Gonorrhoea Singapore | Shim Clinic
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What Is Gonorrhoea?
Gonorrhoea is caused by the Gram-negative bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The common sites of infection include the urethra, the endocervix, the rectum, the pharynx and the conjunctiva.
Caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, gonorrhoea is the second most widespread bacterial sexually transmitted infection. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that in 2020 alone, 82.4 million people became newly infected with gonorrhoea. The good news is that just like other bacterial infections, gonorrhoea can be overcome with the right kind of antibiotic. The bad news is that the bacterium has evolved, getting to be quite resistant to some treatments.
Who Can Be Affected?
Gonorrhoea affects both men and women and it commonly targets the urethra, cervix, rectum and throat. It can spread among individuals of all ages but reports suggest that the infection is most common in those aged 15 to 24.
How Can You Get Gonorrhoea
Gonorrhoea can be contracted or transmitted through unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex. Keep in mind that ejaculation doesn’t have to occur for Neisseria gonorrhoeae to spread. Even when barrier contraception like condoms is being used, there’s still some risk of the bacteria passing from one partner to another.
Some new evidence suggests oral gonorrhoea can be contracted through kissing (in that case, the condition is known as oropharyngeal gonorrhoea). Gonorrhoea can also be passed from mother to baby during childbirth.
Like other sexually transmitted diseases, undiagnosed and untreated gonorrhoea can lead to serious complications. This is why frequent testing, preventative practices and adequate treatment are all essential. Hoping for gonorrhoea to go away on its own is simply not going to yield result; on the contrary – such an approach will make the situation much more serious in the long run.
Common Gonorrhoea Symptoms
Gonorrhoea is problematic because it doesn’t cause symptoms in a big number of cases. As a result, the infection will remain undetected for long periods of time if a person doesn’t get tested regularly.
When it does cause symptoms, these tend to be gender-specific.
Gonorrhoea Symptoms in Women
In women, gonorrhoea causes the following symptoms:
- Increased vaginal discharge that may have unusual smell or colour
- Vaginal bleeding, especially after intercourse
- Heavier periods
- Painful urination
- Pain in the abdomen or the pelvic region
- Pain during penetrative sex
Gonorrhoea Symptoms in Men
In men, the symptoms include:
- Painful urination, greater and more frequent urgency to urinate
- Pus-like penile discharge
- Painful testicular swelling (usually in one testicle)
Gonorrhoea can also affect other parts of the body. When this happens, the symptoms are going to be localised:
- Rectal symptoms include rectal bleeding or discharge, pain, itching, painful bowel movements
- Throat symptoms include swollen lymph nodes in the neck and sore throat
- Eye symptoms include pain, light sensitivity and unpleasant discharge from one or both eyes
- Joint symptoms include warmth at the site of the infection, pain, redness and swelling, difficulties performing certain movements
The Results of Untreated Gonorrhoea
Untreated gonorrhoea will lead to even more serious issues down the line. Some potential gonorrhoea complications include:
- Infertility: it can occur in both men and women. In women, the bacterium can spread to the fallopian tubes and the uterus. In that case, it will cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) – a condition that causes scarring of the tubes, difficulties getting pregnant and a higher risk of miscarriages. In men, gonorrhoea can cause sperm duct inflammation that will eventually lead to infertility without proper treatment.
- Increased risk of contracting other sexually transmitted diseases like HIV/AIDS
- A risk of the infection spreading to the joints and other body parts
- In rare instances, gonorrhoea can affect the cardiovascular system, contributing to serious issues like heart valve damage
Babies who contract gonorrhoea from their mothers during birth will develop their own specific set of symptoms. Some of those include recurrent infections, scalp sores and even blindness.
Anyone who is sexually active can be infected with gonorrhoea. That’s why regular testing is recommended, even for those in a monogamous relationship. People who experience symptoms like the ones mentioned above need to get tested for gonorrhoea and other sexually transmitted diseases – often, the symptoms are similar.
There are various ways to test for gonorrhoea, each one delivering a specific level of accuracy.
- In women, a swab will be used to collect a sample from the vagina or the cervix. Depending on the situation, a swab sample could also be collected from the urethra. Vaginal douching isn’t recommended in the 24 hours before the test because it can lead to a false negative result.
- Men will typically be asked to provide a urine sample. Alternatively, a swab could be used to collect some penile discharge and get it tested. It’s very important for those who want to get tested to refrain from urinating in the two hours prior to providing a sample.
- Whenever the infection affects another body part, testing could occur in an alternative way. In that case, a swab will be used to collect a sample from the throat or the rectum.
Usually, results will be provided in a few days to a couple of weeks. Usually, a follow-up appointment is going to be scheduled, during which your doctor will provide information on the test results and the lifestyle changes/treatment necessitated.
Treatments for Gonorrhoea
Like other bacterial conditions, gonorrhoea is treated with antibiotics. This condition isn’t one you can overcome with over-the-counter medicines, so don’t attempt to self-treat. You’re only going to waste time, which will eventually increase the risk of suffering complications.
The most common recommended treatment is a single injection of an antibiotic called ceftriaxone. A doctor could also prescribe an oral antibiotic like doxycycline for a period of seven days.
In the past, health authorities recommended a combined ceftriaxone and azithromycin treatments. Unfortunately, the bacterium causing gonorrhoea has become increasingly resistant to azithromycin. This is why guidelines have changed to exclude that antibiotic from typical treatment regimens.
The administration of the antibiotic treatment will deliver relief from gonorrhoea symptoms in a couple of days. If you want to be sexually active, however, you will need to wait one week or more after the administration of the last dose (our doctor will let you know exactly how long is needed to clear the bacteria from your body altogether).
If you don’t experience relief from the treatment, our doctor will recommend an alternative antibiotic. Dealing with such complications is possible if the strain of gonorrhoea bacterium you have has become antibiotic-resistant.
Everything You Need to Know about Gonorrhoea Prevention
Several approaches can be employed to reduce the risk of contracting gonorrhoea or eliminate it altogether:
- Abstinence – not having sex is the only fool-proof way to eliminate the risk of contracting gonorrhoea or another STD
- Barrier contraception – correct and consistent use of barrier contraception use like condoms can reduce the risk of gonorrhoea and other STDs by as much as 98 per cent
- Limit your number of sex partners – having a single sex partner and being exclusive reduces the risk of contracting STDs, especially if you combine monogamy with the use of barrier contraception
- Regular STD testing – while this step isn’t going to prevent the infection per se, it can help for early identification
The scientific community is currently working on a gonorrhoea vaccine as the ultimate form of prevention. Unfortunately, such a product isn’t in existence yet. It’s also important to understand the fact that having gonorrhoea once does not result in immunity. Medical journals present information on numerous cases of repeat infections.
Contact Shim Clinic to Get Tested or Treated For Gonorrhoea Now
Our contact details are as follows:Men’s STD Clinic & HIV Test – Shim Clinic
168 Bedok South Avenue 3
- Bignell, C., & FitzGerald, M. (2011). National Guideline on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Gonorrhoea in Adults. Retrieved from http://www.bashh.org/documents/3611
- Workowski, K. & Berman, S. (2010). CDC Sexually Transmitted Disease Treatment Guidelines (2010). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5912a1.htm
- McMillan, I.R., Young, H., Ogilvie, M.M., & Scott. R.G. (2002). Clinical Practice in Sexually Transmissible Infections. London: Saunders Ltd.
- Cook, R.L., Hutchison, S.L., Østergaard, L., Braithwaite, R.S., & Ness, R.B. (2005). Systematic Review: Non-invasive Testing for Chlamydia Trachomatis and Neisseria Gonorrhoea. Ann Intern Med, 142: 914-925. Retrieved from PubMed.
- Tapsall, J.W, Ndowa, F., Lewis, D.A., & Unemo, M. (2009). Meeting the Public Health Challenges of Multi and Extensively-Drug Resistant Neisseria gonorrhoea. Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther, 7:821-34. Retrieved from PubMed.
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* Males: Do not urinate for at least 4 hours before arriving.
* Females: testing is more accurate when you are not menstruating.