Disease, Condition & InjuryPelvis conditionsReproductive organs conditions


Gonorrhea – Definition

Gonorrhea is type of sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Gonorrhea – Causes

Gonorrhea is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It is passed during vaginal, oral, or anal sexual intercourse.

Gonorrhea – Risk Factors

Factors that increase your chance of gonorrhea include:

  • Multiple sex partners
  • Being sexually active and less than 25 years old
  • Having sex without a condom
  • History of having a sexually transmitted infection

Gonorrhea – Symptoms

Many people that are infected will have symptoms. Symptoms may appear 1-14 days after contact with an infected partner. In some cases, symptoms do not occur for up to a month.

People with gonorrhea may experience some, all, or none of the following:

In Men

  • Discharge from the penis
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Tender or swollen testicles

In Women

  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Abdominal pain
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding

In Men and Women with Rectal Infections

  • Anal itching
  • Soreness
  • Bleeding
  • Painful bowel movements

Gonorrhea Complications

If gonorrhea is not treated, it can cause problems such as:

In Men

  • Testicles — epididymitis, a painful condition of the testicles that may lead to infertility
  • Prostate — Prostatitis, swelling and infection in the prostate
  • Urethra — scarring on the inside of the tube that allows urine to pass out the body, can make it difficult to urinate

In Women

  • Reproductive organs — due to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), a serious infection that can affect fertility
  • Infected in a newborn infant if you are infection during pregnancy

In Both Men and Women

Untreated gonorrhea can cause severe infections in:

  • Joints
  • Brain
  • Eyes
  • Heart

If you are diagnosed with gonorrhea, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions.

Gonorrhea – Diagnosis

Two tests are commonly used to diagnose gonorrhea:

  • Nucleic acid probe test — Discharge or urine is tested for specific acids. These specific acids indicate gonorrhea.
  • Laboratory culture — A smear of the discharge is taken. It is sent to a lab. After two days, the culture is checked for growth of the bacteria.

Your doctor will likely also test you for the presence of other STIs including chlamydia, syphilis, and HIV.

Gonorrhea – Treatment

Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. Some strains of gonorrhea have developed resistance to certain antibiotics. You and your doctor will work together to find an antibiotic that is effective.

It is important to take all of the medication as prescribed. All of your sexual partners should be tested and treated. Do not have sex again until you and your partners have completed treatment and no one has symptoms.

Gonorrhea – Prevention

The most effective way to prevent an STI is to abstain from sex. Other preventive measures include:

  • Use condoms during sexual activity.
  • Have sex with only one partner who has sex only with you.
  • Have regular checkups for sexually transmitted infections.

Some other barrier methods of contraception may provide some protection. Talk to your doctor about your options.

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