Gonorrhea affects each person differently due to a mixture of different factors. These include the strength of their immune system or whether or not the gonorrhea strain is resistant to antibiotics. Therefore, the incubation period of gonorrhea in each patient is different.
Gonorrhea in Males
The average incubation period for male gonorrhea is around two to six days. In some cases, though, it may take as much as 30 days. What makes this situation worse is that your infection may be asymptomatic. During those 30 days, you may have intercourse with your partner and infect them with gonorrhea as well.1
As gonorrhea begins to spread, you may experience complications such as epididymitis, where your epididymis (the gland where sperm travel) becomes inflamed. You may also develop prostatitis, an inflammation of your prostate gland.
Both conditions may affect your ability to bear children, so it’s important to seek treatment immediately to avoid these long-term effects of gonorrhea.2
Gonorrhea in Females
Similarly, gonorrhea in women acts fast. Upon infection, it may take just a few days for symptoms to appear. However, in some women it may take as much as 30 days before symptoms manifest.
The early symptoms are usually mistaken for another condition, such as a bladder infection. You may begin to experience symptoms such as:
• Frequent urination
• Itching in the anal or vaginal region
• Fever and fatigue
• Painful sexual intercourse
• Slight bleeding between periods
Gonorrhea in Newborns
Under certain circumstances, newborn children unfortunately get gonorrhea. Should the mother have vaginal gonorrhea during childbirth, some of the bacteria may transfer to the infant’s eyes, which can most likely cause pink eye.
The incubation period for this condition typically lasts a few days. As symptoms appear, you may notice that your infant’s eyes will become watery and produce a discharge. The duration of the disease varies, but it usually takes a few weeks to heal. However, once treatment is administered, your child is no longer contagious after 24 hours, and will be well on the road to recovery.3
How Long Does It Take to Cure Gonorrhea?
Treating gonorrhea entirely depends on the time of diagnosis and the severity of symptoms. If you think you have contracted gonorrhea and want to undergo STD testing, it’s recommended that you visit a doctor two to six days after your last sexual intercourse.
Since the bacteria are still incubating during this period, it’s possible the test results might show up negative for gonorrhea, so you should repeat the testing two weeks later.4
Once you’ve received treatment, it usually takes a few days before you notice an improvement, such as the pain and discharge subsiding. After you’ve been cured, you should be tested again after two weeks to confirm that you no longer have the bacteria in your system.