WHAT IS GONORRHEA?
Gonorrhea is an infection caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterium. It infects the mucous membranes of the reproductive tract, including the cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes in women, and the urethra in women and men. It can also infect the mucous membranes of the mouth, throat, eyes, and anus.
HOW DO PEOPLE GET GONORRHEA?
-Sexual Contact: Contact with the penis, vagina, mouth, or anus of an infected partner. Ejaculation is not needed: for gonorrhea to be transmitted or acquired.
-Pregnancy and Childbirth: Can also be spread perinatally from mother to baby during childbirth.
*Relapse: People may relapse if they have sexual contact with a person infected with gonorrhea.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF GONORRHEA?
It's mostly asymptomatic (show no symptoms) in men and women
When present, signs and symptoms of urethral infection in males include dysuria (pain when urinating) or a white, yellow, or green urethral discharge that usually appears 1-14 days after infection. In cases where urethral infection is complicated by epididymitis (an inflammation of the coiled tube (epididymis) at the back of the testicle that stores and carries sperm). Men with gonorrhea may also complain of testicular or scrotal pain.
When a woman has symptoms, they are often so mild and nonspecific that they are mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. The initial symptoms and signs in women include dysuria, increased vaginal discharge, or vaginal bleeding between periods. Women with gonorrhea are at risk of developing serious complications from the infection, regardless of the presence or severity of symptoms.
Symptoms of rectal infection in both men and women may include discharge, anal itching, soreness, bleeding, or painful bowel movements. Rectal infection also may be asymptomatic. Pharyngeal infection may cause a sore throat, but usually is asymptomatic.
WHAT CAN RESULT FROM GONORRHEA?
Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health problems in both women and men. In women, gonorrhea can spread into the uterus or fallopian tubes and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). In men, gonorrhea may be complicated by epididymitis. In rare cases, this may lead to infertility. If left untreated, gonorrhea can also spread to the blood and cause disseminated gonococcal infection (DGI). DGI is usually characterized by arthritis, tenosynovitis, and/or dermatitis. This condition can be life threatening.
WHEN SHOULD I GET TESTED FOR GONORRHEA?
Early testing is crucial to avoid long term effect of this infection. If symptoms are present, you must seek test promptly.
HOW IS GONORRHEA DIAGNOSED?
Urogenital gonorrhea can be diagnosed by testing urine, urethral (for men), or endocervical or vaginal (for women). It can also be diagnosed using gonorrhea culture, which requires endocervical or urethral swab specimens. If a person has had oral and/or anal sex, pharyngeal and/or rectal swab specimens should be collected either for culture.
WHAT IS THE TREATMENT FOR GONORRHEA?
Gonorrhea has a tailored treatment for every individual, based on a dual therapy (two drugs). It is important to take all of the medication prescribed to cure gonorrhea and not share it with anyone. Although medication will stop the infection, it will not repair any permanent damage done by the disease. Early treatment is very important because permanent damage cannot be treated and treatment resistance is becoming an increasing difficulty to properly treat patients. Informing partners of this condition is extremely important, so they can test themselves and avoid spreading the infection.