Sexually Transmitted Bacterial Infection

What is Gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease. It is most common in young adults. The bacteria that cause gonorrhea can infect the genital tract, mouth, or anus. You can get gonorrhea during vaginal, oral, or anal sex with an infected partner. A pregnant woman can pass it to her baby during childbirth.

Gonorrhea does not always cause symptoms. In men, gonorrhea can cause pain when urinating and discharge from the penis. If untreated, it can cause problems with the prostate and testicles. In women, the early symptoms of gonorrhea often are mild. Later, it can cause bleeding between periods, pain when urinating, and increased discharge from the vagina.

If untreated, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which causes problems with pregnancy and infertility. Your health care provider will diagnose gonorrhea with lab tests. Treatment is with antibiotics. Treating gonorrhea is becoming more difficult because drug-resistant strains are increasing.

Correct usage of latex condoms greatly reduces, but does not eliminate, the risk of catching or spreading gonorrhea. The most reliable way to avoid infection is to not have anal, vaginal, or oral sex. If you follow this link you will get important treatment information from institutions that are recognized for their scientific accuracy.

Regular screening for gonorrhea is important, as the infection can be transmitted without the presence of symptoms. Both men and women can experience abnormal discharge from their genitals and painful urination. Additionally, there are symptoms that only men or women experience.

Symptoms of gonorrhea experienced by men include:

  • Testicular pain or swelling
  • White, green, or yellow discharge from the penis
  • Inflammation or swelling of the foreskin
  • Epididymitis

Symptoms of gonorrhea experienced by women include:

  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Intermenstural bleeding
  • Lower belly pain
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease

Early diagnosis is important, as is an effective treatment plan, in the prognosis of the infection. For example, pelvic inflammatory disease can occur when the infection affects the fallopian tubes or uterus, this can lead to infertility in women. A complication men can experience is epididymitis, which infects the tube that carries the sperm, this can lead to infertility in men.

Gonorrhea is very easy to treat. Treatment can time vary in length based on the progression of the infection. Antibiotics can cure gonorrhea and stop the infection from progressing, but it cannot repair any damage. Both the patient and their sexual partner(s) will need to receive treatment to combat gonorrhea.

Gonorrhea Common Questions

Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health problems in both women and men. In women, gonorrhea can spread into the uterus or fallopian tubes and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). The symptoms may be quite mild or can be very severe and can include abdominal pain and fever. PID can lead to internal abscesses and chronic pelvic pain. PID can also damage the fallopian tubes enough to cause infertility or increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy.

In men, gonorrhea may be complicated by epididymitis. In rare cases, this may lead to infertility. If left untreated, gonorrhea can also spread to the blood and cause disseminated gonococcal infection (DGI). DGI is usually characterized by arthritis, tenosynovitis, and/or dermatitis 15. This condition can be life threatening.

Untreated gonorrhea can increase a person’s risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV.

If a person has been diagnosed and treated for gonorrhea, he or she should tell all recent anal, vaginal, or oral sex partners (all sex partners within 60 days before the onset of symptoms or diagnosis) so they can see a health provider and be treated. A person with gonorrhea and all of his or her sex partners must avoid having sex until they have completed their treatment.

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