Gonorrhea is an infection caused by a bacterium. In Quebec, it mainly affects people aged 15 to 24. It can remain hidden (without symptoms) for a long time. Many young people are infected without knowing it and so they’re at risk of transmitting the infection to their partners. People infected with gonorrhea often have chlamydia as well.
Gonorrhea is transmitted during unprotected sex with penetration of the penis in the mouth, vagina, or anus. A mother can also transmit the infection to her baby while giving birth. It’s possible to be infected more than once.
In most cases, gonorrhea doesn’t cause any symptoms. Many people carry the infection without knowing it and can spread it because it’s contagious.
Symptoms may appear 2 to 10 days after sexual contact with an infected person.
Symptoms in women 👩:
- vaginal discharge
- bleeding between periods and during penetration
- burning feeling while urinatingg
- pain during penetration
- discharge and itching around the anus, pain when passing stool
Symptoms in men 👨:
- pain in the penis and abnormal discharge
- pain in the testicles
- burning feeling while urinating
- discharge from the anus, itching, pain when passing stool
- pain and inflammation of the throatge.
Screening and treatment 🔍
Screening is done during a medical examination. The doctor samples secretions and has them analyzed to verify the presence of the bacterium and identify it.
Gonorrhea is treated with 💊 antibiotics prescribed by the doctor. Over time, some strains of bacteria have become resistant to known antibiotics, which makes treatment more difficult. So the best treatment is prevention.
To avoid catching or spreading gonorrhea ☔, use a condom during vaginal and anal sex. Also use a condom or a dental dam (a sheet of latex that protects the mouth) during oral sex. Finally, ask your sexual partners to see a doctor and take a screening test, even if they don’t have any symptoms.