The Clap, The Drip, The Dose… are some common and uncommon slang terms for our next STI Saturday post; Gonorrhoea. This Saturday, you’re going to learn about what this weird sounding infection is, how common it is, what the symptoms are, how it’s treated and what can happen if you just leave the infection to do it’s thaang (spoiler alert: do not just leave it).
Gonorrhoea is caused by the bacterium called (which I may or may not have googled) Neisseria gonorrhoeae or gonococcus. This bacteria is found in the discharge or fluid (or whatever gross name you can think of ) of a penis or vagina. This STI is spread through unprotected anal, oral and vaginal sex, as well as sharing sex toys. More on safer sex with your toys here.
In 2015, there were 41,193 new cases of Gonorrhoea reported to Public Health England (PHE). Since 2012, the number of new cases has actually increased by 53%. The reason for the increase can be partly to blame of a increase in the number of tests being carried out, not just because more people are having unprotected sex (although this doesn’t help). This infection was the most commonly diagnosed among the MSM (men who have sex with men) community with 25% of the infections occurring from condom-less anal sex. You need to wrap it up, people!
1 in 10 infected men, and half of infected women won’t experience any obvious symptoms. How convenient. However, for the people who do get symptoms, for women, there is likely to be a change in discharge (to being thin/watery and green or yellow in colour), pain/burning when having a wee, lower abdominal pain, bleeding between periods, heavier periods and bleeding after sex.
For men, unusual discharge from the penis (being white, yellow or green in colour), pain/burning when having a wee, swelling of the foreskin, pain/tenderness in the testicles. If you experience any changes then head down to your nearest STI clinic for a screen.
Most commonly men have to give a urine sample, or a tiny swab of the fluid taken (usually performed by a nurse). For women, a self vaginal swab is also a method a lot of practices use to collect a sample, although sometimes a nurse will examine you (to look at your symptoms) and take a swab then.
Listen, I know non of that sounds particularly inviting, but neither is having green stuff coming out of your penis/vagina. The sooner it’s sorted, the better!
We need to move on now to how this thing is treated. According to Brook, treatment involves antibiotics in the form or an injection and a single tablet. Worryingly, there has been an increase in reports of ‘Super’ Gonorrhoea that is becoming resistant to the usual treatment (azithromycin), meaning ceftriaxone is the next option. However, doctors warn that Gonorrhoea could also eventually become resistant to ceftriaxone.
How can you reduce your risk of getting Gonorrhoea and ‘Super’ Gonorrhoea?… WEAR CONDOMS. It’s that simple.
If left untreated Gonorrhoea can cause complications so to speak, and actually spread to other parts of your body. And that is something you do not want to happen. The risk of complications with Gonorrhoea also increases the more times you get it. So… Keep that in mind.
In women, it can spread to your reproductive organs and cause PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease) which can occur in about 10-20% of cases left untreated. If you’re pregnant with Gonorrhoea, it can cause miscarriage, early labour, and/or your baby being born with conjunctivitis (inflammation in their eye).
If you guys leave Gonorrhoea untreated it can cause infection in your ball sack (testicles) and also prostate gland. Which may reduce fertility in a small number of people.
Thank you for taking the time to read this weekly STI blog, for information on more exciting topics, just head to our homepage. Oh! and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram (sexed2017) and Twitter (@SexEd__) Or Email the team questions: SexEd_@outlook.com