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Gonorrhoea

Signs and symptoms
It is possible to be infected with gonorrhoea and have no symptoms. Men are far more likely to notice symptoms than women.

Women
Symptoms can include:

A change in vaginal discharge. This may increase, change to a yellow or greenish colour and develop a strong smell
A pain or burning sensation when passing urine
Irritation and/or discharge from the anus.
Men
Symptoms may include:

A yellow or white discharge from the penis
Irritation and/or discharge from the anus
Inflammation of the testicles and prostate gland
Transmission
Gonorrhoea is passed on

By penetrative sex (when the penis enters the vagina, mouth or anus)
And less often by

Rimming (where a person uses their mouth and tongue to stimulate another person’s anus)
Inserting your fingers into an infected vagina, anus or mouth and then putting them into your own without washing your hands in between.
Sharing vibrators or other sex toys
Diagnosis and treatment
You can be tested for gonorrhoea and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) at your local GUM clinic. The diagnosis will be made following examination including:

A doctor or a nurse carries out an examination of your genital area.
Samples are taken, using a cotton-wool or spongy swab, from any places which may be infected – the cervix, urethra, anus or throat.
Women are given an internal pelvic examination.
A sample of urine may be taken.
Samples taken are looked at under a microscope and it may be possible to make a diagnosis immediately. A second sample is sent to a laboratory for diagnosis or confirmation and results should be available within a week.

If the tests are positive treatment is easy but essential. You will be given an antibiotic in tablet, liquid or injection form.

You should not have penetrative sex (where the penis enters the vagina, mouth or anus) until you have returned to the clinic and been given the all clear by the doctor.

Long-term effects
If left untreated gonorrhoea can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease in women. This can cause fever, pain and can lead to infertility or ectopic pregnancy (where the baby begins to grow in the fallopian tubes, not the womb). A woman can pass it on to her baby if she is infected when the baby is born.

In men, gonorrhoea can cause inflammation of the testicles and the prostate gland, which causes pain. Without treatment the urethra may become narrower.

If you think you have been at risk contact your local NHS GUM (Sexual Health) clinic and make an appointment.


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