Gonorrhea

An infection of the bacteria, Neisseria gonorrhea, occurring in the cervix, penis, throat, rectum or even the eye.

Methods of contraction

Sexual contact. Gonorrhea can also be transmitted from a mother's vagina to her newborn's eyes causing blindness. This is commonly prevented in hospitals by putting a protective antibiotic solution in the infant's eyes as a general procedure.

Symptoms

10% of men and 50 to 80% of women with gonorrhea do not show symptoms until serious conditions develop accompanied by pelvic and/or abdominal pain. If left untreated in a woman, the infection will spread from the cervix into the pelvis, causing abscesses, scarring and blockage of the fallopian tubes leading to sterility. If left untreated in men, the infection will spread to the epididymis leading to sterility. If left untreated in either sex, the infection will eventually spread throughout the body, damaging the joints, throat and heart valves. So if you've had unprotected sex, you should get tested. If you find you have gonorrhea, you must let your sexual partners know so they can be treated before serious complications arise.

In men, symptoms first appear 2 to 14 days after exposure. In women, symptoms may not appear until 1 to 3 weeks after exposure. Once again symptoms may not occur at all. The possible symptoms are...

  • Burning, frequent urination
  • Uncomfortable milky yellowish pus-like discharge from the urethra that thickens over time.
  • A slightly increased vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal or pelvic discomfort
  • Sore throat
  • Rectal pain and itching
  • Bowel movements containing mucus
  • Fever and abdominal pain
  • Eye infections in newborns of mothers with gonorrhea (This can be treated with the standard antibiotic eye drops.)

Diagnosis

Because gonorrhea (like chlamydia) is difficult to detect in women, sexually active females should get a blood test for gonorrhea and chlamydia every three months. If symptoms do exist, a smear of discharge can be examined under the microscope by a physician.

Treatment

  • Injection of ceftriaxone by a medical professional
  • Prescribed oral antibiotics (cefixime, ciprofloxacin) (Gonorrhea has become resistant to some antibiotics such as penicillin)

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