Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection which is passed on during unprotected sex. It’s more commonly known as “the clap” and is caused by a bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It usually affects the genitals but it can also occur in the mouth, rectum or eyes.
Not everyone with gonorrhoea will experience symptoms and women are less likely than men to show signs of it. 90% of men will have symptoms in comparison to 50% of women. Often the symptoms will manifest within 2 weeks of catching the infection, although for men it’s usually within 1 week. Some people will not show any signs of it at all so it’s possible to have gonorrhoea for a long time without knowing.
The symptoms include:
If you have any of the above symptoms then get tested for gonorrhoea as soon as possible. You can do this at a sexual health or GUM clinic or order a test online from Dr Felix to do at home. Having had unprotected sex without a condom means you are at risk of having gonorrhoea. Even if you don’t have symptoms, you should get a check-up to prevent long term complications and unknowingly spreading the infection.
In the short term, gonorrhoea won’t pose a risk to your health but if it’s left untreated it can spread to other areas of your body. In women, this can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility. In pregnancy it can increase the risk of miscarriage and premature labour, putting the baby at risk of being born with conjunctivitis. In men, it can cause an infection in the testicles and prostate gland, which pose a small risk of leading to infertility.
It’s important to get tested so that gonorrhoea can be treated quickly before it leads to anything more serious. Young people are more at risk of catching it and are advised to have regular check-ups each time they change partners. To prevent catching gonorrhoea, or any other STI, always use condoms until you are with an exclusive partner and are both sure of the status of your sexual health.
Find out more about the treatments mentioned in this article below:
Tests for seven STIs
Urine or swab test
Urine or swab test
Blood test for four STIs
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