Gonorrhoea is one of the most common STIs in the UK – but many people are still misinformed about how the infection is contracted and what the symptoms are. The team at the STI Clinic gave us six key facts about gonorrhoea we should all know.
5 percent of men will have the infection and show no symptoms.
Around 95 percent of men will develop the symptoms of gonorrhoea within 2-7 days. It can take up to 30 days for symptoms to appear, but it is unusual for the infection to take this long to show. Five percent of men do not show any symptoms at all when infected with gonorrhoea.
There are many different symptoms
Symptoms of gonorrhoea vary hugely – and some people don’t develop any symptoms at all. Men who are infected can have some or all of these symptoms, depending on which area of the body contains the infection:
- Sore throat
- White, yellow or green discharge from the penis
- Inflammation of the foreskin
- Swollen testicles
- Discharge from the urethra
- Pain during urination
- A burning sensation in the urethra.
Gonorrhoea can infect the genitals, eyes, throat and rectum
The genitals are the most common area to be infected – but it’s not the only place that the disease can be found. The infection can also reach your eyes, throat and anus. Some of the symptoms of these areas will include discharge and itching, a sore throat, or red and painful eyes.
Gonorrhoea is spread through genital, oral and anal sex
The gonorrhoea bacteria can grow in the urethra, mouth, throat and anus. It cannot be spread through normal contact, contrary to popular belief. The bacteria cannot live outside the body for very long – so it can’t be contracted through toilet seats, sharing eating utensils or swimming pools.
It can be treated
The usual treatment for gonorrhoea is an intramuscular injection of Cefraxone accompanied by a single oral 1000mg dose of Azithromycin. If an intramuscular injection is not possible, then an oral medication can be prescribed.
If you find out that you are infected, any sexual partners should be treated at the same time and any past sexual partners should be notified. If you are avoiding doing this because you don’t want to have an awkward conversation with a past sexual partner – remember that many clinics have a service that can let you notify your past partners anonymously.
A drug-resistant strain of “super gonorrhoea,” has emerged
The number of cases of this rare, new strain of gonorrhoea is slowly increasing. This is very alarming, and doctors are concerned that this new strain might soon become untreatable. This new strain is resistant to antibiotics and drugs, which is why if you are infected it’s important to finish your course of prescribed drugs, get tested again 2 weeks after treatment, and avoid sex for at least 7 days after treatment.
If you are in doubt as to whether you have gonorrhoea – visit a GP or GUM clinic to get tested. Alternatively, if you are busy and want to avoid having to go anywhere to get tested, it is now possible to be sent out a test package discreetly in the mail. Simply supply a sample and send it back to get quick and easy results – it’s never been easier to ensure you are STI free.
Advice by Ajay Jadhav from The STI Clinic.