Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can infect both men and women. It is a very common infection, especially among young people ages 15-24 yeast’s caused by infection with the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoea. It tends to infect warm, moist areas of the body, including the:

  • urethra (the tube that drains urine from the urinary bladder)
  • eyes
  • vagina

Female reproductive  tract (fallopian tubes, cervix and uterus)

How is Gonorrhoea spread?

Gonorrhoea passes from person to person through unprotected oral, anal, or vaginal sex. People with numerous sexual partners or those who don’t use a condom are at greatest risk of contracting this infection. The best protections against sexually transmitted infections are abstinence, monogamy (sex with only one partner) and proper condom usage (either male or female).

How do I know if I have Gonorrhoea?

Symptoms usually occur within 2 to 14 days after exposure. However, some people infected with gonorrhoea never develop noticeable symptoms. It’s important to remember that a person with gonorrhoea who doesn’t have symptoms, also called a nonsymptomatic carrier, is still contagious. A person is more likely to spread the infection to other partners when they don’t have noticeable symptoms.

Symptoms in women

Many women don’t develop any overt symptoms of gonorrhoea. When women do develop symptoms, they tend to be mild or similar to other infections, making them more difficult to identify. Gonorrhoea infections can appear much like common vaginal yeast or bacterial infections.

Symptoms include:

  • Discharge from the vagina (watery, creamy, or slightly green)
  • Pain or burning sensation while urinating
  • The need to urinate more frequently
  • Heavier periods or spotting
  • Sore throat
  • Pain upon engaging in sexual intercourse
  • Sharp pain in the lower abdomen
  • Fever

Symptoms in men

Men may not develop noticeable symptoms for several weeks. Some men may never develop symptoms. 

Typically, the infection begins to show symptoms a week after its transmission. The first noticeable symptom in men is often a burning or painful sensation during urination. As it progresses, other symptoms may include:

  • Greater frequency or urgency of urination
  • A pus-like discharge (or drip) from the penis (white, yellow, beige, or greenish)
  • Swelling or redness at the opening of the penis
  • Swelling or pain in the testicles
  • A persistent sore throat

The infection will stay in the body for a few weeks after the symptoms have been treated. In rare instances, gonorrhoea can continue to cause damage to the body, specifically the urethra and testicles. Pain may also spread to the rectum.

What happens if I don’t get treated?

Women are at greater risk of long-term complications from untreated infections. Untreated infection with gonorrhoea in women may ascend up the female reproductive tract and involve the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. This condition is known as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and can cause severe and chronic pain and damage the female reproductive organs. PID can be caused by other sexually transmitted diseases as well.

Women may also develop blocking or scarring of the fallopian tubes, which can prevent future pregnancy or cause ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus.

Can Gonorrhoea be cured?

Yes, gonorrhoea can be cured with the right treatment. It is important that you take all of the medication  prescribed to cure your infection. Medication for gonorrhoea should not be shared with anyone. Although medication will stop the infection, it will not undo any permanent damage caused by the disease. Gonorrhoea is usually treated with an antibiotic injection of Ceftriaxone one time to the buttocks or a single dose of Azithromycin by mouth. Once on antibiotics, you should feel relief within days.

It is becoming harder to treat some gonorrhoea, as drug-resistant strains of gonorrhoea are increasing. If your symptoms continue for more than a few days after receiving treatment, you should return to a health care provider to be checked again