Gonorrhoea: Facts About “The Clap”

Gonorrhoea, often called “the clap”, is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. This tricky bug thrives in warm, moist areas of the body like the cervix, urethra, anus, rectum, or throat. You can catch gonorrhoea through vaginal, anal or oral sex – even just physical genital contact spreads it. Using shared sex toys without washing them first is another way to pick up this lovely bug.

The Ominous Signs You Might Have Gonorrhoea

Early gonorrhoea symptoms are often mild, especially for women who may have no signs at all. You could get hit with these delightful symptoms anywhere from 1-14 days after exposure:

For Women:

  • Painful or burning pee
  • Funky vaginal discharge (yellow, bloody, smelly)
  • Tummy aches
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Rectal irritation or discharge

For Men:

  • Gross yellow/green penile discharge
  • Swollen, painful testicles
  • Burning sensations when peeing
  • Rectal irritation or discharge

Both genders can also get gonorrhoea infections in the throat (causing a sore throat) or eyes (conjunctivitis/pink eye). Basically, it travels to all the fun places.

How to Know for Sure

The only way to truly know if you have gonorrhoea is to get tested. Don’t be shy – hit up your doctor or local sexual health clinic ASAP if you suspect something is amiss. They’ll examine your privates, take some swabs, and check for bacteria. Expect to leave a urine sample too.

Not-So-Fun Treatment Time

If you do have gonorrhoea, the cure is a round of antibiotics like amoxicillin. But listen up – your partner(s) need to get treated too, even if they have zero symptoms. Otherwise this annoying bug will just keep bouncing back and forth between you. After treatment, you’ll get re-tested to make sure the little buggers are all gone.

Heads up – there’s a new “super gonorrhoea” strain floating around that’s resistant to some standard antibiotics. Let’s hope we can stay ahead of this rapidly-evolving bug.

What Happens If You Ignore It?

In women, the biggest risk of untreated gonorrhoea is developing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), where the infection spreads to your uterus and fallopian tubes. PID can seriously mess things up and potentially lead to infertility or ectopic pregnancy down the line.

For men, gonorrhoea likes to inflame the testicles which puts you at risk for infertility issues as well. In rarer cases, the infection can get into your joints or bloodstream and really ruin your day.

If you’re pregnant, you could also pass this delightful gift on to your newborn baby – no thanks! The moral of the story? Don’t ignore those symptoms, get thee to a doctor!

Photo “STD” by Anthony Cunningham for Zoom Health

Zoom Health is a leading UK supplier of Home Health Tests and Earplugs

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