Section : Sexually Transmitted Infections - STI



Dr Christophe Hsu – dermatologist. Geneva, Switzerland

What is gonorrhoea?

  • It is a sexually transmitted infection caused by Neisseria Gonorrhoeae.

How is gonorrhoea transmitted?

  • Sexual intercourse with an infected individual (vaginal, anal, oral).
  • Mother to child transmission (when delivering through the birth canal.
  • A casual social contact or “accidental contaminations” while sitting on the toilet seat are hard to believe, as the bacteria cannot survive for long outside an organism.

Incubation period

  • Symptoms appear two to seven days following the exposure.

What are the signs and symptoms?

Like other sexually transmitted infections, there can be different presentations. An infected individual can be asymptomatic or present with the following symptoms and signs:

  • Gentlemen
  1. Urethral (urinary canal) discharge: whitish or yellowish.
  2. Pain (burning) or irritation  when urinating (dysuria).
  • Ladies
  1. Vaginal discharge: yellowish or greenish.
  2. Dysuria
  • Both sexes: Gonorrhoea of the neck or rectum can remain asymptomatic or can cause a sore throat and rectal discharge respectively.
  • Babies: Conjunctivitis (eye infection) can lead to loss of vision.

What are the long term complications?

  • Gentlemen: The infection can spread to the testes, seminal vesicles and the prostate leading to an acute or chronic infection of these organs.
  • Ladies
  1. Infertility
  2. Ectopic pregnancy
  3. Pelvic Inflammatory disease
  • Both sexes: Generalized extension of the infection to the joints, skin and heart (septicaemia).

How is gonorrhoea diagnosed?

  1. Swabs and cultures of the secretions from the infected areas (urethra, neck, rectum, cervix (of the uterus).
  2. Blood tests are not useful for the diagnosis of this condition.

Can the bacteria of gonorrhoea be resistant to the treatment?

  1. Gonorrhoea is an infection caused by different strains of Neisseria Gonorrhoeae. Some of them can become resistant  to conventional antibiotic doses.
  2. Indeed, certain strains produce an enzymes called penicillinase, which can completely neutralize penicillin, and render it ineffective.

Can I be cured from gonorrhoea?

  • Yes, if it is rapidly detected following exposure (infection) and treated with an appropriate antibiotic.

What must I might be infected?

  1. See your doctor immediately who will prescribe appropriate antibiotics.
  2. Do not engage in any sexual intercourse until the doctor confirms that you are cured.
  3. Do not self-medicate. The signs of the disease could be hidden, and complications from insufficient treatment could arise.
  4. Inform your doctor of any drug allergies.
  5. Ensure that your sexual partners also see a doctor so that they can also receive appropriate treatment if infected.
  6. Infection by gonorrhoea does not make you immune to future infections.

How can I practice a “safer sex attitude”?

  • It is a sexual intercourse with no contact between the secretion fluids (vaginal secretions, sperm).
  • Use condoms (male or female available) for each sexual intercourse.
  • Do not consume alcohol before or during the sex act as it could impair your judgement.


Dr Husain Ali Mahdi Juma  (دكتورحسين علي جمعه) – dermatologist. Manama, Bahrain

Dr Christophe Hsu – dermatologist. Geneva, Switzerland

National Skin Centre. Singapore

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