Gonorrhoea is a bacterial infection like Chlamydia, but less common. If you’re a woman aged 16-24 or a man aged 20-24, you are at the greatest risk.
Gonorrhoea can be passed on through unprotected vaginal sex, anal sex or oral sex (kissing, licking or sucking someone’s genitals). If people share sex toys and do not wash them or cover them with a condom every time then they can pass gonorrhoea on as well.
About 10% of men and 50% of women will not have obvious signs of gonorrhoea so you may need a test to find out whether you have it.
How Is It Passed On?
It is passed on by unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex, when sharing sex toys, or by a mother to her baby at birth.
What Are The Symptoms?
About 10% of men and 50% of women with gonorrhea show no symptoms. Symptoms can be mild and go unnoticed, but typical signs of infection include:
Symptoms for both men and women
- Thin white, yellow or green discharge from the penis or the vagina
- Frequent need to wee
- Pain when weeing
- In rare cases lower stomach pain.
Women may notice heavier than usual periods or bleeding between periods.
Men may have painful testicles.
How Is It Treated?
Visit a GUM clinic or your GP to have the infection diagnosed. Usually a swab is taken from the vagina and a sample of urine may be taken. Gonorrhea is easily treated with antibiotics. If untreated it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease or ectopic pregnancy, which can lead to infertility ,inflammation of the joints or the eyes.
Remember treatment in a STI clinic is confidential, non-judgmental and free. Staff in the clinic are trained to treat STIs in an understanding and helpful way so there is no need for you to feel embarrassed.