Doctor warns 'burning sensation' could be sign of common infection

Side View Of Man Suffering From Stomachache Sitting On Toilet Seat
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New figures from the UK Health Security Agency have revealed gonorrhoea and syphilis cases are at an all-time high throughout the UK. With summer on the horizon, the absence of proper education on these common STIs could see cases rise even further, a doctor has warned.

Dr Donald Grant, a GP and senior clinical advisor at The Independent Pharmacy, has shared his expertise on these two sexually transmitted infections, revealing the symptoms to look out for.

Gonorrhoea

Dr Grant said: “After chlamydia, gonorrhoea (also known as ‘the clap’) is the second most transmitted STI in the UK. Therefore, it’s vital to understand the symptoms of the infection and how to receive treatment.

“This STI can be spread through several ways, including unsafe sex, sharing sex toys or genitals coming into contact with an infected person’s genital area. It’s important to note that this infection cannot be passed through casual contact such as kissing or sharing a towel.

“For men, symptoms of gonorrhoea include a burning sensation while urinating, inflamed foreskin and white, yellow or green discharge from the penis. Additionally, women suffering from the infection will experience symptoms such as heavier periods, thick green or yellow vaginal discharge, lower abdominal pain and a similar burning sensation during urination.

“If you believe you are suffering from gonorrhoea, it’s crucial to get tested. A Gonorrhoea Test Kit requires you to submit a urine sample for further evaluation, results are available 72 hours after posting the sample with results being delivered electronically."

Syphilis

Dr Grant said: “While syphilis may be less prevalent than gonorrhoea, the rise in cases suggests a lack of education on the STI. This infection has a number of stages, with symptoms varying throughout, however, in general, these symptoms are mostly the same for both men and women.

“In the primary stage, sores appear around the area where the infection entered the body, this could be the mouth, anus or genitals. Interestingly, while the sores will heal on their own, the infection will remain in the body, highlighting the importance of seeking testing and treatment.

“In the secondary stage, rough red or reddish-brown rashes will appear on the palms and soles while other rashes could appear throughout the body’s surface. Other common symptoms experienced in the secondary stage of syphilis include fever, patchy hair loss, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes.

“With syphilis, a latent stage can also take place. This can be tricky to spot as there are no visible symptoms. Despite this, the infection attacks the body’s organs, causing damage over a long period of time. This is why I recommend seeking urgent medical attention to remove the infection in its primary or secondary stages.

“Overall, as cases of both gonorrhoea and syphilis increase at a fast rate across the UK, understanding the telltale signs of these common STIs can ensure people receive the correct treatment and avoid further illness or damage to their health."

Syphilis dates back to Medieval times and it is thought that it was brought to Spain by the men who sailed with Christopher Columbus in 1492, having sprung from roots in the Americas, and spread from there, with a serious epidemic in Naples beginning as early as 1495.

Dr Grant qualified as a Doctor in Bristol in 1985. He has wide clinical experience as a GP. He has a particular interest in orthopaedic medicine. Don is the senior clinician at The Independent Pharmacy.