Wednesday, 22 August 2012


Gonorrhoea - or 'the clap' - can have
serious consequences for your
health if not treated promptly.
What is gonorrhoea ?
Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted
infection. It's caused by a bacteria
found mainly in semen and vaginal
Causes and risk factors
It’s usually passed from one person
to another during vaginal, oral or
anal sex, or by sharing sex toys. It
can live inside the cells of the:
Eyes (although this is rare).
Gonorrhoea can also be passed
from a pregnant woman to her
About 50 per cent of women and 10
per cent of men who are infected
will not have any obvious signs or
Symptoms can appear any time
from one to 14 days after coming
into contact with gonorrhoea, or
many months later, or not until the
infection spreads to other parts of
you body.
Women might notice:
Unusual vaginal discharge - this
may be thin, watery, yellow or
Pain when urinating.
Lower abdominal pain or
Bleeding between periods.
Men might notice:
Unusual discharge from the tip of
the penis - this may be white,
yellow or green, and there may be
inflammation of the foreskin.
Pain when urinating.
Painful or tender testicles.
If the infection is in the rectum or
eye, you may experience discomfort,
pain or discharge. Gonorrhoea in the
throat usually has no symptoms.
Treatment and recovery
It's important to be tested quickly if
you think you might have
gonorrhoea. Testing's free on the
NHS from genitourinary medicine
(GUM) clinics, sexual health clinics,
some contraception clinics and your
The test for gonorrhoea is simple
and painless. Either a urine test is
done or a swab (like a cotton bud) is
used to take a sample of cells from
the vagina or urethra. If you've had
anal or oral sex, a swab will be taken
from your rectum or throat. Your
eyes will be tested if you have
conjunctivitis (discharge from the
Gonorrhoea is easy to treat with a
single dose of antibiotics, either by
tablets or injection. The antibiotics
used to treat gonorrhoea interact
with the combined oral contraceptive
pill and the contraceptive patch
making them less effective, so check
this with your doctor or nurse.
To avoid reinfection, any sexual
partners should be treated too. If
complications occur, another
treatment might be needed.
Without treatment, the infection can
spread to other parts of the body
causing damage and long-term
health problems, including infertility.
In women, gonorrhoea can spread
to the reproductive organs causing
pelvic inflammatory disease. This can
lead to:
Long-term pelvic pain.
Ectopic pregnancy (when a
pregnancy develops outside the
womb, usually in the fallopian
Blocked fallopian tubes (the tubes
that carry the egg from ovary to
In men, gonorrhoea can lead to
painful infection in the testicles and
the prostate gland. It may reduce
Less commonly, gonorrhoea can
cause inflammation of the joints and
tendons. Rarely, it can cause
inflammation of the brain, spinal
cord and heart.
Advice and support
Go to your GP, a genitourinary
medicine clinic or a sexual health
clinic. All services are confidentia

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