Unprotected oral sex is producing untreatable gonorrhoea

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An important reminder: you really should be using protection for oral sex, too. That means condoms for penis-related things, dental dams for vagina and anus related things.

It’s a recommendation we often ignore, thinking the risks around oral aren’t as ‘serious’ as penetrative sex, or telling ourselves that there’s no point in oral if there’s a bit of latex between your tongue and someone’s genitals.

But we need to be taking the dangers of oral seriously.

The World Health Organisation has announced that oral sex is producing dangerous, untreatable gonorrhea, while the decline in condom use is helping it to spread.

metro illustrations
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

Gonorrhoea is speedily developing resistance to antibiotics, meaning that it’s much harder treat – and in some cases, impossible.

The World Health Organisation analysed data from 77 countries for the report, and found that gonorrhoea’s resistance to antibiotics is widespread, with unstoppable cases cropping up in Japan, France, and Spain.

Around 78 million people develop gonorrhoea each year – and it can have serious effects.

If untreated, gonorrhoea can lead to pain in the pelvis, testicles, and prostate gland. In women, it can spread to other reproductive organs, damaging fertility and risking ectopic pregnancy and blocked fallopian tubes.

metro illustrations
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

In extremely rare cases, gonorrhoea can cause inflammation in other parts of the body, including the membranes of the brain and spinal cord.

It can infect the genitals, which most people think about, but also the rectum and throat. Unprotected oral sex could lead to gonorrhoea bacteria in the throat, mixing with other germs and developing resistance to antibiotics.

It’s particularly concerning when gonorrhea develops in the throat, as this is an area that usually comes into contact with antibiotics – usually for the treatment of a regular sore throat.

This encourages the STI’s resistance, creating, essentially, super-gonorrhoea that won’t be taken down by treatment.

The World Health Organisation is calling for the development of new drugs to treat gonorrhoea, stating that vaccines would be the best solution.

While those treatments are developed, take this as a reminder to please, please stay protected, even during oral.


Symptoms of gonorrhoea:

In women:

  • Unusual vaginal discharge, which may be thin or watery and green or yellow
  • Pain or burning when weeing
  • Pain or tenderness in the lower abdominal area
  • Bleeding between periods, heavier periods, or bleeding after sex
  • An infection in the throat usually causes no noticeable symptoms

In men:

  • Discharge from the tip of the penis, which may be white, green, or yellow
  • Pain or burning when when weeing
  • Swelling of the foreskin
  • Pain or tenderness in the testicles
  • Again, an infection in the throat usually causes no noticeable symptoms

-Metro

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