What is gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a bacterium that infects both males and females. Gonorrhea commonly affects the ureter, anus, and throat. In females, gonorrhea can infect the cervix as well.
Gonorrhea is most often transmitted through sexual contact, but pregnant women can also pass gonorrhea to their babies during childbirth, causing a serious eye infection in their new-born.
Using protection and participating in a mutually monogamous relationship are the best ways to prevent gonorrhea.
What are the symptoms of gonorrhea?
In most cases, gonorrhea causes no symptoms. However, symptoms can affect many areas of the body, but they usually appear in the genital tract.
Signs and indications of gonorrhea infection in men include:
- Burning sensation during urination
- A pus-like discharge from the tip of the penis
- Testicle pain or swelling
Signs and signs of gonorrhea infection in women include:
- Burning sensation during urination
- Increase in vaginal secretions
- Vaginal bleeding between periods and after vaginal intercourse
- Abdominal or pelvic pain
Gonorrhea can also affect other parts of the body:
- Rectum. Gonorrhea can cause anal itching, pus-like discharge from the rectum.
- Eyes. Symptoms and signs of an infection include eye pain, sensitivity to light, and pus-like secretions from one or both eyes.
- Throat. Symptoms and signs of a throat infection may include a sore throat and swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
- Joints. If one or more joints become infected with bacterial arthritis, the affected joint may become warm, red, swollen, and very painful, especially with movement.
What is the cause of gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The gonorrhea bacteria are usually transmitted from one person to another during sexual intercourse, including oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse.
What are the risk factors of gonorrhea?
Young women under the age of 25 have a higher risk of getting gonorrhea.
Factors that can increase your risk include:
- Sexual contact with a new partner
- Having more than one sexual partner
- Having had gonorrhea or another sexually transmitted infection
What are the complications of gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea can lead to serious complications if it is left without treatment, such as:
- Female infertility. Gonorrhea can spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Pelvic inflammatory disease can lead to scarring of the fallopian tubes and increase the risk of pregnancy complications and infertility.
- Male infertility. Gonorrhea may cause the inflammation of a small, coiled tube behind the testicles, where the ducts that carry sperm (epididymis) are located. If not treated, epididymitis may cause infertility.
- Spreading to the joints and other areas of the body. Possible complications are fever, rash, skin ulcers, joint pain, swelling, and stiffness.
- High risk of contracting HIV / AIDS. When you get gonorrhea, you are more susceptible to contracting HIV, the virus responsible for making you AIDS. People who develop both diseases together: Gonorrhea and HIV can easily transmit the disease to their partners.
- Complications in new-borns. Babies who get gonorrhea from their mothers during childbirth can become blind, have sores on the scalp, and other types of infection.
How is gonorrhea diagnosed?
Your doctor will analyze a sample of cells to determine whether you have gonorrhea. Samples can be collected through:
- Urine test. It can help detect bacteria in the urethra.
- Smear from the affected area. A swab from your throat, urethra, vagina, or rectum can collect bacteria that can be identified in a laboratory.
Doctors also recommend HIV testing for anyone diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection. Depending on your risk factors, additional STI testing may also be helpful.
How is gonorrhea treated?
Adults with gonorrhea are treated with antibiotics. Your partner should also be tested and treated for gonorrhea, even if they are not showing any signs or symptoms. Your partner shall receive the same treatment as you.