Gonorrhea Facts


Overview

Gonorrhea is the second most prevalent venereal disease after Chlamydia in young sexually active adults. Also referred to as “the clap” or “drip”, it is a contagious disease that is most often spread through having vaginal, oral or anal sex with an infected person. It can also spread through contact with bodily fluids.  An infected mother can pass the infection to her newborn during childbirth too.

Women have a significantly higher risk of being infected with this sexually transmitted disease than men. And women who are diagnosed with gonorrhea are often found to have Chlamydia as well. Hence, the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that women tested positive for "the clap" should receive treatment for Chlamydia too.

Gonorrhea Causes

This STD is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae that thrives in the parts of the body that have warm, moist mucus membranes– which are the reproductive tract of women (cervix, womb and fallopian tubes and a man’s penis). The urethra, throat, eyes and rectum of both men and women can be infected with this bacterium” too.

In most cases, men will have the “clap” symptoms more often than women. Symptoms in men may include:-


  • White, yellow or green pus-like discharge from the head of the penis
  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Swollen testicles

If a man does not seek treatment for the above symptoms, inflammation of the prostate gland may occur. Further complications could lead to infertility.

Symptoms in women are usually mild and over 50 percent of women do not show any symptoms. If there are, early stage symptoms may include:-

  • Greenish or yellowish vaginal discharge
  • Cloudy urine. Increased in frequency urinating with burning sensation during urination
  • Vaginal itching
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding after intercourse or between periods

Most women might mistake the first three symptoms as vaginal yeast infection and self-treat with over the counter yeast infection medication. Because abnormal vaginal discharge, vaginal itchinvg and burning can be associated with a number of problems, make it a priority to seek medical advice to ensure correct diagnosis and treatment.

Do not delay seeing a doctor if you have the above symptoms. For if left untreated gonorrhea could lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which is a common complication associated with this venereal disease. PID is characterized by:-

  • severe abdominal pain or chronic pelvicpain
  • fever and vomiting
  • painful intercourse
  • swelling of the vulva

Pelvic inflammatory disease could damage the fallopian tubes to cause infertility and or increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy.

Other than the above mentioned symptoms, both men and women could also experience itching, discomfort, bleeding and discharge in the rectum, sore throat and conjunctivitis.

As the infection of "the clap" progresses, the bacteria could spread into the bloodstream and affect the skin, joints and heart valves and brain.

Treatment

There is no home treatment for gonorrheal infection. It needs a prescribed antibiotic treatment from a medical professional. Antibiotics taken correctly as prescribed will cure this STD and will not cause any long term problems if treated before complication sets in. However, a person who is treated and cured can be infected with "the clap" again if he or she has sexual contact with an infected person.

Prevention

Practice safe sex as preventing a sexually transmitted infection is much easier than treating one after it occurs.

Avoid having sexual contact when you have symptoms of any STDs or being treated for STDs.

Avoid having more than one sexual relationship at any one time. Your risk of contacting the gonorrhoeae bacterium or other venereal disease or STDs will increase when you have several sexual partners at the same time.

Male or female condoms, if used properly will significantly reduce the risk of this sexually transmitted infection.

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