What is Gonorrhoea?
Gonorrhoea is the second most common STD in the UK and is also known as the ‘clap’. Gonorrhoea is caused by a bacterium called Neisseria Gonorrhoeae, the bacterium grows and multiplies quickly in moist, warm areas of the body. Gonorrhoea can infect areas of the body such as the cervix, urethra, anus, rectum or throat.
In women the cervix is the most common site of infection. The name gonorrhoea means ‘flow of seed’.
What causes Gonorrhoea?
Gonorrhoea is passed on through vaginal, anal and oral sex, though sometimes it only takes physical contact to spread. Gonorrhoea can be passed on to a newborn from an infected mother during delivery, causing eye infections in the baby, which could lead to blindness.
Like most sexually transmitted diseases, gonorrhoea can be avoided by a consistent and correct use of condoms during sexual activity.
What are the symptoms of Gonorrhoea?
The symptoms of Gonorrhoea may show up at any time between 1 and 14 days after exposure.
In women symptoms of gonorrhoea may include:
- Pain or burning sensation on urinating.
- A change in vaginal discharge. This may be more yellow or bloody and can have a strong smell.
- Low abdominal pain.
In men the symptoms of gonorrhoea are more noticeable and include:
- Discharge from the tip of the penis.
- Inflammation or dull pain in the testes.
- Burning sensation during urinating.
- Irritation or discharge from the anus.
What treatment is available for Gonorrhoea?
The treatment of gonorrhoea is usually with antibiotics, taken by mouth. If you have gonorrhoea it is very important that your partner is also tested and treated even if they have no symptoms, otherwise you may find it will keep reoccurring.
A repeat test will usually be carried out after treatment to ensure the infection has gone.
How will gonorrhoea affect me in the future?
The most common complication of untreated gonorrhoea in women is infection with Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (P.I.D.). This is a result of the disease spreading to the uterus(womb) and fallopian tubes. P.I.D. is a serious infection of the female reproductive organs, which can cause a woman to become infertile or have an ectopic pregnancy.
In men the main complication of untreated gonorrhoea is inflammation of the testes, which could lead to infertility problems. Rarely, untreated gonorrhoea can spread to the bloodstream and infect the joints. Also if you are pregnant and you have gonorrhoea you could pass the infection on to your baby when it is born.
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