What is Gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea is a highly contagious bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI). It can be spread by vaginal, oral or anal contact. Gonorrhoea is one of the fastest growing STIs in Ireland. Most people often have no symptoms, but it can lead to health complications such as fertility issues in men and women.

Gonorrhoea is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, so it is important to test regularly, get the right medication and to have a test of cure two weeks after completing treatment.


How can I catch it?

Any sexual activity with an infected person means that you are at risk of contracting Gonorrhoea. It can live in the genital tract, throat and rectum of both men and women (the testes, penis and semen in men, and the vagina in women).

Did you know? …

There were nearly 1,500 new cases of Gonorrhoea in Ireland last year. Was your last partner one of them?

What are the signs and symptoms?

Most people have mild or no symptoms. The only way to know if you have Gonorrhoea is to get tested. When there are symptoms, they will usually start between 5 and 30 days after contracting the infection. Symptoms will differ slightly between men and women. They may include:

  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Painful bowel movement
  • Sore throat
  • Conjunctivitis
  • For women: yellowish discharge from the vagina and/or vaginal bleeding
  • For men: painful or swollen testicles and/or white, yellow or green unusual discharge from the penis.

How can I test for Gonorrhoea?

Testing with Better2Know is fast, simple and painless. Our standard test is done on a urine sample. If you want to test for Gonorrhoea in your throat or rectum, a swab from these sites will be required. With our standard test, you will receive your results within two days after your sample is received in our laboratory. At some clinics in Ireland, you can choose our instant Gonorrhoea test and get your results in around 20 minutes.

You can also get a Home Sample Collection Kit - visit our Home STD Testing page for more details.

If left untreated, what are the health risks?

Gonorrhoea is a very preventable cause of infertility. If left untreated, it can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) which can result in infertility and potentially fatal ectopic (tubal) pregnancy. Most infected women exhibit no symptoms until their fertility is affected.

Pregnant women with the infection can have higher rates of miscarriage, infection of the amniotic sac and fluid, preterm birth, and Preterm Premature Rupture of Membranes (PPROM). Mothers can transmit the bacteria to their unborn child during pregnancy or labour. New-born infants can develop an infection most commonly in the eyes and may eventually go blind, if left untreated.

In men, an untreated infection can lead to reduced fertility and higher risk of developing prostate cancer.

What if I test positive for Gonorrhoea?

Gonorrhoea is usually treated with a course of antibiotics which can completely clear the infection. You can choose to access treatment through your Better2Know doctor, or to take your results to your own GP or local health centre. Your clinician will be able to prescribe the most appropriate antibiotic for you.

If you test positive for Gonorrhoea using a home test kit, we can arrange a doctor’s consultation. Your doctor will receive a copy of your results, discuss your diagnosis with you and prescribe the appropriate antibiotic. To book your private GP appointment, simply phone us on the number at the top of the page.

You should repeat the test two weeks after completing treatment to check that the infection has cleared. It is important to check that the medication has worked effectively since many strains of Gonorrhoea are becoming resistant to antibiotics.

You should refrain from sexual intercourse until you have completed your treatment. You should also contact your previous partner(s) to notify them about your result as he/she may also need to get tested.

Book your Gonorrhoea test

Better2Know is the world’s largest private provider of sexual health testing services. We will arrange a confidential appointment at a clinic near you with fast and accurate results for your peace of mind. Book online or call our Sexual Health Advisors now.