answer between 3-7 working days.

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What is gonorrhea?

Like chlamydia, gonorrhea is defined as a sexually transmitted disease and is caused by a bacterium. The bacterium is called Neisseria gonorrhoaea or gonococcus. The bacterium attacks the inner cell layers of the urethra or cervix, creating so-called urethritis and cervicitis. If the bacterium is transferred to a newborn during birth, it can cause eye catarrh in the child. If the bacterium comes into contact with the rectum or throat, it will not cause a dangerous disease, but the person is considered a carrier and is treated in the same way as those mentioned above.

Untreated gonorrhea can lead to pelvic infections in women and later infertility. Untreated gonorrhea in men can cause inflammation of the epididymis and later infertility. A rare but serious complication is sepsis, also known as blood poisoning. This requires treatment in the specialist health service. Condoms protect against the disease.

Symptoms of gonorrhea

The disease manifests itself differently in women and men. The incubation period is 2-7 days after the time of infection.


the cervix is attacked in women and this causes few or no symptoms. If the disease goes untreated for a long time, the discharge can change and there will be discomfort from the vagina and intermittent bleeding. Some women may experience burning when urinating and more frequent toilet visits. Gonorrhea can in some cases spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes. Symptoms of this are lower abdominal pain, intermittent bleeding, fever and an affected general condition.


As the bacteria causes disease in the urethra, discomfort will arise from the penis when urinating. Discharge may drip from the urethral opening and, in some cases, ulcers may occur. In the event of a long-term illness, the bacteria can spread to the epididymis and cause pain, increased heat in the scrotum and swelling.

How Dr.Dropin can help you

Sampling is offered to anyone with symptoms and anyone who has had unprotected sex. 14 days should have passed since the assumed time of infection. PCR is the preferred test method and in the technique DNA from the gonococcus will be detected. The disadvantage is that the technique does not provide resistance determination. Therefore, patients receiving treatment are retested after two weeks, and if the retest is positive, a sample will be taken for culture and determination of resistance.

To test for gonorrhea, we now offer a home test that can detect both chlamydia and gonorrhea in the abdomen, rectum and/or throat.

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You can also book an appointment physically with either a doctor or gynecologist for testing.


In asymptomatic women, a swab sample is taken from the vagina and sent for PCR. In women with symptoms, the sample should be taken from the cervix and the doctor does this during a gynecological examination. If infection is suspected in the rectum or throat, a swab sample is taken directly from here and sent to PCR.


A urine sample for PCR is the preferred alternative. The first drops that come during urination are sent for analysis. If infection is suspected in the rectum or throat, a swab sample is taken from here.

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Treatment for gonorrhea

Everyone with a positive PCR or a partner with proven gonorrhea must be treated. Patients with convincing symptoms and a high probability of gonorrhea are also offered treatment before test results are available. Standard treatment is antibiotics as a single dose. This is injected into the gluteal muscle. All Dr. Dropin clinics have this treatment available.

After treatment, the patient is observed for 30 minutes. The vast majority will tolerate the treatment well without significant discomfort. The treatment for gonorrhea is free. You can choose to have the injection inserted in public clinics, or in one of our clinics for a fixed consultation price of NOK 695.

NB: In Bergen, Trondheim and Stavanger, patients with positive gonorrhea will be referred to the department for skin and venereal disease. In Oslo, Dr. Dropin offers testing and treatment in our clinics.

Due to increasing resistance, retesting is done 2 weeks after treatment to check whether the treatment was correct. Patients must not have unprotected sex during this period.

Gonorrhea is notifiable to MSIS (notification system for infectious diseases) and in the event of a positive test, infection tracing is required by law. In collaboration with a doctor, you will find a solution on how to inform your partner(s). Partner treatment is done routinely.


My partner has been diagnosed with gonorrhea. What do I do?

You book an appointment with a doctor or a home test, and will receive treatment.

How much does the treatment for gonorrhea cost?

Treatment for gonorrhea is free. If you receive treatment with us, you only pay for the doctor's consultation.

I have contracted gonorrhea and do not want to tell my partner. Can the doctor do this?

Yes, the doctor responsible for your diagnosis and treatment is required by law to carry out infection detection. If you do not wish to tell your partner, your doctor will do this.

Is gonorrhea dangerous?

Yes. Gonorrhea can lead to infertility and, in rare cases, sepsis.

Can you have gonorrhea and chlamydia at the same time?

Yes, and that is not unusual. When you are tested for gonorrhea, you will always be tested for chlamydia as well.

I am pregnant and have tested positive for gonorrhea. Is this dangerous for the child?

Pregnant women are treated for gonorrhea in the same way as non-pregnant women. Before the water breaks and birth, the chance of infecting the child is small. If, on the other hand, the mother is infected during childbirth, this can give the child eye catarrh caused by gonococci. This needs to be addressed.

Author: Kari Madeleine G. Hilde

Last updated: 15.12.2022