It is fairly common for gonorrhea to cause no symptoms, especially in women. People who do not have symptoms can unknowingly transmit gonorrhea infections to their sex partners.
The throat, anus, urethra, and rectum are common areas of infection in both men and women. Symptoms may include painful urination, anal itching or bleeding, or abnormal discharge from the penis, vagina or rectum. Gonorrhea infection in the throat doesn't usually cause symptoms, such as a sore throat.
In men, symptoms are usually obvious enough that they will cause a man to seek medical attention before complications occur.
In women, the early symptoms are sometimes so mild they are mistaken for a bladder infection or less serious vaginal infection and are easily dismissed. When an untreated infection has moved into the pelvic organs, symptoms can include lower pelvic or belly pain, vaginal bleeding, fever, and pain during sex.
The incubation period—the time from exposure to gonorrhea until symptoms develop—is usually 2 to 7 days, but sometimes symptoms may not develop for up to 30 days.