A significant rise in gonorrhoea cases has led to a warning from public health specialists, who urge the use of condoms and regular testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The increase in England since the COVID pandemic is concerning, with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) reporting a 21% jump in diagnoses between January and September 2022, compared to the same period in 2019.
So, what is gonorrhoea and why are public health specialists concerned about the rise in cases? Find out everything you need to know in this informative blog.
What is gonorrhoea?
Gonorrhoea results from an infection brought about by a bacterium transmitted through sexual contact, impacting both men and women. This condition typically occurs in the urethra, rectum, or throat, while in women, it can also affect the cervix.
The primary modes of gonorrhoea transmission include vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse. Worryingly, infants can also contract the infection from their mothers during the birthing process, with the eyes being the most susceptible area for new-borns.
To effectively safeguard against sexually transmitted infections, it’s crucial to use protection such as condoms during sexual activity.
Symptoms of gonorrhoea
Often, gonorrhoea infections don’t present any noticeable symptoms. However, when they do occur, they typically manifest in the genital region.
For men, symptoms may involve discomfort during urination, a pus-like discharge from the penis, and pain or swelling in one testicle. In women, the signs of gonorrhoea infection can include an increase in vaginal discharge, pain during urination, irregular vaginal bleeding after intercourse, and discomfort in the abdominal or pelvic area.
Testing for gonorrhoea
In recent years, there have been instances of gonorrhoea with resistance to ceftriaxone, the primary antibiotic used to treat the infection. This has mainly occurred in individuals in their twenties.
Prioritising sexual health is crucial when maintaining or beginning a new intimate relationship. The most prevalent sexually transmitted infections include chlamydia and gonorrhoea, with one in six individuals affected. When left undetected and untreated, these infections can lead to severe complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancies, or infertility.
Undergoing testing a minimum of once per year, irrespective of the presence of symptoms, can aid in reducing the likelihood of contracting or transmitting STIs during sexual activity. Postponing appropriate care and treatment may result in the development of long-term issues that become increasingly challenging to resolve.
At SureScan, we provide comprehensive sexual health testing, guidance, and treatment options. These tests are carried out by professional consultant gynaecologists, ensuring the highest level of confidentiality and quality care.
Book a sexual health test now to help protect yourself against common STIs such as gonorrhoea. If an STI is discovered, you will be able to receive immediate treatment to eradicate the condition.