Gonorrhoea

 

Gonorrhoea is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoea, also known as ‘the clap’.

It is frequently transmitted via vaginal, oral or anal sex and can infect the cervix, urethra, rectum and, less commonly, the throat or eyes.

In women, up to 90% of gonorrhoea infection affects the cervix.

It can also be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her baby during childbirth.

 

Risk factors:

Multiple sexual partners

New partner

Unprotected sex

Homosexuality

Sexual partner who has a STD

Having another current STD

 

Symptoms:

In both men and women, gonorrhoea infection can remain asymptomatic.

If you do get symptoms, they can show up from a few days to many months after exposure.

 

In women:

Abnormal vaginal discharge – thin, purulent, yellow or green

Mild odour

Pain passing urine

Pain during sex

Lower abdominal pain

Abnormal vaginal bleeding (in between period or after sex) – rare

 

In men:

Penile discharge – white, yellow, green and occasionally blood tinged

Pain passing urine

Pain in the testicles – rare

 

In both men and women:

In the rectum – usually no symptoms, but may cause discharge, itch or pain.

In the throat – usually no symptoms

In the eyes – can present with pain, swelling, irritation or discharge (conjunctivitis)

 

Click here for more info on Throat Gonorrhea
Click here for more info on Rectal Gonorrhea

Treatment:

Gonorrhoea can be treated with antibiotics and the 1st line antiobitic use is rocephine (ceftriaxone). However, gonorrhoea is becoming more difficult to treat due to drug resistant strains. Commonly, individuals with gonorrhoea can also have other STD such as chlamydia; hence antibiotics are usually given to treat both gonorrhoea and chlamydia.

As for most STD, treatment of an individual infected with gonorrhoea also involves treating their sexual partner. After treatment of gonorrhoea, it is recommended to get tested again to ensure clearance of gonorrhoea (increasing incidence of drug resistance), relapse or re-infection.

It is recommended to refrain from having sex until both you and your sex partner have completed treatment or as advised by your doctor.

Complications:

1% of individuals with untreated gonorrhoea can go on to develop widespread gonorrhoea infection resulting in skin pustules, infection of the joints (fingers, wrists, toes, ankles, knees) , brain or heart valves.

In men, untreated gonorrhoea can give rise to inflammation of the epididymis (the tube that carries the sperm), prostate and urethra. Rarely this can cause subfertility.

In women, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is generally the most feared complication of gonorrhoea, with up to 20% of women with gonorrhoea having retrograde spread of infection from the cervix towards the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries etc leading to PID. Chronic complications of PID, such as fallopian tubal factor subfertility, ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus), and chronic pain, may occur in up to 25% of affected patients.

Other rare complications include septic abortion, chorioamnionitis (infection of amniotic fluid) during pregnancy, infant or adult blindness from eye infection.

 

Individuals with gonorrhoea are more susceptible to HIV and also increase risk of co-infection with other STDs, especially chlamydia.

Correct used of latex condoms can reduce the risk of contracting or spreading gonorrhoea.

 

If you think you are at risk of contracting gonorrhoea, it would be advisable to get tested as it is a simple test (in men – urine test, in women – vaginal swab test) and to get treated early.

To find out more about gonorrhoea or other STDs, please visit your doctor or visit Our Clinics.

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7 Comments

  1. Hi Dr, does PCR urine test works for women testing for Gonorrhea and Chlamydia or only a vaginal swab works? I understand that in the case of females, the bacteria is usually found in the vagina and not the urethra is that accurate? Thx

  2. Unknown

    I’m really confused. I’ve read online that Chlamydia and Gonorrhea test is done only through urine. However, my doctor took my blood for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea which he said will be cultured for 5 days and looked for their DNA.

    Is he doing the right thing?

    • Dr Justin Sim

      Chlamydia testing can be done via the blood but this is not specific, meaning that a positive result doesn’t necessarily mean genital chlamydia (as it can also be found in the lungs). I have not heard of blood testing for gonorrhoea – usually a urine sample or swab of secretions from the region of interest is needed. I would advise you to go back to the doctor and clarify which tests he is doing and exactly what he is checking for.

      • Hello doc, thank you for this helpful website. Could u please evaluate these results:

        SEROLOGY OF CHLAMYDIA TRACHOMATIS:
        Enzyme Linked Immuno-Sorbent Assay (ELISA)

        Anti-Chlamydia trachomatis Antibody (Ig M)+ (Ig G): Negative

        Anticorp Anti-Chlamydia trachomatis (Ig M)+(IgG):Negative

        My doc said i’m cleared of chlamydia but could this be a false negative since it is a blood test?
        Thank you so much doc.

        • Dr Justin Sim

          Your results are reassuring but Chlamydia clearance is best tested via a urine test.

          • Thank you so much doc. It’s very hard to find a urine test for Chlamydia in my country. Do I need to retake the test via a urine test?

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