Oral Gonorrhea vs Strep Throat

Do you know the difference between oral gonorrhea and strep throat? Oral gonorrhea and strep throat are two different health conditions that may cause you to get a sore throat. This article will discuss the causes of oral gonorrhea vs strep throat, symptoms of oral gonorrhea vs strep throat, how to prevent both infections and many more. 


What is Oral Gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea in general is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterium. When the infection affects the tissues of the throat rather than the genitalia or rectum, it is referred to as oral gonorrhea (also known as pharyngeal gonorrhea). 

Oral Gonorrhea vs Strep Throat
Oral Gonorrhea

The main method of transmission for oral gonorrhea is oral sex. It is possible to spread the bacterium by engaging in oral sex with someone who has infected genitals or by receiving oral sex from someone who has an infected oral cavity (recent research has also suggested the possibility that kissing can transmit oral gonorrhea from one partner to another). Importantly, transmission can happen even if the individual who first got the virus showed no symptoms.


What is strep throat?

Strep throat is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation and pain in the throat that can make your throat feel sore and scratchy. Group A Streptococcus bacteria are to blame for this widespread ailment. The majority of sore throats are not caused by strep throat. 

Oral Gonorrhea vs Strep Throat
Strep throat

If untreated, strep throat can cause complications, such as kidney inflammation or rheumatic fever. Rheumatic fever can lead to painful and inflamed joints, a specific type of rash, or heart valve damage.

Cause : Oral Gonorrhea vs Strep Throat

While oral gonorrhea and strep throat can both make your throat sore and inflamed, they are very different medical conditions and have different causes. Below are the causes of Oral Gonorrhea vs Strep Throat. 

Oral Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterium. Usually contracted through unprotected sexual intercourse, you can be infected with the bacterium via anal sex or oral sex with an infected person.

Oral Gonorrhea vs Strep Throat
Oral Gonorrhea

If you have unprotected oral sex without a barrier method, you run the risk of getting it.

It’s important to know that gonorrhea isn’t spread through casual contact.

You can’t contract the disease through things like kissing, sharing foods, coughing, or sitting on toilet seats. It tends to be more common in people under the age of 25 years old.


Strep throat

Strep throat is caused by bacteria called Streptococcus pyogenes or group A Streptococcus (also known as group A strep, or GAS).

You can catch strep throat if you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth after being exposed to these bacteria, like when someone with strep throat coughs or sneezes.

Strep throat can be spread when you share food or a drink with someone with an active strep throat infection.


You can also get strep throat by coming into contact with an object contaminated with group A strep bacteria, like a doorknob or faucet, and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Kids who put objects in their mouths can also catch strep throat this way.

Symptoms: Oral Gonorrhea vs Strep Throat

Oral Gonorrhea and strep throat cause largely different symptoms, so you may be able to tell which condition you have based on how you’re feeling.

Oral Gonorrhea symptoms 

Oral gonorrhea can be harder to detect as most people don’t have any symptoms.


If you suspect you may have gonorrhea in the throat, you may have the following symptoms:

  • A persistent itchy or sore throat
  • Redness in the throat
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Difficulty swallowing

Since it’s common not to show symptoms of oral gonorrhea, be sure to check if you have any other symptoms.

Men and those with penises will experience may experience the following symptoms:

  • Frequent urination
    • A change in discharge: white, yellow, beige, or slightly green pus-like discharge (or drip) from the penis 
    • Swelling or redness at the opening of the penis
  • Testicular pain
  • Testicular swelling
  • Persistent sore throat

Common symptoms in women and people with vaginas include:

  • Watery, creamy, or slightly green discharge from the vagina 
  • Pain or burning sensation while urinating
  • More frequent urination
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Heavier periods or bleeding between periods
  • Persistent sore throat
  • Sharp pain in the lower abdomen
  • Fever

Strep throat symptoms

The severity of strep throat can vary from person to person. They typically develop within 5 days of exposure to strep bacteria.


Some people experience mild symptoms, like a sore throat. Other people have more severe symptoms, including fever and difficulty swallowing.

The common symptoms of strep throat include:

  • a sudden fever,
  • a sore, red throat with white patches
  • a headache
  • chills
  • a loss of appetite
  • swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • trouble swallowing

Less common strep throat symptoms include gastrointestinal symptoms like:

  • stomach pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Children are more likely to experience these less common symptoms.

There’s also a rash associated with strep. This is called scarlet fever, or scarlatina. But most people with strep do not get a rash.

The rash of scarlet fever can appear before other symptoms start or up to 7 days after. The rash begins as red areas of skin and becomes fine bumps. The rash goes away in about a week, but you may experience skin peeling in affected areas for several weeks after the infection.

Diagnosis : Oral Gonorrhea vs Strep Throat

Strep throat and oral gonorrhea are caused by different bacteria. You contract each infection differently. You may be able to tell which infection you have from the information above, but your doctor can also carry out tests to identify the infection.

Once you notice symptoms like fever, sore throat, swollen glands under your jawbone, and tenderness around your ears, neck, or chest, it’s time to visit a doctor.

Your doctor will take a swab sample from your throat if they suspect you have strep throat or oral gonorrhea.

Oral Gonorrhea Diagnosis

Testing for oral gonorrhea also involves a throat swab and culture. You can ask for a throat swab during regular gonorrhea testing if you have been having oral sex.

You should also get tested for a genital gonorrhea infection, which may involve a urine sample and swab from the end of the penis for men or a swab from the cervix, vagina, or urethra for women.

Strep throat Diagnosis

Testing for strep throat involves a rapid strep test. Your doctor may also take a throat culture swab if your rapid strep test is negative, but they still suspect you have a streptococcus infection. This may identify another condition caused by the bacteria.

Oral Gonorrhea vs Strep Throat
Strep throat

Treatment : Oral Gonorrhea vs Strep Throat

Antibiotics are the primary treatment for both strep throat and oral gonorrhea. However, each condition is treated with different antibiotics.

Oral Gonorrhea Treatment 

Fortunately, the treatment options for oral gonorrhea are fairly straightforward.

Your doctor will prescribe you antibiotics to clear up the infection, usually ceftriaxone administered as an injection accompanied with oral azithromycin (Zithromax).

This is what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend for the treatment of uncomplicated gonorrhea as new strains of drug-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae have emerged. 

Inform your health provider if you have any known allergic reactions to cephalosporin antibiotics, such as ceftriaxone.

Your doctor may prescribe you oral gemifloxacin, or injectable gentamicin and oral azithromycin.

Strep throat treatment

Because strep throat is a bacterial infection, a doctor will typically prescribe an antibiotic to treat it. These medications inhibit the spread of bacteria and infections.

There are eight different antibiotics recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to treat strep throat. They include:

  • penicillin (oral or intramuscular)
  • amoxicillin (oral)
  • cephalexin (oral)
  • cefadroxil (oral)
  • clindamycin (oral)
  • clarithromycin (oral)
  • azithromycin (oral)

Penicillin and amoxicillin are the most common medications given for a strep infection. If you’re allergic to penicillin or amoxicillin, your doctor may prescribe a different medication, like the antibiotic azithromycin. Find out more about azithromycin for treating strep throat.

The doctor’s choice of antibiotic can also depend on whether the strep bacteria in a particular geographic area have become resistant to certain antibiotics.

The CDC notes the following benefits of antibiotics for strep throat:

  • shortening the length of illness
  • reducing symptoms
  • preventing spread of the strep bacteria
  • preventing rheumatic fever, which is a serious inflammatory immune response, and other serious complications like peritonsillar abscess

Prevention : Oral Gonorrhea vs Strep Throat

Strep throat and oral gonorrhea have different causes and it’ll require different ways of preventing both.

Oral Gonorrhea Prevention 

There are a few steps you can take that may help reduce the risk of getting or transmitting oral gonorrhea, including:

  • Practice safe oral sex by consistently using condoms or dental dams
  • Regularly test for STDs, and encourage your partner to do the same (the at-home STD Test for men and women makes routine testing easy).

Strep Throat Prevention 

To prevent strep infection, it is recommended to:

  • not share eating utensils with others;
  • clean your hands – it is especially helpful when you are spending time in nursing homes, hospitals, schools, and childcare centers – places where harmful germs are more common;
  • spend time outside daily – exposure to UVB sunlight rays boosts your level of vitamin D, which plays an important role in developing a strong immune system;
  • have a diet rich in fruits and vegetables;
  • have healthy sleeping patterns;
  • exercise regularly.

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