Gonorrhoea
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What is Gonorrhoea?

Approximately 1 in 10 men and almost half of all women infected by the bacteria will show no symptoms, and so are unaware of their infection.

Symptoms of gonorrhoea usually appear within one week of being infected. However, symptoms may not appear until many months later, or until it spreads to other parts of the body.

Symptoms of gonorrhoea in men:

  • Discharge from the penis which might be white, yellow or green
  • Pain when urinating
  • Swelling of the foreskin
  • Discomfort and swelling of the testicles

Symptoms of gonorrhoea in women:

  • Discharge from the vagina which may be thick and green, or yellow in colour
  • Pain and/or bleeding during or after sex
  • Pain when urinating
  • Bleeding between periods, or heavier periods
  • Pain or tenderness in the lower abdominal area

How long does it take for symptoms of gonorrhoea to appear?

Symptoms will not always appear with gonorrhoea. If you do get symptoms they will usually show up 1–14 days after becoming infected. However, it can be many months later, or not until the infection spreads to other parts of your body.

What happens if gonorrhoea is left untreated?

If gonorrhoea is treated early enough it is rare that there are any long-term problems. However, without effective treatment the infection can spread to other parts of the body. The more times you have gonorrhoea the more likely you are to get complications.

In Males

  • Epididymitis – painful inflammation of the testicles, which may result in reduced fertility or sterility
  • Inflammation of the joints and tendons
  • Skin lesions
  • Inflammation of the membranes of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and the heart

In Females

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
  • Ectopic pregnancy – a pregnancy outside the womb
  • Salpingitis – blocked fallopian tubes (the tubes which carry the egg from the ovaries to the womb), which decreases fertility and increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy
  • Infertility
  • Long-term pelvic pain
  • Inflammation of the joints and tendons
  • Skin lesions
  • Inflammation of the membranes of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) and the heart

Can I be cured of gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea is treated with a single dose of antibiotics. However, lab studies from the USA show that cephalsporins, the current class of antibiotics used to treat gonorrhoea, are becoming less effective at treating the disease.

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