Both men and women can become susceptible to gonorrhea. The condition is contagious and is usually transmitted by contact to the infected fluid. It is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases and may be passed on by an infected mother to her baby during childbirth. Prevention is the key against contracting this sexually transmitted disease and failure to obtain the proper treatment may result in more serious complications.
The bacteria that cause gonorrhea
The bacteria behind gonorrhea is called as the Neisseria gonorrhea which is a form of a bacteria capable of multiplying fast in the mucus membrane. It most commonly thrives along the mouth, anal region and the throat and then spread along the fallopian tubes, cervix and uterus among women and is most common in the urethra among men.
Mode of transmission
The mode of transmission is by contact with the infected fluid. Unsafe sexual activities are the most common way by which the infection spreads from one person to another. Those at risk are men and women having multiple partners. Oral sex can be a mode of transmission and the bacteria grow and multiply along the throat.
Recognizing the symptoms
Gonorrhea can be asymptomatic sometimes. That is why when people seek medical treatment the condition is already serious and treatment becomes difficult. Early diagnosis and treatment are the keys to prevent the disease from progressing. The symptoms only become apparent almost two weeks to 1 month from the first exposure. Being able to recognize the symptoms of gonorrhea in men and women can help you obtain prompt treatment to fight off the disease.
Women usually experience a whitish vaginal discharge and accompanied with a burning sensation when urinating. Pelvic or abdominal pain is also common. In some cases, conjunctivitis may occur. Bleeding and discomfort are also common during sexual intercourse and the vulva may appear red and swollen. Men also experience a burning sensation when urinating and may have whitish or greenish discharge from the penis. The testicles may also swell.
Diagnosing your symptoms
Getting an accurate diagnosis of the disease is important and it is based not only by your symptoms but more importantly by taking a swab specimen for laboratory analysis. A urine sample is also taken to check for signs of bacteria. Your doctor may also test you for Chlamydia which usually occurs with gonorrhea. Both these conditions are common sexually transmitted disease that doctors keep a close watch for.
While gonorrhea can pose more serious health complications when left untreated, the condition is highly treatable. The first line of treatment for the condition used to be the administration of a single oral or injectable antibiotic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now advocates the administration of ceftriaxone and azythromycin for a week long administration and do away with the single antibiotic treatment. Patients are also required to undergo another screening test three months after their treatment.
Your doctor may find it necessary to have your partner tested for gonorrhea. Strict compliance of taking your medication as prescribed by your doctor is essential for your recovery. Even when you feel better, you should not stop taking your medicine and finish them as prescribed to prevent its recurrence.
Serious complications of untreated gonorrhea
Failure to get treatment for gonorrhea could result in long term and serious complications. The female reproductive organs may become permanently damaged. They become susceptible to pelvic inflammatory disease with the risk of having an ectopic pregnancy. Men are at risk for infertility and prostate disease. There is also a high risk for developing infections and being easily infected with HIV.
Gonorrhea is a preventable sexually transmitted disease. The use of contraceptives do not guarantee prevention because the disease may spread orally and through direct contact with the infected fluids. Thus, avoiding having multiple partners is the best protection against gonorrhea and its long term complications.