Gonorrhea – Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention.
What is Gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) with Neisseria gonorrhea as the causative agent. Gonorrhea is contracted through sexual intercourse involving exchange of vaginal fluid and semen. It can also be gotten through oral sex, anal sex, or sharing dildos with an infected person.
Generally, gonorrhea doesn’t present with symptoms. Thus making it easy to unknowingly infect your sexual partner. Frequent laboratory testing – as recommended by your doctor — and engaging in safe sex may reduce your risk of acquiring the infection.
Who gets Gonorrhea?
Individuals of any age or sex who are sexually active can get gonorrhea and pass it on to their partners. Pregnant women can spread the infection onto their babies during childbirth.
Who is at high risk of infection?
· Are under the age of 30
· Have a history of sexually transmitted infections
· Don’t practice safe sex
· Keeping multiple sex partners
· Men who have sex with men
How common is gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is the second most common sexually transmitted infection. Gonorrhea and chlamydia infections oftentimes co-infect an individual. An estimated 1.13 million new gonorrhea infections occur in the US every year. About half of these infections occur in people ages 14 to 30.
Symptoms and Causes
Generally, gonorrhea does not present with symptoms, especially in women.
Gonorrhea symptoms in males present in the form of an unusual discharge and burning pain when you pass urine.
In females, gonorrhea does not present with symptoms.
Occasionally, if a symptom presents, it appears in the form of:
· Yellowish or whitish vaginal discharge
· Lower abdominal pain (pelvis)
· Pain during sex (dyspareunia)
· Painful urination (dysuria)
· Bleeding between periods.
In males, symptoms include:
· Heavy discharge from your penis
· Severe painful urination
· Testicular pain and swollen testicles
· Sore throat (from oral sex)
· Painful stooling (from anal sex)
What doesn’t cause gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is highly infectious and quickly spreads during sexual activity. But then, not all bodily contacts or exchanges of body fluids can predispose you to gonorrhea.
You will not contact gonorrhea from:
· Holding hands, hugging, or kissing
· Sharing drinks, food, or cutlery
· Sharing a toilet
· Inhaling cough droplets
How is gonorrhea diagnosed?
The diagnosis of gonorrhea starts with questions about symptoms and sexual history. This will be followed by a laboratory investigation of your urine, urethral swab or other body fluid for the bacteria that causes gonorrhea.
During your physical appointment, your healthcare provider may conduct any of the following procedures:
· Pelvic examination and collecting cervical fluid for laboratory test
· Collect penis urethral swab for testing
· Collect throat swab or rectum swab for testing
· Collect urine for testing
Your symptoms at the point of visitation will determine the type of sample required and the type of laboratory test needed. You might also be required to test for chlamydia since these two occur together most time.
Can gonorrhea be cured?
Prompt treatment can cure gonorrhea. Ensure to take all medicine as recommended by your healthcare provider, even when the symptoms improve and you start to feel better. Also, never miss a dose as doing so makes the infection harder to treat.
Gonorrhea is becoming more resistant to antibiotics. Those forms of gonorrhea that have developed resistance to antibiotics treatment are referred to as “super gonorrhea.
To ensure that gonorrhea is curable, it’s more crucial than ever before that individuals consume medications as prescribed — and that everyone takes the initiative to prevent infection.
How can I prevent gonorrhea?
The simplest way to prevent gonorrhea infection is to avoid sex. A more doable approach, for many people, is to reduce the high-risk behaviors that might predispose you to contracting and spreading gonorrhea.
Follow these steps to mitigate your risk:
· Always use a condom during sex.
· Avoid having sex in actively infected individual
· Avoid sexual intercourse with anyone showing signs of gonorrhea
· Avoid multiple sexual partners
· Have an open conversation about sexual activities
· Ensure you and your partner get tested for gonorrhea
How often should I get tested for gonorrhea?
According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), all sexually active female under the age of 25 years gets tested for gonorrhea every year. This is regardless of indulging in any form of sexual activity as long as you are considered at high risk for contracting gonorrhea. Common risk factors include age and sexual activity. The prevalence of gonorrhea infection around your neighborhood is also important to put into consideration as a risk factor.
Complications of gonorrhea infection in females
· Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
· Inability to conceive (Infertility)
· Ectopic pregnancy
· Eye problems in infants born to infected mothers
· Blindness to infants born to infected mothers
· Painful joints
· Liver inflammation
· Brain damage
Complications of gonorrhea infection in males
· Urethral scars
· Inflammation of the testicles
· Inflammation of the prostate
· Painful joints
· Inflammation of the liver
· Brain damage