A disease which used to be known as ‘the clap’ gonorrhoea has been around for many years.
Transmitted to and from both men and women, gonorrhoea can cause some seriously nasty damage if left untreated.
Unfortunately, in many cases there are no symptoms with gonorrhoea, with the individual completely unaware that they have been infected.
If you have had unprotected sex, there’s a chance you may have contracted gonorrhoea because you won’t necessarily know if the disease has been transmitted. This is why it’s always essential to have a test if you’ve been at risk.
If you’re worried that you might have gonorrhoea, check out our guide below to see what you should know.
What is Gonorrhoea?
A sexually transmitted disease, gonorrhoea is transmitted through sexual intercourse of any kind including oral, vaginal and anal. Like other types of STD it can also be transmitted through the use of sex toys if they haven’t been cleaned between uses or if they haven’t been covered in a new condom.
Gonorrhoea is not spread by casual contact such as hugging, sharing a toilet seat, swimming or using the same cutlery or plates.
The bacteria are held in the vaginal fluid or the discharge fluids which come from the penis. Once transmitted it can go on to infect the eyes, the cervix, the throat, the rectum and the urethra.
If you contract gonorrhoea there’s a reasonable chance you might have no symptoms at all: one in 10 men are symptom free compared to half of all women.
Of those that do have symptoms, you might notice pain in the lower abdomen and on urinating, inflammation in the genitals and a thick and unusual discharge, typically white, green or yellow in colour.
If you get tested and gonorrhoea is identified, the good news is there is a cure which is easily administered.
Unlike other STDs where treatment can be prolonged and inconvenient, the treatment for gonorrhoea is very straight forward. Usually administered with a single dose of antibiotic, the treatment will clear up any symptoms of gonorrhoea within a matter of days.
Having contracted gonorrhoea once and undergoing treatment will not make you immune in the future so if you want to prevent a recurrence, you will need to change the way you behave.
Why Treatment is so Vital
Because gonorrhoea is symptomless it is entirely possible that it can continue unabated in the body, causing widespread destruction en route.
In women, untreated gonorrhoea can go on to cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), a condition which leads to infertility and potentially ectopic pregnancies too.
Any woman who is already pregnant is at a very significant risk as gonorrhoea can cause miscarriage or premature labour, and the baby can be born with a severe form of conjunctivitis in the eye which can permanently damage their vision.
In men, untreated gonorrhoea can cause painful infections in both the prostate gland and the testicles, which can rarely cause infertility.
In extremely rare cases, gonorrhoea can spread further throughout the body, inflaming the areas around the brain, spinal cord or heart which can become life threatening. It can also spread through the bloodstream to cause infection throughout the body.
Gonorrhoea is the second most prevalent STD in the UK, only exceeded by chlamydia so it’s essential to take it seriously. More than 25,000 new cases can typically be reported in a given year, with many of the individuals aged under 25.
If you think you’ve been exposed to gonorrhoea, or have simply had unsafe sex, don’t take the risk of being an unwitting victim of the disease. Get tested today and make sure you’re not passing it on, and can get the treatment you need to stop the disease in its tracks.