Gonorrhoea is a bacterial infection that is spread through unprotected sexual contact. It can affect the rectum, urethra, throat, and sometimes the eyes, if left untreated. Symptoms of Gonorrhoea may include painful or burning urination, abnormal discharge from the penis or vagina, pain during intercourse, and swollen testicles for men. Pregnant women may experience premature birth or stillbirth if their baby is infected. Complications of Gonorrhoea may include infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, and arthritis. Treatment typically involves antibiotics, either orally or as shots.


The most common symptoms of gonorrhoea are a burning sensation when urinating, a thick yellow or green discharge from the penis or vagina, pain or tenderness in the lower abdomen, and pain during sexual intercourse. Additionally, men may experience swollen or painful testicles. If left untreated, it may also lead to more serious conditions such as pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, and even death.


The most common cause of gonorrhoea is sexual contact with an infected partner. This includes vaginal, anal, and oral sex. Gonorrhoea can also be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her baby during birth or through the shared use of sex toys. Most people with gonorrhoea do not show any signs or symptoms, so it is possible to have the infection without knowing it.

Risk factors

The main risk factors for Gonorrhoea include having unprotected sex with multiple partners, having a sexually transmitted infection, having a history of other sexually transmitted infections, being a male or female who has sex with multiple partners, having sex with someone who has a history of multiple partners, and having a weakened immune system due to HIV, chemotherapy or steroid use. In addition, people who practice anal intercourse, those who use injectable drugs and those with a history of alcohol or drug abuse are also at higher risk of becoming infected with Gonorrhoea.


Gonorrhoea is usually diagnosed by a urine test or swab test. A swab test involves taking a sample from the affected area, such as the vagina, penis or rectum, which is then sent to a laboratory for analysis. A urine test may also be used, which is when a sample of the patient’s urine is taken and sent to the lab. In some cases, a doctor may even take a sample from the cervix for analysis. Once the test results are returned, the doctor will be able to determine whether the patient has contracted gonorrhoea and advise the patient on the appropriate treatment plan.


There are several types of gonorrhea, including:

  1. Uncomplicated gonorrhea: This form of the infection is found in the urethra, mucous membranes, and throat, and is most common in young adults.
  2. Cervicitis: This form of gonorrhea occurs in the cervix and can lead to pain and bleeding during intercourse.
  3. Proctitis: This type of gonorrhea infects the rectum, causing rectal pain, discharge, and itching.
  4. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): This is a serious infection of the reproductive system that is caused by gonorrhea, and can lead to infertility.
  5. Disseminated gonococcal infection (DGI): This is a dangerous infection that involves the bloodstream, and can cause skin lesions, arthritis, and infection of the heart valves.
  6. Pharyngeal gonorrhea: This type of infection affects the throat, and is most commonly characterized by a sore throat.
  7. Conjunctivitis: This is an eye infection caused by gonorrhea, which may lead to a discharge from the eyes.


The treatment options for gonorrhoea usually involve a combination of antibiotics. This is to ensure that any infection is fully treated and to reduce the chances of the infection coming back. Commonly used antibiotics for treating gonorrhoea include ceftriaxone and azithromycin. These two antibiotics can be administered either intravenously (IV) or orally (by mouth).

In some cases, the patient may be required to take two separate antibiotics, cefixime and spectinomycin, in order to completely treat the infection. If the infection does not respond to these antibiotics, then more aggressive antibiotic therapies may be required.

In some cases, a single dose of ceftriaxone may be enough to treat the infection. However, this is usually only recommended in cases where the infection is mild, and the patient is at low risk of developing complications. If the patient has a severe infection and/or is at risk of developing complications, then a longer course of treatment with multiple antibiotics may be needed.

It is important to take all of the prescribed medications as directed, to prevent the gonorrhoea from becoming resistant to the antibiotics. Additionally, if the patient has had unprotected sex, then the partner should be tested and treated if necessary. This will help to reduce the risk of re-infection.


Gonorrhoea is an infectious bacterial sexually transmitted disease (STD). It is important to practice safer sex by using a condom during sexual activity to reduce the risk of transmitting or contracting gonorrhoea. Additionally, it is important to get regular testing, especially if one is sexually active with multiple partners. People who are diagnosed with gonorrhoea should also avoid sexual contact until they have completed treatment. Finally, it is important to practice open communication with sexual partners and to obtain information regarding the sexual history of one’s partner in order to ensure protection against gonorrhoea and other STDs.

Gender differences?

Yes, there are gender-specific differences in the presentation and management of gonorrhoea. Men typically experience more localised presenting symptoms such as pain when urinating and a discharge from the penis, whereas women may have no localised symptoms and more generalised symptoms such as abdominal pain and irregular vaginal discharge. In terms of management, the sexual partners of individuals diagnosed with gonorrhoea should be tested and treated even if they have no symptoms, however this is more applicable for heterosexual men due to the higher risk of gonorrhoea transmission from male to female than from female to male. Additionally, women tend to be recommended to have follow-up testing to monitor for complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease.


Nutrition plays an important role in the management of Gonorrhoea, as certain dietary changes can help to improve and manage the symptoms of the infection. Adopting a whole-foods, plant-based diet rich in fruits and vegetables can provide essential vitamins and minerals that will support the body’s defenses against infection. Additionally, adding foods like garlic and onions, which contain antimicrobial properties, to the diet can help to reduce inflammation, helping to fight the infection’s symptoms. Lastly, it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and avoiding sugary drinks, caffeine and alcohol, as these can all increase inflammation and weaken the immune system.

Physical Activity

Physical activity does not directly have an effect on Gonorrhoea. However, physical activity can help strengthen the immune system, which can help the body fight against bacterial infections such as Gonorrhoea. Additionally, being physically active can help improve one’s overall health and wellbeing, which can help reduce lifestyle behaviors that are associated with an increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections such as Gonorrhoea.

Further Reading

  1. https://bestpractice.bmj.com/topics/en-us/51/references
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK248304/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK558903/
  4. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gonorrhoea/
  5. https://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment-guidelines/references.htm

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