Jan 2009


Gonorrhoea is a bacterial infection.

It is sexually transmitted and can infect the urethra (where you pee from), anus (Bum), throat and cervix.

Signs and symptoms – what to look out for

It is possible to be infected with gonorrhoea and have no symptoms. Men are far more likely to notice symptoms than women.

Men - Symptoms may include:

  • A yellow or white discharge from the penis
  • Irritation and/or discharge from the anus
  • Inflammation of the testicles and prostate gland

Women - Symptoms can include:

  • Vaginal discharge this may increase, change to a yellowish or greenish colour and develop a strong smell
  • A pain or burning when passing urine
  • Irritation and/or discharge from the anus

How gonorrhoea is passed on:

  • By penetrative sex – when the penis enters the mouth, anus or vagina
    and less often by
  • Rimming – where a person uses their mouth and tongue to stimulate another person’s anus
  • Inserting your fingers into an infected anus, mouth or vagina and then putting them into your own without washing your hands in between

Where to go for help:

  • Your local NHS GUM/Sexual Health Clinic. You can go to any clinic anywhere in the country – you don’t have to go to your local one – and you don’t have to be referred by your GP
  • Your own GP

The tests for gonorrhoea:

  • An examination is carried out of your genital area by a doctor or nurse
  • Samples are taken, using a small swab, from any areas that may be affected – the anus, mouth, urethra and cervix
  • A sample of urine may be taken
  • Women are given a pelvic exam
  • None of these tests are painful, but may sometimes be uncomfortable.

Diagnosis and treatment:

Samples taken during the examination are looked at under a microscope to check for infection. A second sample is sent to the laboratory for testing. This result is usually available within 7-10 days.

Treatment is easy and essential. You will be given an antibiotic in tablet, liquid or injection form.

If you are told you have gonorrhoea you will be asked to see a health advisor who will explain the infection to you and answer your questions. They will also ask you about your sexual partner(s), so that they can get a check-up and treatment if necessary.

You should not have penetrative sex until you have returned to the clinic and had the all clear by the medical staff. The doctor or health advisor will tell you which sexual activities are safe.


Once you have completed your course of treatment you should return to the clinic or GP for a check-up. Some types of gonorrhoea are resistant to certain types of antibiotics, especially if you acquired the infection abroad. Further tests will be done to make sure that the infection has cleared, if it has not you will be prescribed a different antibiotic.

  • Men: Gonorrhoea can cause inflammation of the testicles and the prostate gland, which causes pain. Without treatment the urethra can get narrow or abscesses can develop.
  • Women: If left untreated, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

Once gonorrhoea has been successfully treated, it will not come back unless you get re-infected.

Remember, after treatment, using condoms during sex can reduce your risk of getting or passing on sexually transmitted infections.

What next?

For more information contact us: 07788 415522 or
email: overtherainbow2@dchft.nhs.uk

At Over The Rainbow staff are present Tuesday - Friday, 10am to 5pm , Bournemouth and at other venues throughout the county.

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