Unknown Facts You Must Know About Gonorrhoea
Gonorrhoea is one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted diseases. The infection results from contracting a bacterium called Neisseria gonorrhoea, and it usually shows no symptoms. Hence, you need to get regular STD testing to know if you have been infected by the bacteria. This bacterium mostly infects moist and warm areas parts of the body like the
- Urethra (it is the tube responsible for draining urine out of the bladder)
- Female reproductive organs (cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes).
People contract gonorrhoea from having unprotected anal, vaginal, or oral sex with an infected person. People who have more than a sexual partner and those who have sex without using condoms are more likely to contract the infection.
The surest protection against gonorrhoea is abstinence, proper use of a condom, and monogamy (sexual intercourse with only one person). Illegal use of drugs, alcohol abuse and other behaviours that make people less likely to use protection during sex increases the risk of contracting the infection.
Symptom rarely occurs, but in a few cases, an infected person may notice the symptoms 2 – 14 days after being exposed to gonorrhoea. People who do not show signs of gonorrhoea are known as nonsymptomatic carriers, and they can still transmit the infection.
Symptoms of gonorrhoea in men
In most men, gonorrhoea does not present any noticeable symptoms for several weeks, and sometimes, symptoms never show.
If symptoms occur, they begin to show a week after contracting the infection. The first symptom is usually a painful or burning sensation while urinating. As the infection progresses, the following symptoms occur.
- Testicular pain or swelling
- Persistent sore throat
- Pus-like yellowish, whitish or greenish penile discharge
- Greater urine urgency or frequency
- Redness or swelling of the penis
After treating these symptoms, the infection may remain in the body, causing more damage in the testicles and urethra in rare cases. The man may also experience rectal pain.
Symptoms of gonorrhoea in women
Most women do not develop noticeable symptoms, but when symptoms occur, they only have a mild effect, and they are similar to other infections, and this makes gonorrhoea difficult to detect.
Gonorrhoea symptoms are similar to that of bacterial and vaginal yeast infections, and they include the following.
- Watery, slightly green, or creamy vaginal discharge
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Frequent need to urinate
- Burning and painful sensation while urinating
- Sore throat
- Spotting between periods and heavy periods
- Sharp lower abdominal pain
Your healthcare professional can detect a gonorrhoea infection using different methods. To test for gonorrhoea, the healthcare professional may take your fluid sample from an area with visible symptoms like the rectum, vagina, throat, and penis.
If your doctor thinks you have a blood or joint infection, your doctor will take your blood sample from the symptomatic joint, then place the sample on a glass slide for examination. Your healthcare professional will stain the sample on the glass slide then view it under a microscope for the presence of the gonorrhoea bacteria. This method of diagnosing gonorrhoea is fast and straightforward. However, this test does not give a concise result. A lab technician may be able to perform this test.
The second diagnosis for gonorrhoea involvesthe healthcare professional taking samples from symptomatic areas, then placing the sample on a special dish before incubating it under the right growth conditions for a few days. If the person is infected with gonorrhoea, a colony of the bacteria will grow on the special dish.
You can get a preliminary result from this test within 24 hours while the final result will be available in about three days.
Complications arising from gonorrhoea
Women have a higher risk of developing complication if the infection is left untreated. Untreated gonorrhoea infections in women could spread to the reproductive tract, affecting the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and uterus. It may also lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which is characterised by severe pain. PID can permanently damage the organs in the female reproductive system. Other STD could also cause PID.
Women infected with gonorrhoea may likely come down with scarred or blocked fallopian tubes which prevents pregnancy in the future or lead to ectopic pregnancy, where implantation of the fertilised egg occurs outside the uterus. A pregnant woman can also transmit gonorrhoea infection to her baby during childbirth.
In men, gonorrhoea may lead to scarring of the urethra and cause a penile abscess. It could also lead to sterility or reduced fertility.
In women and men, the infection could lead to arthritis, inflammation of the brain lining or spinal cord, and damage to the heart valve if it gets into the bloodstream. However, these conditions rarely occur.
Gonorrhoea is a bacterial infection and antibiotics can quickly cure it. Your doctor may prescribe a single dose of Ceftriaxone injection administered in the buttocks or one dose of azithromycin taken orally. After you take any of these antibiotics, you should feel relieved.
Over-the-counter and at-home remedies
At-home remedies and over-the-counter medications cannot treat gonorrhoea. Consult your healthcare professional if you think you have been exposed to gonorrhoea.
Gonorrhoea treatment guidelines
Your healthcare professional is required by law to notify any gonorrhoea infection to the public health department. The public health department is in charge of identifying, contacting, testing and treating other sex partners of the infected person. This helps to prevent further spread of gonorrhoea.
Recently, there have been more cases of antibiotics resistance. Hence, people in this category require extensive treatment with either an oral antibiotic or a dual treatment therapy which runs for seven days. The patients need to take the antibiotic once or two times a day for it to be effective. The common antibiotics for gonorrhoea treatment are doxycycline and azithromycin.
Abstinence is the safest means of preventing gonorrhoea. Practising safe sex will reduce your chances of contracting the infection. Getting regular gonorrhoea test alongside your sexual partner(s) is also essential.
If you or your partner notices any sign of an infection, do not have sexual intercourse until you both carry out tests for STDs.
If you have had gonorrhoea in the past or you have multiple sex partners, you have a higher chance of contracting the infection.
What should I do if I have gonorrhoea?
Contact your doctor if you think you have gonorrhoea and avoid sexual intercourse meanwhile. When you visit your doctor, discuss your symptoms and sexual history in detail and provide the contact details of all your previous sexual partners.
Let your partner know if you are infected and ensure that you complete your prescribed antibiotic dosage. If you do not complete your treatment, the bacteria may become resistant to that antibiotic. After your treatment, you also need to visit your doctor to confirm that the infection has cleared.
For a gonorrhoea test you can get in touch with us or call STI Clinic London today on 020 1783 0649 to book an appointment with us.