Gonorrhoea is caused by bacteria and it is one of the most common STDs. Worldwide cases are estimated at 80 million annually. It can lead to infertility in men and women. It is both treatable and preventable, though scientists have discovered new strains of gonorrhoea (SUPER GONORRHOEA) that are resistant to most currently utilized antibiotics.
The new mutations of the bacterium are multidrug- and cephalosporin-resistant gonorrhoea, which is very hard to treat. This organism has managed so far to become resistant to every class of antibiotic used against it. The bacteria are then free to keep multiplying.
Neisseria (N.) gonorrhoea bacterium
Antibiotic resistance (AR) is the ability of bacteria to resist the effects of the drugs used to treat them. This means the germs are not killed and they will continue to reproduce. Neisseria (N.) gonorrhoea, the bacteria that cause gonorrhoea, has developed resistance to nearly all of the antibiotics used for gonorrhoea treatment: Sulphanilamide, Penicillin, Tetracycline, and fluoroquinolones, such as Ciprofloxacin. We are currently down to one last effective class of antibiotics, Cephalosporins, to treat this common infection.
Men with gonorrhoea may have no symptoms at all. However, common symptoms in men include a burning sensation when urinating or a white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis that usually appears 1 to 14 days after infection. Sometimes men with gonorrhoea get painful or swollen testicles.
Most women with gonorrhoea do not have any symptoms. Even when a woman has symptoms, they are often mild and can be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. The initial symptoms in women can include a painful or burning sensation when urinating, increased vaginal discharge, or vaginal bleeding between periods. Women with gonorrhoea are at risk of developing serious complications from the infection, even if symptoms are not present or are mild.
Symptoms of rectal infection in both men and women may include discharge, anal itching, soreness, bleeding, or painful bowel movements. Rectal infections may also cause no symptoms. Infections in the throat may cause a sore throat but usually cause no symptoms.
What are the complications of gonorrhoea?
Untreated gonorrhoea can cause serious and permanent health problems in both women and men.
- In women, gonorrhoea can spread into the uterus (womb) or Fallopian tubes (egg canals) and cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).
- The symptoms may be mild or can be very severe and can include abdominal pain and fever. PID can lead to internal abscesses (pus-filled pockets that are hard to cure) and chronic (long-lasting) pelvic pain.
- PID can damage the Fallopian tubes enough that a woman will be unable to have children. It also can increase her risk of ectopic pregnancy.
- Ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening condition in which a fertilized egg grows outside the uterus, usually in a Fallopian tube.
In men, gonorrhoea can cause a painful condition called epididymitis in the tubes attached to the testicles. In rare cases, this may prevent a man from being able to father children. If not treated, gonorrhoea can also spread to the blood or joints. This condition can be life-threatening.