Gonorrhoea, a growing infection

If left untreated, gonorrhoea can lead to a number of complications, which is why it is important to detect it in time or, better still, to prevent it. What you need to know about this disease that is unfortunately claiming more and more victims.

What is gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the gonococcus bacteria that is growing rapidly and steadily.

How is it transmitted?

The disease is transmitted during sexual intercourse with the exchange of biological fluids, i.e. it can be contracted mainly through unprotected vaginal or anal penetration and oral sex (mainly through fellatio; rarely through cunnilingus). A mother can also infect her child at the time of delivery.

Symptoms

Symptoms usually appear 2-10 days after sexual contact with an infected partner. In men, who are more likely to contract the disease, they may take the form of a purulent discharge from the penis, often accompanied by pain when passing urine, and tenderness in the testicles. Women may experience bleeding between periods, painful intercourse and abnormal vaginal discharge (thick, yellowish or bloody).

When gonorrhoea is in the cervix, throat or anus, most people have few or no symptoms. However, they may notice a vaginal discharge, tingling in the anus and painful passing of stools with bleeding. If the throat is affected, swelling of the tissue and the presence of pus are more likely.

Complications

In women, untreated gonorrhoea increases the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, chronic pelvic pain, fallopian tube or ovarian abscesses, ectopic pregnancy, infertility and infection around the liver. Long-term consequences in men can include inflammation of the testicles which can cause infertility, prostatitis and difficulty in urinating.

Approximately 2% of untreated people can develop disseminated gonorrhoea. This rare complication is characterised by fever, skin lesions and arthritic pain

Testing

The two most common tests are the Gram stain and a culture. The former is fairly accurate for men, but less so for women. However, a culture of samples taken from the cervix can detect the infection in about 90% of cases. The doctor can also perform a throat or anus test. This test can also detect bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

How is it treated?

The doctor will prescribe a single dose of antibiotics. In the case of pregnant women and young people under the age of 18, certain products should be avoided.