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Signs and Symptoms of Gonorrhoea

Author: FITivate_B | Published date: May 26, 2022 | Category: Medical
gonorrhoea
gonorrhoea

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Gonorrhoea is a well known sexually transmitted infection. It is caused by the bacteria Neisseria Gonorrohoeae and it is commonly known as the “ clap ".

Transmission

This bacteria is mainly found in the discharge from the penis and in the vaginal fluid of infected individuals. They can then be transmitted from person to person through

  • Unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex
  • Through sharing of vibrators or other sex toys that have not been washed or covered with a new condom each time they are used.

Effects of Gonorrhoea

The bacteria can cause infection of the male and female reproductive and urinary system and less commonly, the throat or eyes.

In serious cases, it can even spread within the patient’s blood stream resulting in a condition known as disseminated gonococcal infection ( DGI ), where the bacteria can infect distant sites of the body like the skin, the joints, even the heart or brain.

The infection can also be passed from a pregnant woman to her baby and without treatment, gonorrhoea can cause permanent blindness in a newborn baby.

The bacteria cannot survive outside the human body for long and is not spread through kissing, hugging, toilet seats or sharing of bathrooms, towels, cups, plates or cutlery.

Symptoms of Gonorrhoea

Gonorrhoea is a tricky bacteria. It can infect you and yet cause no symptoms. 10% of men and 50% of women do not show symptoms.

Symptoms in men

  • Painful or burning sensation when peeing
  • Thick yellowish discharge from the penis
  • Painful or swollen testicles

Symptoms in women

  • Painful or burning sensation when peeing
  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal bleeding in between periods

Rectal Infections

Rectal infections in both genders may result in

  • Anal itching and discharge
  • Soreness
  • Bleeding
  • Painful bowel movements.

Diagnosis of Gonorrhoea

  1. Swab test to send for microscopy and culture or
  2. A urine PCR testing
 Blood tests are not helpful in making a diagnosis.

Treatment of Gonorrhoea

Once diagnosis is confirmed, treatment would involve the usage of antibiotics to kill the gonorrhoea bacteria.

We can either use an injectable form of antibiotics or oral form or even a combination.  Abstinence from sex is usually advised until you have been told you no longer have the infection.

You should also repeat the test after treatment to ensure that you have already been cleared of the infection. Take note that you may catch the infection again despite recovering from the previous one.

Remember that gonorrhoea treatment is never just about yourself - Your sexual partner or partners should go through testing to make sure that they are not infected. This will help prevent re-infection.

Patients at risk of gonorrhoea infection includes

  1. Those who engage in promiscuous sexual activity
  2. Those who do not use barrier methods of contraception such as condoms

Long term effects of Gonorrhoea

When left untreated, gonorrhoea can cause complications and long term medical issues.

Long term effects on females

In females, the gonorrhoea bacteria may spread up the female reproductive organs to the uterus and ovaries resulting in a serious condition called pelvic inflammatory disease. Acutely they can experience lower abdominal pain, fever and even pain during sexual intercourse.

In the long run, they may even experience long term pelvic pain, infertility and even increase risk of ectopic pregnancy.

And if you unfortunately catch the infection during pregnancy, gonorrhoea can cause increased risk of :

  • Miscarriage
  • Premature labour and birth
  • Infant eye infection and possibly blindness

Long term effects on males

In men, gonorrhoea may spread to the testicles and prostate resulting in reduced fertility in some cases.

As mentioned, in less than 5% of cases, the gonorrhoea bacteria may even spread into the blood stream and cause life threatening infectious in other parts of the body.

 Do seek early medical attention. Gonorrhoea can be treated and complete recovery is expected in most cases.

By : Dr Chen Yiming

Family Physician, MBBS (Singapore), GDFM (NUS), GDFP Dermatology (NUS)

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