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What is Gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is a common Sexually Transmitted Disease, second in number of reported cases to Chlamydia . If left untreated, it is dangerous to the health of both men and women. In addition to the risk of infertility, a gonorrhea infection makes an individual 3 to 5 times more likely to acquire HIV if exposed.2 Read more about this phenomenon.
How is Gonorrhea Transmitted or Spread?
Gonorrhea is easily spread from person to person through sexual contact, often unknowingly because of the lack of symptoms. Vaginal, oral, and anal transmission are all possible means of obtaining an infection. Gonorrhea can also be passed from a mother to her baby during childbirth.
Gonorrhea may cause an infection in the eyes, mouth, throat, genitals, urinary tract, or rectum.. Symptoms may vary depending on where the infection has occurred on the body, but it is also common for an infection not to produce any symptoms. It is therefore extremely important to obtain routine testing, practice honesty with your sexual partner, and use condoms every time. Prevention and awareness is essential as gonorrhea can cause serious health problems in both sexes if left untreated.
Gonorrhea Symptoms in Men:
An infection of the penis can result in several symptoms, including pain during urination, discharge from the penis, and swollen or sore testicles. If left untreated for an extended period of time, an infection can cause epididymitis, which is a painful infection surrounding the testicles that can lead to infertility. An infection of the rectum may cause itching, soreness, bleeding, or painful bowel movements. An infection of the throat may cause a sore throat.
Gonorrhea Symptoms in Women:
An infection in the uterus or urinary tract may cause the following symptoms: abnormal bleeding between periods, pain or a burning sensation when urinating, and increased vaginal discharge. If left untreated, as it can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), infertility, and ectopic pregnancy. An infection of the rectum might cause pain, bleeding, discharge, or painful bowel movements. An infection of the throat may cause a sore throat.
How to Prevent Gonorrhea?
Abstinence is the best way to prevent the transmission of any sexually transmitted disease. If you are sexually active, condoms are a helpful preventative measure if used correctly each time. The risk of infection for any STD, including Chlamydia, is significantly lowered if you both you and your partner have been tested, and are only having sex with each other. People who engage in risky sexual behavior, or have sex with people they don't know very well, are at a much greater risk for contracting sexually transmitted diseases. People who regularly use drugs and alcohol are at a higher risk for contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including Gonorrhea, because they are more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior.
Please read more about STD transmission and prevention here.
How to Treat or Cure Gonorrhea?
Yes Gonorrhea is curable, and is easily treated with antibiotics. Commonly prescribed antibiotics are Suprax (Cefixime), and Rocephin (Ceftriaxone). In order to properly treat your infection, make sure to finish all of your medication, and do not share it with your partner or anyone else. If you still have symptoms after treatment, go back to the doctor. It is possible that you have a lingering infection, or another STD such as Chlamydia. Your sexual partner needs to go to the doctor and obtain medication as well, for they are most likely infected. It is possible to become infected again from an untreated partner, or a new infected partner. It is also possible to infect someone during your treatment, so do not have sex while you are finishing your medication. If you have been prescribed with a medication which requires a single dose, avoid sexual contact for one full week.
Be sure to tell your recent sex partners of your diagnosis so that they can receive treatment as well. Gonorrhea infection makes an individual more physically susceptible to HIV infection if they come into contact with the virus.
What should I expect from my doctor?
Gonorrhea in Women: Your doctor will perform a swab test of your cervix. This can be performed during your routine pap exam, or you can speak to your physician about available testing. Do not assume that your pap exam will include any STD screening, it must usually be requested in addition. Results are usually available within 3-5 days. If you test positive for Gonorrhea, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. Most commonly, an antibiotic such as Cefixime or Cetraixone will be prescribed.
Gonorrhea in Men: Your doctor will perform a swab of your urethra. Results are usually available within 3-5 days. If you test positive for Gonorrhea, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic such as Cefixime, Cetraixone or Doxycycline.