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Your in-depth guide to gonorrhoea, an STD that spreads via oral, anal, and vaginal intercourse

Updated on:21 April 2020, 19:40pm IST
Not just HIV AIDS--you also need to protect yourself from STDs like gonorrhoea that can impact your fertility.
Dr Gandhali Deorukhkar
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Although totally curable, you can protect yourself from STDs like gonorrhoea by practicing safe sex. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

When it comes to sexually-transmitted diseases, we hardly ever think beyond HIV AIDS or chlamydia. But today, let’s shed some light on another STD which can hamper fertility in women if left untreated. We’re talking about gonorrhoea.

An STD caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae that infects both males and females, it affects the urethra, rectum, and throat.

Gonorrhoea loves to dwell in warm and moist areas of the body like urethra, eyes, throat, vagina, anus, fallopian tubes, cervix, and uterus.

You will be shocked to know that gonorrhoea passes from person to person via unprotected vaginal, oral, and even anal sex. And the best way to save yourself from its wrath is to seek help as soon as the following symptoms present themselves.

All you need to know about the symptoms of gonorrhoea
You may notice symptoms two to 14 days after the exposure. The symptoms in men are burning or painful sensation while urinating, an urgency to urinate, pus-like discharge from the penis, swelling at the opening of the penis with redness, swelling or testicle pain, and sore throat.

gonorrhoea
If you want to reduce your risk of STDs like gonorrhoea, then don’t have unprotected sex and trust condoms! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Women on the other hand may exhibit symptoms such as vaginal yeast, sore throat, vaginal discharge, urge to urinate more frequently, heavier periods or spotting, painful urination, lower abdominal pain, and fever.

Who is at risk of gonorrhea?
You may get it if you are young, have sex with multiple partners, have multiple sex partners, and have had gonorrhoea before.

Also read: Just got laid? Don’t forget to follow these 4 absolutely essential post-sex habits

What are some of the complications associated with this disease?
Gonorrhoea tends to spread to the uterus and the Fallopian tubes inviting pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This in turn can lead to scarring of the tubes, causing pregnancy complications and infertility in women.

The bacterium which causes this STD can also spread to your bloodstream and affect other parts of the body, including joints. So if you have gonorrhea, you may also experience fever, rashes, skin sores, and joint pain. This disease also puts you at an increased risk of HIV/AIDS.

fertility and STDs
If left untreated, gonorrhoea can negatively impact your fertility. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Not only this, it can also spread from pregnant women to their unborn babies who may contract the disease during birth and develop blindness, sores on the scalp, and infections.

So, how can gonorrhoea be treated?
If you are diagnosed with gonorrhoea then your doctor will prescribe antibiotics that will help you deal with the condition. But, remember not to self-medicate as that can be risky. Make sure that you follow your doctor’s instructions and take the medications accordingly.

Since prevention is better than cure, here are a few preventive measures that you must keep in mind:

No sex without protection: Make sure that you use condoms while having intercourse. Use a condom in any type of sexual contact including anal sex, oral sex, and vaginal sex. Avoid having sexual contact without protection.

Opt for regular screening: Undergo screening on a regular basis if you are sexually active. Consult your doctor about this.

Be mindful of gonorrhoea symptoms in your partner: Avoid having intercourse if your partner exhibits symptoms of gonorrhoea. Do not have sex with multiple partners as doing so can also put you at the risk of the disease.

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Dr Gandhali Deorukhkar Dr Gandhali Deorukhkar

Dr Gandhali Deorukhkar is currently working as a consulting gynaecologist & obstetrician at Nucleus Medical and Diagnostic Centre, Worli, Mumbai and at Piramal Wellness Hospital (SRL Diagnostics), Lower Parel, Mumbai.