What is gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea is an STI caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria. Gonorrhoea is usually spread through unprotected sex with an infected person. Have you had unprotected sex or been advised by a previous partner to get tested? Using Homed-IQ’s simple home STI tests you can quickly check your STI status. Homed-IQ has several home tests available to test for gonorrhoea and other STIs, such as the Chlamydia & Gonorrhoea Test.

What is gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea is a common infection caused by a bacterium called Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Gonorrhoea is sometimes called “the drip” or “the clap”.

How do you get infected with gonorrhoea?

An infection with gonorrhoea can occur during unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sex, or from mother to child during birth. The bacterium can attach to the mucous membrane of the anus, penis, vagina and also infect the eyes, cervix, or throat (UMC Utrecht).

Can you prevent a gonorrhoea infection?

Gonorrhoea can be prevented by having sex using a condom or other barriers. If you share sex toys with someone else, it is also important to disinfect them thoroughly. Another way to prevent gonorrhoea is to get tested before having sex with a new partner.

What are the symptoms of gonorrhoea?

Symptoms of gonorrhoea differ between men and women. While approximately 90% of men experience symptoms within a few days of infection, women may experience little to no symptoms (Thuisarts, 2021).

Signs and symptoms of gonorrhoea in men:

  • Pain when urinating
  • Sore throat
  • Itching or pain in the anus
  • Discharge from the penis
  • In advanced infection: inflammation of the epididymis and/or inflammation of the prostate

Signs and symptoms of gonorrhoea in women:

  • Pain when urinating
  • Sore throat
  • Itching or pain in the anus
  • Vaginal discharge that is yellow-green in color
  • Vaginal bleeding while not on your period
  • In advanced infection: inflammation of your uterus and fallopian tubes, which may cause abdominal pain, fever, or fertility problems

Can you have gonorrhoea without symptoms?

Asymptomatic gonorrhoea occurs more often in women, but is also possible in men. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, you still are contagious. Long term infection with gonorrhoea can have negative health effects, such as pelvic inflammatory disease or rare complications in which the bacteria infects the bloodstream. That is why it is important to get tested for STIs after unprotected sex, even if you have no symptoms.

Gonorrhoea Testing

A gonorrhoea test is easy and discreet to perform with Homed-IQ’s home STI tests. Testing for gonorrhoea only requires a urine sample for men and a vaginal swab for women. If you choose to test for other STIs like syphilis and HIV, you will also be required to submit a finger-prick blood sample. The analysis of the test is done by a certified laboratory.

What is the window period of gonorrhoea?

The window period for gonorrhoea is two weeks. This is the time between when infection occurs and when a test can reliably detect a gonorrhoea infection. You should wait until the window period has passed before testing for gonorrhoea. If the window period has not passed and you are experiencing symptoms that may indicate an STI, contact your doctor or a sexual health clinic.

When should you do a gonorrhoea test?

It is important to test for gonorrhoea if you believe you may have been exposed, such as after unprotected sex or if a former sexual partner has told you to get tested. If you are currently experiencing symptoms of an STI, contact your doctor or visit a sexual health clinic.

What are the long-term effects of gonorrhoea?

The long-term effects of gonorrhoea vary from person to person. If it is not treated in time, the infection can move to other parts of the body. In men, for example, to the epididymis, prostate, or urethra. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) may also occur in women, in which the infection spreads to the reproductive organs. PID can cause infertility, miscarriage, and premature labour.

How serious is gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea is easily treatable with antibiotics. However, the infection can cause serious health effects if left untreated. That is why it is important to be tested regularly and seek prompt treatment if you test positive.

Can you die from gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea only leads to death in rare cases that go without treatment for a long time. In most cases, it is easily treatable and individuals with the infection make a full recovery.

How long can gonorrhoea be in your body?

Without treatment, gonorrhoea can remain in your body for years. After antibiotics, gonorrhoea remains in the body for about a week before the infection is cleared.

How common is gonorrhoea?

In the Netherlands, the Dutch public health authority (RIVM) reports that more than 14,000 cases of gonorrhoea were diagnosed in 2019 and more than 6,700 were diagnosed in 2020 (RIVM, 2021). The decrease in cases may be related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as a result of which fewer people have been tested. Gonorrhoea is also the second most commonly diagnosed STI across Europe and the third most common STI in Germany.

How do you treat gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea can be treated with antibiotics and the exact treatment varies from person to person. The most common method is a single injection with ceftriaxone. It may also be the case that treatment takes place with other antibiotics, such as amoxicillin or ciprofloxacin (RIVM, 2020). The antibiotic azithromycin is also an option, but has the disadvantage that a high dose is required, with unpleasant side effects as a result.

Can gonorrhoea be cured?

Gonorrhoea can be easily cured with antibiotic treatment. Please note that after treatment, you should not have sex for the first week as the infection is still clearing. This applies to oral, anal, and vaginal sex. It is still possible to spread gonorrhoea before treatment has ended (Thuisarts, 2024).

All HOMED-IQ content is reviewed by medical specialists