What is gonorrhoea?

GonorrheaGonorrhea (colloquially known as the clap[1]) is a common human sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The usual symptoms in men are burning with urination and penile discharge. Women, on the other hand, are asymptomatic half the time or have vaginal discharge and pelvic pain. In both men and women if gonorrhea is left untreated, it may spread locally causing epididymitis or pelvic inflammatory disease or throughout the body, affecting joints and heart valves.

Treatment is commonly with ceftriaxone as antibiotic resistance has developed to many previously used medications. This is typically given in combination with either azithromycin or doxycycline. There have been some strains of gonorrhea showing resistance to ceftriaxone.

What are the symptoms of gonorrhoea?

Of those infected, approximately half the women and a few of the men do not show any symptoms.
In men, the main symptom is painful urination. There’s also a discharge from the tip of the penis, which may be white, yellow or green.

Gonorrhoea in the rectum can occur in people who practice anal intercourse.
Anal gonorrhoea may be symptom-free. But it can give you rectal pain, irritation or a discharge from the anus.
In women, the symptoms of gonorrhoea are more limited or absent. But there may be painful urination and a discharge from the vagina.

In both sexes, a throat infection can occur as a result of oral sex with an infected partner. Sometimes the sore throat is accompanied by a fever. However, there may be no symptoms at all.

What causes gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea is caused by a bacteria which is found mainly in the semen and vaginal fluids of men and women who have the infection.

Gonorrhoea is easily passed from one person to another through sexual contact. Anyone who is sexually active can get it and pass it on. You don’t need to have lots of sexual partners.

What is the treatment for gonorrhoea?

The treatment for gonorrhoea is antibiotics. The treatment is at least 95 per cent effective.

– Early treatment of gonorrhoea involves taking a single dose of antibiotic tablet(s) or having one antibiotic injection.

– If there is a high chance you have the infection, treatment may be started before the results of the test are back. You will always be given treatment if your partner is found to have gonorrhoea.

– You may also need other treatment if complications have occurred.

– The antibiotics that are used to treat gonorrhoea interact with methods of contraception that contain estrogen and progestogen (for example, the combined contraceptive pill and contraceptive patch). Tell the doctor or nurse if you are using these methods so they can advise you on how to ensure you are protected from pregnancy.

– There is no evidence that complementary therapies can cure gonorrhoea.

So, they recommended that when treating gonorrhoea, doctors should henceforward use a combination of TWO drugs:

– ceftriaxone, which is given by injection
– azithromycin, which is given orally.

Note: ceftriaxone is said by its manufacturers to interact with oral contraceptives. So if you’re on the Pill, please discuss this with the clinic doctor.

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