Gonorrhoea is caused by bacteria called Niesseria gonorrhoeae. It’s very contagious. It can infect your throat, urethra, vagina, and anus.
The good news is that it is easy to cure, too.
How do you get gonorrhoea?
You can get gonorrhoea by having unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal sex. No ejaculation is needed to spread it to another person.
Sometimes, mothers can pass gonorrhoea on to their babies.
Having a new sex partner or multiple sex partners can increase your chances of getting gonorrhoea.
How can you protect yourself from gonorrhoea?
You can reduce your risk of getting gonorrhoea by:
1. Always use condoms.
2. Getting tested for gonorrhoea with your partner.
If you’ve got a new sex partner, get tested for STDs like gonorrhoea because either you or your partner could be infected without knowing it.
3.If you’ve got any unusual discharge, sores, or pain when you urinate get tested by your doctor for STDs.
Any of these symptoms are signs that something is wrong. Also let your partner know, so he or she can get tested and treated too. Otherwise, you may pass gonorrhoea back and forth between you and your partner.
What are the signs of gonorrhoea?
Most women and some men have no signs of gonorrhoea infection. Even if you don’t have any signs of infection you can still pass it on.
If you have symptoms, they tend to appear within two to ten days. And when they do, they can be very mild.
Where you have symptoms usually depends on how you’ve had sex.
Gonorrhoea symptoms in women
- Increased vaginal discharge
- Yellow or green vaginal discharge
- Strong unpleasant vaginal odour
- Pain when you urinate
- Pain when you have sex
- Bleeding after sex
- Itchy anus
- Bloody or pus-like anal discharge
- Difficulty having bowel movements
- Abdominal pain
It’s easy to mistake pain when you urinate and abdominal pain for a bladder infection. However, if you do experience any of these symptoms, get checked out by your health care provider.
If you don’t get treated for gonorrhoea, you could become infertile. Like chlamydia, gonorrhoea can spread to the fallopian tubes. If it does, it causes swelling in the abdominal area so you will feel pain in your abdomen. As it spreads, it scars the tubes, and can block eggs from being released to the womb. Over time, this makes you infertile.
If you get pregnant when you’re infected with gonorrhoea, you have a greater chance of having an an ectopic pregnancy, when the baby develops outside the womb. Also you can pass on gonorrhoea to your baby when you give birth.
Gonorrhoea symptoms in men
- Pain when you urinate
- Needing to urinate often
- White, yellow, or green penis discharge
- Pain or swelling in one or both testicles
- Bloody or mucous-like anal discharge
If you don’t get treated for gonorrhoea, you could become infertile. Gonorrhoea can spread along your urethra (the tube where urine comes from) all the way to your testicles. This is why you may feel pain or see swelling in your testicles. Over time, the infection can cause infertility.
How do you get tested for gonorrhoea?
In women, a swab is inserted into the vagina and a sample is taken from the cervix (the neck of the womb, at the end of the vagina). The sample is then tested for gonorrhoea.
In men, there are two ways to test for gonorrhoea – swab or urine analysis.
If gonorrhoea is tested using a swab, the swab is inserted into your urethra (the tube where urine comes from) and then tested for gonorrhoea. You will be asked not to urinate for at least two hours before the test. This is to prevent a false negative, where you test negative for gonorrhoea when you really have it. For a short time after the test, you feel a stinging sensation when you urinate.
If gonorrhoea is tested using urine analysis, you’ll be asked to urinate into a cup. Before getting tested, you’ll be asked not to urinate for at least four hours. Again, this is to prevent a false negative – you have gonorrhoea but it doesn’t show up. Your urine sample will then be analysed to see if you’ve got the infection.
How do you get rid of gonorrhoea?
Gonorrhoea is easy to cure with antibiotics. They come either in tablet or injection form. Finish all the medication as prescribed, even if you don’t have any symptoms, otherwise you may not get rid of the infection.
Antibiotics will treat your infection. However, if you’ve had gonorrhoea for a long time, they can’t repair any damage to your reproductive system.