Young people and STDs — Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases and is caused by a bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Young people may know this STD as the \”clap,\” or \”a dose,\” or \”a drip\”.

Gonorrhea is contracted by unprotected sexual intercourse with somebody infected with the disease. Gonorrhea is easily spread through oral and anal sex and is more common in women than in men.

What are the symptoms?

You may not have any symptoms at all. The symptoms typically take between 2 and 10 days to appear but for some people can take months to appear. By getting a urine sample taken you can find out if you are infected with the STD. Examining discharge in women or doing a swab test of the infected area can also determine if you have it. Gonorrhea is preventable and treatable and the earlier you catch it the easier and quicker it is to cure. A course of antibiotics will attack the bacteria and usually clears it right up within two weeks. If gonorrhea goes untreated, it can spread and cause pelvic infections, which need a longer course of antibiotics, so catching it early is very important. If a woman goes untreated for gonorrhea, it can spread from one area of the reproductive tract to other surrounding parts, and could cause Ectopic/Tubal Pregnancy. (This is where pregnancy occurs outside of the uterus) In men, failure to treat gonorrhea can cause a serious infection in the testicles.

For women, symptoms include:

– Vaginal pus-like discharge
– Frequent urination
– A burning feeling when urinating
– Pain when having sex
– Blisters, lumps, rash or sores
– Tenderness or pelvic pain
– Irregular periods or bleeding between menstrual cycles

For men, symptoms include:

– Pain, discharge, and bleeding from the anus (from gonorrhea in the anus)
– Redness, itching, or discharge of/from the eyes (from gonorrhea in the eye)
– Joint swelling and skin rash, blisters or sores (from gonorrhea in the joints)
– Frequent urination
– Itching or soreness in or around the penis/scrotum

If you have gonorrhea, you should refrain from intercourse until the infection is gone and you get the all clear from your doctor. You should make your sexual partners aware of your infection as you could have passed it on to others. When it is safe for you to be sexually active again, use a condom. Practice safe sex so that you do not contract it again.

Author Rita Galimberti Femplus Clinic

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