DISEASE OF THE WEEK...GONORRHEA, AKA "THE CLAP".
WHAT IS GONORRHEA- Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease that infects the mucous membranes* of the reproductive tract in women. That includes the cervix, uterus & fallopian tubes. It also infects the urethra in both males & females. The disease can also infect the mucous membranes of the eyes, mouth, throat & rectum. Gonorrhea is highly infectious & seems to be very common amongst young people. The disease is transmitted via sexual contact with the penis, vagina, anus & mouth of an infected partner. A man does not have to ejaculate in order to spread the disease, contact is enough as it’s so contagious. Unfortunately, a pregnant woman can also spread the disease to her baby during childbirth. (*A mucous membrane is a membrane that lines various cavities in the body & covers the surface of internal organs)
SYMPTOMS- A lot of the time, both men & women don’t show much sign of symptoms. For men when gonorrhoea is present, signs & symptoms of urethral infection can include dysuria* & white, yellow or green discharge that usually appears one to fourteen days after infection. With women even if symptoms are present they are often so mild & nonspecific, they are often confused for a bladder or vaginal infection. If there are symptoms they include, dysuria, vaginal bleeding between periods & increased vaginal discharge. Symptoms with rectal infection in both sexes include anal itching, discharge, bleeding & painful bowel movements. Signs of infection in the throat are usually just a sore throat, therefore it’s best when getting tested to also get your throat swabbed along with your rectum & genitalia. (*Dysuria is when a person experiences pain whilst urinating).
COMPLICATIONS OF GONORRHEA- If left untreated, gonorrhoea can cause serious & permanent health issues. In women the infection can spread to the uterus or fallopian tubes causing pelvic inflammatory disease. The symptoms of PID can be quite severe or quite mild & can include abdominal pain or fever. PID can lead to internal abscesses & chronic pain in the pelvis. It can also damage the fallopian tubes to the point of infertility. In rare cases the infection of gonorrhoea in men can cause other complications in turn causing infertility.
LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY- The term “the clap” was first used in the 1300’s by John Ardene, surgeon to Richard II & Henry IV of England. The origin of the word clap is unclear but there are a number of theories as to why gonorrhoea was called “the clap”. It’s believed that clap may refer to the old French term, “clapier”, meaning brothel because gonorrhoea was easily spread through the brothels. A much more obscure theory is referred to how the infection was formally treated. To treat gonorrhoea in medieval times it involved slamming a heavy book or any heavy set object, down on the penis so that it would push all the discharge out, hence the “clap”. HHHMM, sounds uncomfortable, really have to laugh at the latter though don’t you!
Remember to keep up to date with your sexual health checks lovers!
Love Always Lexi XXX