Gonorrhoea

Gonorrhoea, also referred to as Neisseria Gonorrhoeae or ‘the clap’, is a venereal disease caused by the gonococcal bacterium. The STD is relatively common. Often occurs together with Chlamydia. You can contract Gonorrhoea genitally, anally and orally. Sometimes you don’t notice it. The infection is treated with an antibiotic.

Gonorrhoea, also referred to as Neisseria Gonorrhoeae or ‘the clap’, is a venereal disease caused by the gonococcal bacterium. The STD is relatively common. Often occurs together with Chlamydia. You can contract Gonorrhoea genitally, anally and orally. Sometimes you don’t notice it. The infection is treated with an antibiotic.

What is Gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea is an STD caused by a bacterium. These gonococcal bacteria settle in the mucous membranes of the vagina, penis, anus and throat. Gonorrhoea is a well-known STD and is referred to as the clap. The condition is common, especially in men who have sex with men. Gonorrhoea is diagnosed about 18,000 times every year. You don’t get Gonorrhoea from kissing or from a toilet seat.

How do you get Gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea can be contracted through unprotected sex. The STD can be transmitted through genital, anal and oral sex. The STD is more often found in men who have sex with men and Gonorrhoea is also often found rectally in this group. Condoms prevent Gonorrhoea.

Did you know? Gonorrhoea is also often referred to as ‘the clap’. Men are more likely to suffer from Gonorrhoea than women. It is estimated that 90% of men notice something, in contrast to about 50% of women. And once Gonorrhoea is in the anus or throat, only 10% notice anything of the infection.

Symptoms

Like Chlamydia, you can also have Gonorrhoea without noticing it. If you do notice something, then it is often the following complaints:

  • Greenish-yellow discharge (in both men and women)
  • Pain when urinating
  • Inflammation of the epididymis and/or prostate
  • Pain when making love
  • Itching or burning sensation at the inflamed site

Symptoms pass, often after a few weeks. But don’t think that everything is okay now. If you don’t notice Gonorrhoea, it doesn’t mean the infection can’t do any damage. You can also pass on Gonorrhoea if you don’t notice it yourself.

What are the risks?

The main risk is infertility (in women). The Gonorrhoea infection can spread to the fallopian tubes, which can cause them to close. This significantly increases the risk of an ectopic pregnancy and infertility. A pregnant woman with Gonorrhoea can infect her child during childbirth. In men, the prostate can become inflamed, the same goes for the epididymis. Joints can become inflamed in both men and women. Prompt treatment prevents complications.

Chance of infection

Gonorrhoea is highly contagious. The chance of contracting Gonorrhoea from having unprotected sex with someone who already has Gonorrhoea is estimated to be 75%. The chance is influenced by the way you have sex. Anal sex seems to be riskier.

Test yourself?

Fortunately, testing for Gonorrhoea is simple. You can do the test with urine or a smear. You can take the test as late as 14 days after you had unsafe sex for the last time. We call this the incubation period. The test looks for the Gonorrhoea bacterium in the body material. If that bacterium is found, you test positive and you need to be treated. If you test negative, there is nothing to worry about.

When testing, you should pay attention to the body location you are testing. If you only had vaginal sex, you test your vagina. But if you also had (or received) anal sex, you should also do an anal test! Oral and anal infections are often missed, simply because these body locations are not tested. Use our test guide to determine which test(s) you need.

Treatment

Gonorrhoea is treatable. Just like Chlamydia, the STD is treated with antibiotics. These include Cephalosporin, which is administered by injection. Previously, Gonorrhoea was treated with a different antibiotic, simply as a tablet. Due to resistance, Cephalosporin is now used.

You can only be treated by a doctor. He can administer the injection.

Approved by M.D. Annelies Lucas

General practitioner and medical director. Worked as a general practitioner for 25 years, obtained a PhD at the University of Maastricht and was the medical director of Diagnostiek voor U from 2011 to 2020.

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