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Gonorrhea : Causes, symptoms and treatments

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Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection caused due to the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhea. It is very painful and if not treated on time, it could lead to serious health issues including infertility.

Symptoms

It has been estimated that 1 out of every 10 infected men and 50 percent of the infected women do not experience any symptoms at all. If the symptoms do occur, it starts in about a fortnight of the infection. However, in some cases, it could also take months for the symptoms to appear.

Symptoms in women include

  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal discharge turns thin, watery and yellow or green in color
  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Tenderness and pain in the lower abdomen
  • Bleeding in between periods
  • Extreme pain during sexual intercourse coupled with bleeding
  • Heavy bleeding during periods

Symptoms in men include

  • White, yellow or green discharge from the penis
  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Inflamed foreskin
  • Pain and tenderness in the testicles

Indulging in oral or anal sex can lead to the contact of infected vaginal and penile with the eyes, throat, and rectum and therefore the spreading the infection the concerned areas.

Causes

Gonorrhea is caused due to the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae, also known as Neisseria gonococcus. It is a sexually transmitted disease and therefore more easily passed in between people through unprotected sex. If a pregnant mother is infected, the bacterium could be passed on to the child as well. Since the gonorrhea bacterium cannot survive outside the human body for a very long time, they have little or no chances of spreading through kissing, hugging, toilet seats, swimming pools, sharing cups, plates or cutleries and through sharing baths and towels.

The instances of transmission include

  • Unprotected oral, vaginal or anal sex
  • Sharing of unwashed and unprotected vibrators and other sex toys

Consequences

Having been caused due to bacteria, gonorrhea is a treatable condition and definitely not life threatening like other sexually transmitted diseases. Upon correct treatment at the earliest, it does not cause any long term problems. However, if neglected, the infection could spread to other parts of the body and give rise to serious complications. If the infections are more recurrent, the chances of having long term issues are higher.

In women, the infection can spread upwards from the cervix and into the reproductive organs. This could cause pelvic inflammation, long term pelvic pain, blocked Fallopian tubes, ectopic pregnancy, and infertility. In men, the condition can cause severe pain in the testicles and increase the chances of infertility. In rare instances, gonorrhea can also cause inflammation of the joints, tendons and skin lesions.

Treatment

Gonorrhea does not require a long term treatment. It only comprises of taking oral antibiotics for a short period of time. The treatment could also involve an antibiotic injection along with a single dose of an antibiotic tablet. In some cases, the injection can also be substituted by another form of antibiotic. Getting a thorough checkup of both the partners before indulging in any sexual activity could help prevent gonorrhea.

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