Sometimes known as ‘the clap’, gonorrhoea is a common sexually transmitted infection that affects the genitals, rectum and throat. It’s caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoea which loves to live in the moist mucosal tissue in the rectum, vagina, urethra and throat.
Gonorrhoea is spread mainly by unprotected anal, vaginal and oral sex, It can also be spread by sex toys so make sure you wash your toys or use a condom on them if sharing them with a partner.
Signs and symptoms
For many people, gonorrhoea has no symptoms. This means that it can be super easy to miss and pass on to others.
The most common symptoms include:
- Burning or painful urination
- Discharge from the penis that can be yellow, white or green
- Abnormal or increased vaginal discharge
- Vaginal bleeding between periods
- Itching and/or discharge from the anus
- Anal bleeding and soreness
- Pain when passing stools
- Swollen and painful testicles
- Sore and/or red throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
It’s super important to get regularly tested if you are sexually active since most of the time gonorrhoea shows no symptoms.
For people with vaginas gonorrhoea symptoms can easily be mistaken for a UTI or bladder infection. If left untreated, gonorrhoea infection can lead to serious and long-term complications like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which can cause infertility.
Treatment for gonorrhoea
If the test result comes back as positive, just remember that there is no shame in getting gonorrhoea. Just like everything in life, sex comes with its risks and bacterium like gonorrhoea are just an unfortunate part of it.
What matters is staying on top of it and managing it early to help stop the spread through our community.
Like other bacterial infections, it is treated by using antibiotics which may be administered once-off, either orally or by injection.
It’s important to remember that you don’t get immunity from gonorrhoea after it’s treated and you again if you aren’t careful. All the more reason to test frequently and practice safe sex with barrier methods like condoms and dams.