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7 Things you must know about Gonorrhea by Mandakiniben Patel

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1)      Gonorrhea is a contagious disease caused by the bacteria known as Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It is transmitted mostly through sexual contact with an infected person; it can also be spread by contact with infected bodily fluids, for example, a mom passing infection to her newborn during childbirth. Both men and women are infected with this disease. The bacterium that causes this disease to grow and multiply easily in the mucus membrane, moist and warm areas of the reproductive tract, including the cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes in women, and in the urethra in both men and women. The bacteria can also grow in the mouth, throat, and anus.

2)        Gonorrhea is a very common disease in the U.S. According to the CDC, there are as many as 700,000 new cases reported every year in the U.S. Sexual active teenagers have one of the highest rates of reported infections. Not all people with this disease show symptoms, so when to seek treatment gets difficult. But when symptoms do occur, there are often seen within 2 to 10 weeks after exposure, but can take up to 30 days to develop and include various symptoms as shown:

Symptoms seen in men: –

–        Burning while urinating

–        Burning in the throat due to oral sex

–        Swollen glands in the throat due to oral sex

–        Swollen and painful testicles

– Greenish-yellow or whitish discharge from the penis

The symptoms in men are usually seen within 2 to 14 days of infection

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Symptoms seen in women: –

–        Lower abdominal and pelvic pain

–        Burning when urinating

–        Bleeding between periods

–        Swelling of the vulva

– Greenish-yellow or whitish discharge from the vagina

–        Red and itchy eyes

–        Swollen gland in the throat due to oral sex

–        Spotting after intercourse

3)      Some women have mild symptoms and they go unnoticed, many women with gonorrhea infection think that they have a yeast infection and treat it with over-the-counter medications. Because vaginal discharge is a sign of different infections, it is always good to seek advice from the doctor to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.

4)      In order to diagnose gonorrhea, the doctor will use a swab to take a fluid sample from the urethra in men and the cervix in women. The sample is then sent to the lab to be analyzed. The doctor might also check for infection in the throat and anus. A urine test is also done sometimes to check for the presence of the bacteria that causes gonorrhea. The best thing about the disease is that it can be treated.

5)      Gonorrhea can be treated with antibiotics either orally or by giving an injectable antibiotic. The partner whom the person got the disease from should also be treated in order to prevent reinfection and further spread of the disease. The patient should take all the antibiotics prescribed even if he/she feels better. Do not take someone else’s medication because that might increase the chance of infection or might make the infection more difficult to treat. It is also necessary for the patient to let the person know whom they had sex with and that they are infected so that they can get treated. This helps because most of the time gonorrhea might have no symptoms, especially in women. It is also advisable that do not have sex until the whole antibiotic prescription is finished and also use latex condoms when having sex.

6)        If gonorrhea is not treated it can cause serious and permanent problems both in men and women. The following are the problems that can be seen in women:

–        Pelvic inflammatory disease

–        Can lead to infertility

–        Ectopic pregnancy

The following are the problems seen in men:

–        Epididymitis

–        Infertility

–        Can also affect prostrate

–        Scarring inside the urethra

7)      Gonorrhea can spread through blood or joints. People with gonorrhea can also contract HIV a virus that can cause AIDS. Gonorrhea in pregnant women can cause premature delivery or spontaneous abortion. This disease can also be spread from mother to child while giving birth through the birth canal, the baby born with the disease can have blindness, blood infection, and joint infection. It is always better to reduce the risk of gonorrhea by limiting the number of sex partners and do not go back and forth between partners, limit sexual contact to one infected partner, if you think you are infected avoid having sex and see a doctor. It is always better to see a doctor before it is too late.

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