What is Gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria. This condition is sometimes referred to as the “clap,” because it was historically treated by clapping two pieces of leather together over the area of infection. It is the second most commonly reported sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States and is spread through sexual contact with an infected person, including oral, vaginal, or anal sex. It is important to note that no form of protection is 100% effective in preventing STIs, including gonorrhea.
Symptoms of Gonorrhea
Gonorrhea can cause several signs and symptoms that vary depending on the individual. The most noticeable symptom of gonorrhea is pain or a burning sensation when urinating. Other symptoms for women can include: increased vaginal discharge, pelvic pain, and bleeding between periods. Symptoms for men can include: increased penile discharge, inflammation of the prostate gland, and pain or swelling in one testicle.
Treatment for Gonorrhea
Gonorrhea is usually treated with a course of antibiotics, such as ceftriaxone or azithromycin. In some cases, a combination of antibiotics may be used. It is important that the antibiotics be taken exactly as prescribed. It is also important to contact all sexual partners who may have been exposed to the infection, so they can receive treatment as well.
Prevention of Gonorrhea
To reduce the risk of contracting gonorrhea and other STIs, individuals should practice safe sex, such as using a condom every time they have sexual contact, and practice monogamy. Additionally, being vaccinated against Human Papillomavirus (HPV) can help protect against certain strains that can increase the risk of getting gonorrhea.
Health Risks of Gonorrhea
If left untreated, gonorrhea can lead to serious health complications. In women, it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can lead to infertility or chronic pelvic pain. In men, it can lead to scarring or narrowing of the urethra, or even lead to infertility. It can also increase the risk for HIV infection, as well as other STIs.
Gonorrhea is a serious infection, and it is important to get tested if there is a risk of exposure. If an individual is infected, it is important to follow the prescribed treatment and contact all sexual partners so they can get tested and treated as well. Additionally, it is important to practice safe sex by using a condom every time, and practice monogamy. Vaccination against HPV can also help reduce the risk of infection.