Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease which is also referred to as the clap. Gonorrhea infects warm and moist areas of the body which include the urethra, the rectum, and less commonly the eyes, throat, and the female reproductive tract.
It is not spread by hugging, kissing, or sharing belongings such as towels, cup, plates or toilet seats as the bacteria cannot survive for long outside the human body.
Causes of Gonorrhea
Gonorrhea is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. You can contract gonorrhea from having unprotected anal, oral, or vaginal sex. People who do not use condoms or that have numerous sexual partners are at the greatest risk of infection. Pregnant women can pass the infection to their baby. Immediate treatment is required if you are pregnant and diagnosed with gonorrhea as it might cause permanent blindness in a newborn baby.
Symptoms of Gonorrhea
Symptoms usually appear within two to 14 days after exposure. Sometimes, you may not experience any symptoms at all and symptoms can differ from men and women. Noticeable symptoms in the early stages of the disease in men include a painful or burning sensation during urination. As the disease progresses, other symptoms may appear which include
- Painful or swollen testicles
- White, yellow, or green pus-like discharge from the penis
- Urinary urgency
- Persistent sore throat
Gonorrhea symptoms in women usually include:
- Increased vaginal discharge
- Painful urination
- Vaginal bleeding between periods
- Abdominal or pelvic pain
Diagnosis of Gonorrhea
Diagnosis involves testing your urine, rectum, throat, vagina, or urethra for the bacteria. There is a number of different ways to test for gonorrhea. For women, a swab is used to collect samples from the vagina, cervix, or urethra. Men are usually asked to provide a urine sample. A swab may be used to collect a sample of discharge from the end of the penis.
Treatment of Gonorrhea
Gonorrhea is treated with antibiotics in the form of injections and pills. You should avoid intercourse during this period or use protection to avoid spreading the disease until the completion of treatment. Pregnant women need to talk to their doctor before taking any medications for gonorrhea. Gonorrhea can cause health problems for your baby, so it is necessary to treat it as soon as possible to help lower the risk of complications.
Prevention of Gonorrhea
Prevention is the best way to deal with gonorrhea. Take the following measures to prevent gonorrhea, which involves:
- Avoid unsafe sexual practices, multiple partners, and use barrier methods such as condoms.
- Watch for symptoms and be prompted to get treatment.
- Have regular screenings with your doctor, as infections identified during the early stages can be prevented from spreading to your reproductive organs.