Could cheaply bought gonorrhoea treatment be already sitting in your bathroom as we speak? This is the bizarre suggestion behind a new study published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.
The highly popular Listerine mouthwash could be used as an inexpensive preventative method for the sexually transmitted infection gonorrhoea and curb the prospect of it spreading, according to research.
Despite ‘the clap’ being transmitted sexually, the virus can be present in people’s throats for many months without the person even displaying any noticeable symptoms.
After being present in the throat, it can be passed from one person to the next via oral sex without the use of condoms. However, could rinsing and gargling with Listerine mouthwash be the way of stopping the spread of the disease?
Increasing numbers of gonorrhoea cases are meaning there is a bigger danger with regards to antibiotic resistant strains of Neisseria gonorrhoea – the bacteria responsible.
Remarkably, way back in 1879, Listerine’s manufacturer first made claims about the prowess of Listerine as a gonorrhoea treatment, but evidence proving this was lacking.
Therefore, Australian researchers decided they would find out once and for all if Listerine could have any impact on the bacteria responsible.
The researchers looked at different dilutions of Listerine Cool Mint and Total Care, which both have 21.6% alcohol concentrations.
To compared, a salt water solution was also applied to a similar set of cultures. After one minute, dilutions of up to 1 in 4 significantly reduced the bacteria, but the salt water couldn’t manage this.
They then decided to assess 196 gay and bisexual men, all of whom had previously tested positive for gonorrhoea in their mouths.
After returning to a sexual health clinic in Melbourne, Australia, a third were yet again given a positive diagnosis for gonorrhoea in their throat.
Thirty three men were randomly chosen to try the Listerine, with the rest using the saline solution. After one minute of rinsing and gargling, gonorrhoea was reduced by 48% for those assigned the Listerine, whilst those with the salt water solution decreased their bacteria by only 16%.
Moreover, those using the Listerine were discovered to be 80% less likely to test positive for the bacteria five minutes after gargling the mouthwash.
“This readily available, condom-less, and low cost intervention may have very significant public health implications in the control of gonorrhoea,” the researchers wrote.
However, they go on to add that further work is needed to more accurately say if mouthwash can be used as a method of effectively curbing the spread of gonorrhoea.
Remember, if STIs are left untreated, they can become extremely painful or uncomfortable, and even lead to long-term problems such as infertility.
If you show signs of any of the following symptoms, then you should seek help:
. Unusual vaginal discharge.
. Discharge from the penis.
. Pain and/or bleeding during sexual intercourse.
. Bleeding following sex.
. Bleeding between periods.
. Blisters, itches, lumps or rashes around the genitals or anus.
. Pain in the testicles.
Medical Specialists® Pharmacy can provide treatments for many common STIs such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and genital herpes.