Gonorrhoea of the Throat

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An area that can also be infected by Gonorrhoea is the throat and this infection is tricky to diagnose as around 90% of the time, there are no symptoms. The bacteria can infect the mucosal cells of the throat, an area where these cells are prevalent and cause a sore throat and swelling.  Some people can be completely unaffected by the infection but other experience pain and need to be treated with antibiotics.

How is gonorrhoea of the throat spread?

The throat infection caused by gonorrhoea is usually spread via unprotected oral sex. As the bacteria are transferred in bodily fluids of the infected area, oral sex is the main method of transfer to the throat. Occasionally it can be spread via immediate touch of sex toys that have not been cleaned however it is not usually spread to other people like a normal throat infection would be.  The infection is also much more easily spread via the penis during oral sex than the vagina.

What are the symptoms?

If any symptoms arise, then they will appear 2-10 days after you have been exposed to the infection. Both men and women will experience the same symptoms and the following symptoms can occur:

  • Sore throat
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Tender red throat
  • Discharge
  • White spots in the back of throat
  • Fever
  • Swollen neck glands

If you are immuno-compromised for whatever reason then there is a risk of the infection spreading around the body more so than if you are healthy so it is best to consult a doctor as soon as symptoms arise or you feel you have been exposed to the infection.

How is it diagnosed?

The doctor will take a swab from your throat to grow a culture to determine if the bacteria present are Neissera gonorrhoeae. It is important to say if you suspect it could be a gonococcal infection because a different throat swab will be carried out.  You might also be tested for other sexually transmitted diseases as there is a high association between gonorrhoea of the throat and Syphilis and Chlamydia.

How is it treated?

A gonococcal throat infection will usually be treated with antibiotics, either just one or a combination of drugs just in case you have contracted an antibiotic resistant strain. A combination of drugs will also clear up any other bacterial infection you may have caught. The antibiotic Ceftriaxone is most commonly used and administered via injection.

How can you prevent infection?

Infection in the throat can be prevented via safe oral sex such as wearing a condom or abstaining from oral sex. It is important to remember that if you are worried about becoming infected by someone orally then you are just as at risk if you were to have any sexual contact with them.

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