Understanding Penile Gonorrhea: Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention

Aarohi Batra
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Penile Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is a prevalent Sexually Transmitted Infection caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

It affects various parts of the body, including the male genital tract, and causes Penile Gonorrhea. 

Though it is a prevalent STI, only 10% to 15% of males experience symptoms of a Gonorrhea infection.

Penile Gonorrhea has different symptoms than Gonorrhea in females and requires prompt attention and treatment.

This article delves into Penile Gonorrhea and provides insights into its causes symptoms, and proactive measures for prevention.

Symptoms of Penile Gonorrhea

painful erectionSource: DAPA_IMAGES
Painful urination

Penile Gonorrhea primarily affects males and presents several noticeable symptoms:

  • Painful urination: Men with penile Gonorrhea commonly experience discomfort or pain during urination, often described as a burning sensation
  • Pus-like discharge: A prominent symptom involves the discharge of pus-like fluid from the tip of the penis. This discharge might be yellowish or white
  • Testicular pain or swelling: In some cases, individuals might notice pain or swelling in one of the testicles

These symptoms usually indicate an active Gonorrheal infection in the genital tract. 

However, it’s crucial to note that some individuals infected with Gonorrhea might not display any symptoms, leading to potential transmission to sexual partners unknowingly.

Gonorrhea is more prevalent in individuals such as men having sex with men, sex workers, transgender women, and young people. 

Causes of Penile Gonorrhea

It is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the same organism responsible for general Gonorrhea infections. 

The transmission of this bacteria occurs primarily through sexual activities, particularly through the exchange of sexual fluids like semen or vaginal fluid. 

Unprotected sex is a significant risk factor for contracting Penile Gonorrhea. 

In individuals assigned male at birth, the infection typically begins in the urethra. 

Sharing sex toys that have not been properly cleaned or covered with a new condom can cause the infection.

Complications of Penile Gonorrhea

Penile Gonorrhea, when left untreated, poses significant risks and potential complications for affected individuals.

Epididymitis and infertility in men

Untreated Gonorrhea in men can lead to the inflammation of the epididymis. 

Epididymis is a coiled tube located at the back of the testicles where the sperm ducts are situated. 

The inflammation of the epididymis can result in scarring and blockages, potentially leading to infertility. 

Systemic infections

Gonorrhea has the potential to spread throughout the body via the bloodstream, causing systemic infections. 

Joints are particularly vulnerable to infection, resulting in a condition known as Disseminated Gonococcal Infection (DGI). 

Disseminated Gonococcal Infection (DGI) can lead to joint pain, skin lesions, and, in severe cases, life-threatening complications such as septicemia. It is crucial to seek medical attention promptly if you experience symptoms such as fever, joint pain, or skin rashes.

Symptoms of DGI may include fever, skin sores, rash, joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. 

Increased risk of HIV/AIDS

Individuals with Gonorrhea are at an increased risk of contracting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that leads to AIDS. 

Having both Gonorrhea and HIV can make individuals more susceptible to transmitting both infections to their sexual partners. 

Diagnosis and testing for Penile Gonorrhea

Urine sample (urine culture test)Source: pixelshot
Urine sample (urine culture test)

Accurate diagnosis of Penile Gonorrhea involves specific tests conducted by healthcare professionals. 

These tests include:

  • Analyzing a urine sample to detect the presence of Gonorrhea bacteria in the urethra
  • Collecting swabs from the affected area, such as the urethra, for laboratory analysis to identify the bacteria responsible for the infection
  • Taking a fluid sample from the penis for testing

Healthcare providers might also recommend testing for other common STIs, such as Chlamydia, as these infections often coexist.

Treatment of Penile Gonorrhea

The primary treatment for Penile Gonorrhea involves targeted antibiotics. 

The CDC recommends antibiotics like Ceftriaxone which is typically administered through injection.

Primarily a single dose of 500 mg of intramuscular Ceftriaxone is given.

For individuals allergic to Ceftriaxone, an alternative treatment may be administered. 

This alternative involves a shot of Gentamicin (240 milligrams) along with 2 grams of Azithromycin, which is taken orally.

It’s crucial to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions regarding the medications, dosage, and duration of the treatment. 

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Prevention strategies

Use a condomSource: rattanakun
Use a condom

Effective prevention strategies against penile Gonorrhea and STIs, in general, include:

  • Safe sexual practices: Consistent use of condoms during sexual activity significantly reduces the risk of Gonorrhea transmission
  • Limiting sexual partners: Reducing the number of sexual partners and maintaining a mutually monogamous relationship lowers the risk of contracting Gonorrhea
  • Regular screening: Annual screenings, especially for sexually active individuals, partner testing 
  • Partner treatment: Ensuring partner treatment upon diagnosis, help prevent re-infection and further transmission


Penile Gonorrhea, caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae, is a prevalent and concerning Sexually Transmitted Infection affecting the male genital tract.

Recognizable symptoms include painful urination, pus-like discharge, and testicular pain or swelling. 

Transmission occurs through unprotected sexual activities, with the infection typically starting in the urethra.

Prompt attention is crucial due to potential complications, such as epididymitis leading to infertility, systemic infections, and an increased risk of HIV/AIDS. 

Diagnosis involves urine tests, swab testing, and fluid sample analysis, often accompanied by screening for other common STIs.

Treatment primarily relies on targeted antibiotics like Ceftriaxone, administered through injection.

Emphasizing the importance of early detection, treatment, and proactive measures is key to preventing complications and further transmission. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Penile Gonorrhea?

Penile Gonorrhea is a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It specifically affects the male genital tract, leading to various symptoms that necessitate prompt attention and treatment.

What are the symptoms of Penile Gonorrhea?

Symptoms of Penile Gonorrhea include painful urination, often described as a burning sensation. Additionally, individuals may experience a pus-like discharge from the penis, which can be yellowish or white. Testicular pain or swelling may also occur, indicating an active infection in the genital tract.

How is Penile Gonorrhea transmitted?

Penile Gonorrhea is primarily transmitted through sexual activities, particularly via the exchange of sexual fluids like semen or vaginal fluid. Unprotected sex significantly increases the risk of contracting Penile Gonorrhea and the infection usually begins in the urethra.

Can Penile Gonorrhea be asymptomatic?

Yes, some individuals infected with Penile Gonorrhea may not display any symptoms. Regular screenings, especially for sexually active individuals, play a crucial role in early detection and treatment.

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