STIs – Gonorrhoea
How do you get it?
The bacteria that cause gonorrhoea are mainly found in discharge from the penis and in vaginal fluid.
The bacteria can infect the entrance to the womb (cervix), the tube that passes urine out of the body (urethra), the rectum and, less commonly, the throat or eyes.
Gonorrhoea is not spread by kissing, hugging, swimming pools, toilet seats or sharing baths, towels, cups, plates or cutlery. The bacteria cannot survive outside the human body for long.
Wearing a condom during vaginal, anal and oral sex prevents the spread of gonorrhoea.
Also use a condom if you are using a sex toy with someone.
Thick green or yellow discharge from the vagina or penis, pain when peeing and, in women, bleeding between periods.
But around 1 in 10 infected men and almost half of infected women do not experience any symptoms.
In women, gonorrhoea can spread to the reproductive organs and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
PID can lead to long-term pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy and infertility.
In men, gonorrhoea can cause a painful infection in the testicles and prostate gland, which may lead to reduced fertility in a small number of cases.
In rare cases, when gonorrhoea has been left untreated, it can spread through the bloodstream and cause life-threatening infections in other parts of the body, such as sepsis.
Doctors will test a sample of discharge picked up using a swab.
In women, a sample may also be taken from the urethra.
In men, testing a sample of urine can also diagnose the condition.
It’s possible to be tested within a few days of having sex, but you may be advised to wait up to a week. You can be tested even if you do not have any symptoms.
If there’s a possibility that your rectum or throat is infected, the doctor or nurse may need to use a swab to collect a sample from these areas.
You can be tested at a GP, sexual health clinic, contraceptive clinic or private clinic.
Antibiotics are the most common way to treat gonorrhoea
Usually an antibiotic injection in the buttocks or thigh
It is possible to have it in tablet form
Symptoms will improve within a few days, but can be up to 2 weeks
After 1-2 weeks, you will attend a follow-up session to check you’re you’re clear of infection.