Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can infect both men and women. It can cause infections in the genitals, rectum, and throat. It is the most common infection, especially among young people ages 15-24 year age. Primarily because persons in that age bracket are usually less careful and/or not in a monogamous relationship.
You can get gonorrhea by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has gonorrhea. A pregnant woman with gonorrhea can give the infection to her baby during childbirth.
The only way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting gonorrhea:
Any sexually active person can get gonorrhea through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex.If you are sexually active, have an honest and open talk with your healthcare provider and ask whether you should be tested for gonorrhea or other STDs. If you are a sexually active man who is gay, bisexual, or who has sex with men, you should be tested for gonorrhea every year. If you are a sexually active women younger than 25 years or an older woman with risk factors such as new or multiple sex partners, or a sex partner who has a sexually transmitted infection, you should be tested for gonorrhea every year.
If you are pregnant or think you may be and have gonorrhea, you can transmit the infection to your baby during delivery. This can cause serious health problems for your baby. If you are pregnant, it is important that you talk to your healthcare provider or request urine test here about testing and treatment. Treating gonorrhea as soon as possible will make health complications for your baby less likely.
Some men with gonorrhea may have no symptoms at all. However, men who do have symptoms, may have:
Most women with gonorrhea do not have any symptoms. Even when a woman has symptoms, they are often mild and can be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. Women with gonorrhea are at risk of developing serious complications from the infection, even if they don’t have any symptoms.
Symptoms in women can include:
Rectal infections may either cause no symptoms or cause symptoms in both men and women that may include:
You should be examined by a physician if you notice any of these symptoms or if your partner has an STD or symptoms of an STD, such as an unusual sore, a smelly discharge, burning when urinating, or bleeding between periods.
Most of the time, urine can be used to test for gonorrhea . However, if you have had oral and/or anal sex, swabs may be used to collect samples ( not necessary) from your throat and/or rectum. In some cases, a swab may be used to collect a sample from a man’s urethra (urine canal) or a woman’s cervix in which both are a very uncomfortable procedure.
Yes, it can be treated with antibiotics usually. It is important that you take all of the medication your doctor prescribes to cure your infection. Medication for gonorrhea should not be shared with anyone. Although medication will stop the infection, it will not undo any permanent damage caused by the disease when left untreated for long periods of time.
It is becoming harder to treat some gonorrhea, as drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea are increasing. If your symptoms continue for more than a few days after receiving treatment, you should return to a health care provider to be checked again.
You should wait seven days after finishing all medications before having sex. To avoid getting infected with gonorrhea again or spreading gonorrhea to your partner(s), you and your sex partner(s) should avoid having sex until you have each completed treatment. If you’ve had gonorrhea and took medicine in the past, you can still get infected again if you have unprotected sex with a person who has gonorrhea.
Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health problems in both women and men.
In women, untreated gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Some of the complications of PID are
-Formation of scar tissue that blocks fallopian tubes
-Ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the womb)
-Infertility (inability to get pregnant)
-Long-term pelvic/abdominal pain
Cases reported in 2015: 395,216 Rate per 100,000 people: 124; increase of 13% since 2014
If (untreated and not caught early) gonorrhea infection spreads to the bloodstream, both men and women can experience arthritis, heart valve damage, or inflammation of the lining of the brain or spinal cord. However, these are rare but serious conditions.
Men may not generate noticeable symptoms for many weeks. Some men may never develop symptoms. Men may experience scarring of the urethra. Men may also develop a painful abscess in the interior of the penis. The infection can cause reduced fertility or sterility.
Typically, the infection begins to show symptoms a week after it is transmitted. The first noticeable symptom in men is usually a burning or painful sensation during urination just like with Chlamydia. As it progresses, other symptoms may include:
The infection will stay in the body for a few weeks after the symptoms have been treated. In rare cases, gonorrhea can continue to cause damage to the body specifically the urethra and testicles. Pain may also spread to the rectum.
When gonorrhea infection spreads to the bloodstream (if untreated), both men and women can experience arthritis, heart valve damage, or inflammation of the lining of the brain or spinal cord. These are rare but serious conditions.