There are several sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that anyone can be at risk of catching when having sex.
This includes through vaginal, oral or anal sex as well as from the sharing of sex toys that have not been cleaned or covered with a new condom.
The second most common STI is gonorrhoea, affecting more than 70,000 people in 2019 in the UK, which hit a record high.
What is gonorrhoea?
Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae or gonococcus.
The bacteria enters the body and can infect the entrance of the womb (cervix), the tube that allows urine to pass (urethra), the rectum, and in a small number of cases, the throat or eyes.
The bacteria cannot survive outside of the human body so cannot be spread by kissing, hugging, swimming pools or sharing baths.
Gonorrhoea is also known as “the clap” and anyone who is sexually active is at risk of catching the STI.
The best course of action to protect yourself is to have safe sex, by using a condom and by not sharing sex toys with others.
Symptoms of gonorrhoea
Gonorrhoea is often mistaken for chlamydia as it has similar symptoms, such as unusual discharge from the vagina or penis and pain or burning when urinating.
The discharge caused by gonorrhoea can include a thick green or yellow discharge from the vagina or penis.
Most men will experience symptoms of gonorrhoea when infected, however, only around 20% of women will experience symptoms.
It is important to get tested as soon as possible if you experience any abnormal symptoms to prevent any further complications.
Gonorrhoea can be easily tested by taking a sample of discharge with a swab, or in men can be tested through a urine sample.
What is super-gonorrhoea?
Super-gonorrhoea is a form of the STI that is much more severe, and one that has resistance to the antibiotics usually given to treat cases of gonorrhoea.
Treatment for gonorrhoea includes a combination of antibiotics, including ceftriaxone and azithromycin.
These are usually given to treat gonorrhoea but when people suffer from a form of super-gonorrhoea the super strain is resistant to these antibiotics prescribed.
Instead, alternative treatment to antibiotics is needed to treat super-gonorrhoea.
People infected with super-gonorrhoea will experience the same symptoms as those with “regular” gonorrhoea.
The only difference is the treatment for “regular” gonorrhoea will be treated by antibiotics and will be treated quicker.
Whereas super-gonorrhoea will need further treatment after antibiotics and will take longer to treat.
Both regular and super-gonorrhoea are treatable and most people make a full recovery.
However, if gonorrhoea is not treated quickly, it can lead to further health problems and can spread to other parts of the body.
If left untreated it can include long-term health problems, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women, and infertility.
If you’re experiencing any suspected symptoms of gonorrhoea or if you’re worried you have an STI, visit your local sexual health clinic or GP for a test.
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