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What is gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea is the third most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the UK, after chlamydia and genital warts. You can catch it by having unprotected sexual contact with an infected person.

As with many STIs, if gonorrhoea is caught early it can be easily treated without any further complications. However, left untreated it can have serious health consequences.

Our online doctors can provide advice and treatment for gonorrhoea. We're open 6am - 11pm, 7 days a week and our doctors will arrange all the necessary tests and treatment for you.

Who is affected by gonorrhoea?

In general, STIs such as gonorrhoea are more common in sexually active people under the age of 25. One possible reason for this is that young people are considered to be more likely to engage in casual sex and change their partner more regularly.

According to Public Health England, there were 36,244 gonorrhoea diagnoses in 2016, down 12% from the previous year.

Gonorrhoea symptoms

Gonorrhoea doesn’t always cause symptoms. Nearly half of women and 10% of men will not get any, but it’s still important to see a doctor if you think you may be at risk.

If symptoms do occur, they are naturally very different for women and men.

Women might notice:

  • Vaginal discharge
  • A burning sensation when you pee
  • Stomach pain
  • Period changes
  • Vaginal bleeding

Common symptoms for men include:

  • Discharge from the penis
  • A burning sensation when you pee
  • Swelling around the head of the penis
  • Testicular pain

You can find more information about the symptoms of gonorrhoea, as well as what can happen if it’s left untreated.

Gonorrhoea causes

Gonorrhoea can be passed from person to person through any form of unprotected sexual contact. This includes having vaginal, oral or anal sex without a condom, non-penetrative sexual contact or sharing sex toys.

You’re also more likely to get an STI such as gonorrhoea if you’ve had it before.

You can find out more information about the causes of gonorrhoea.

Gonorrhoea treatment

Gonorrhoea is a bacterial infection, which means it can be effectively treated with antibiotics. In some cases, this will involve an injection in your buttocks or thigh. Our doctor can provide you with a referral to the relevant medical facility.

This will often be followed by an antibiotic tablet to fully clear up the infection. It is sometimes possible to have two tablets instead of an injection.

Find can find out more about how the treatment for gonorrhoea works.

Gonorrhoea in pregnancy

Gonorrhoea can put your baby at risk if it’s not treated as soon as possible. You might pass the infection on to them during birth, which can lead to serious health problems. For example, they may get conjunctivitis that could, in rare cases, lead to blindness.

Gonorrhoea can significantly increase your risk of premature birth, miscarriage and stillbirth, while it can also lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which increases your risk of an ectopic pregnancy. This occurs when an egg is fertilised outside the womb.

Our doctors can help you treat gonorrhoea safely and effectively during pregnancy. If the infection is caught early, they can make sure the health of your baby is not affected.