Gonorrhoea

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  • What is it? Gonorrhoea, or ‘the clap’ is a bacterial infection called Neisseria gonorrhoeae which can infect the genital tract, mouth, and rectum of both men and women. In women the cervix is the first place of infection. The disease then spreads into the uterus and fallopian tubes, resulting in pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can cause tubal (ectopic) pregnancy and infertility in as many as 10 percent of infected women.
  • Symptoms: They usually appear within 2 to 10 days after sexual contact with an infected partner. For women, the early symptoms of Gonorrhoea often are mild. When women have symptoms, the first ones may include bleeding associated with vaginal intercourse and painful or burning sensations when urinating. Women may also get an anal discharge - if acquired through anal sex. Left untreated, Gonorrhoea can cause serious damage to a woman’s fertility. Most men who catch Gonorrhoea show symptoms pretty quickly. The yellow/white discharge normally appears 3-5 days after infection. A small number of people may be infected for several months without showing symptoms. In untreated infections, the bacteria can spread up into the reproductive tract and on into the blood stream and infect the joints, heart valves, or the brain. The most common result of untreated gonorrhea is PID. This serious complication may result in a miscarriage and can cause death of a new mother. If you are pregnant and have gonorrhea, you may pass the infection to your baby as it passes through the birth canal. Prevention of infection to a baby’s eyes can be achieved by applying silver nitrate or other medicine to the eyes immediately after birth. In men, gonorrhea causes epididymitis that can lead to infertility if left untreated and affects the prostate gland and causes scarring in the urine canal.
  • Transmission: This usually occurs during forms of penetrative sex (when the penis enters the vagina, mouth, or anus) but can also be transmitted through rimming (where a person uses their mouth and tongue to stimulate another person’s anus) inserting your fingers into an infected vagina, anus or mouth and then putting them into your own without washing your hands in between. The most common way of catching Gonorrhoea is through unprotected sex, whether vaginal, anal or oral.
  • Treatment: Health care providers usually use three laboratory techniques to diagnose Gonorrhoea. These are staining samples directly for the bacterium, detecting bacterial genes or DNA in urine or growing the bacteria in laboratory cultures. A single dose of one of the following antibiotics to treat Gonorrhoea.
  • Cefixime
  • Ceftriaxone
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Ofloxacin
  • Levofloxacin
  • Post Treatment: Once a course of treatment is complete a return appointment to the clinic or GP for a check-up should be made. Some types of gonorrhea are resistant to antibiotics, especially if you acquired the disease abroad. Further tests will be done to make sure that the infection has cleared. If it has not, you will be prescribed a different treatment. Click here for a list of agencies you can contact should you require further information or help.

If there are any health workers that could help us keep our pages updated please mail us as we are very aware that new research and information is constantly being published on Gonorrhoea. Your help would be much appreciated.

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