Gonorrhea in Throat, Mouth, or Eyes
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that affects both women and men.
It is a bacterial infection caused by neisseria gonorrhoeae that is transmitted by having oral, anal, or vaginal sex with a person who already has gonorrhea.
What is gonorrhea?
The infection is spread through semen and vaginal fluids, and it infects the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, urethra, or anus. It can also infect the eyes, mouth, and throat, sometimes called oral gonorrhea.
Read more below to learn about symptoms and treatment of gonorrhea in throat, mouth, or eyes.
Symptoms of Gonorrhea in Throat, Mouth, or Eyes
Oral and eye gonorrhea symptoms include:
- Painful, burning or swollen glands in throat – This is a very common sign of a gonorrhea infection from oral sex.
- Sore throat or difficulty swallowing – Sometimes oral gonorrhea is accompanied by flu-like symptoms, such as a sore throat.
- Conjunctivitis – This is a term for itchy, red eyes due to an infection, which can also be accompanied by pus or sensitivity to light.
Gonorrhea often doesn’t cause any symptoms. Even with no symptoms, it is still possible to transmit the disease and damage the reproductive system.
How long does it take for gonorrhea to show in throat?
Gonorrhea can appear within one or two weeks after having sex with a partner with gonorrhea.
Can mouthwash kill gonorrhea?
Mouthwash may help reduce the risk of contracting gonorrhea in the mouth and throat. In a small study men who rinsed using mouthwash were found 80% less likely to contract the disease.
That said, mouthwash is not considered an effective cure for gonorrhea and medication should be prescribed by a doctor.
Can you get gonorrhea from oral sex?
Yes, engaging in oral sex by either giving oral sex to someone with infected genitals or receiving oral sex by someone with an infected throat or mouth can result in a gonorrhea infection.
While the infection comes from semen and vaginal fluids, it can infect the eyes, mouth, and throat in addition to the genitals, urethra, and anus.
Will I pass on gonorrhea to my baby if I am pregnant?
Women who are pregnant can pass gonorrhea onto their baby during birth. This can result in the baby having joint, eye, or blood infections.
For gonorrhea transmitted during childbirth, it is most common for the baby to have an eye infection also called gonococcal conjunctivitis.
Certain traits may increase your likelihood of contracting gonorrhea:
- Engaging with multiple sexual partners in one year – The more partners you engage with, the more likely you will be exposed to an infected person and contract an STD.
- Having unprotected sex – Condoms can reduce the likelihood of you contracting an STD; however, condoms are never 100% effective. If you are concerned you may have an STD, you should get tested regardless of whether you used a condom in your last sexual encounter.
- Younger than 24 – Individuals younger than 24 tend to practice unprotected sex more often than other age groups and are less likely to be tested.
- Previous diagnosis of a STD – Having already contracted an STD increases your body’s susceptibility to contracting another STD. Contracting gonorrhea can increase your body’s susceptibility to contracting HIV/AIDS.
Is Throat Gonorrhea curable?
You and your sexual partner(s) should always be tested after three months of completing treatment, especially if you are unsure whether your partner(s) received treatment.
How is throat gonorrhea treated?
Since gonorrhea is caused by a bacterial infection, gonorrhea treatment is a regimen of oral antibiotics regardless of which area in the body is infected.
The infection should clear after one to two weeks, if you take the treatment properly.
Common antibiotics prescribed for gonorrhea treatment are:
When to Contact a Doctor
If you have any of the symptoms described or have recently had unprotected sex with a partner of unknown STD status, you should get tested.
In general, if you are sexually active and have any unusual discharge, burning sensations, or pain while having sex, you may have a STD and should get tested.
If you are a woman, you should contact a doctor immediately if you have any of the following symptoms as they can be a sign of a serious complication from gonorrhea called pelvic inflammatory disease:
- Fainting or signs of shock
- Serious lower abdominal pain
- Temperature that is higher than 101°F
You can make an online appointment with a PlushCare doctor to receive an official diagnosis and treatment plan, including necessary prescription antibiotics.
Book an appointment, here.
Read more of our Gonorrhea Series:
- Why is Gonorrhea Called the Clap?
- Is Gonorrhea Cureable?
- Gonorrhea vs. Chlamydia: What’s the Difference?
nhs.uk. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. Accessed October 7, 2019, at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pelvic-inflammatory-disease-pid/
Iwannaknow.org. Gonorrhea. Accessed October 7, 2019, at http://www.iwannaknow.org/teens/sti/gonorrhea.html