Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Sexual Health: What is Gonorrhea and Why You Should Care?

 

Sexual Health: What is Gonorrhea and Why You Should Care?

Sexually Transmitted Diseases are spreading rapidly and reaching new highs every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Gonorrhea is one of the most commonly reported STDs that approximately 1.6 million new Gonorrhea infections were reported in the United States in the year 2018 alone. What’s more interesting is that more than half of the reported cases were among young people aged 15-24.


In this article, we walk you through what is STD, symptoms of Gonorrhea, treatment, and more. 

What are STDs?

STDs are infectious diseases that spread from one person to another via sexual contact, they are also known as Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Now, here sexual contact also means oral sex and anal sex. Some may believe that oral sex is safer than vaginal or anal sex, but that’s not the case. Oral sex is as highly contagious as vaginal/anal sex.


Talking about the type of STDs, and when one thinks of STDs, it is HIV that strikes first. Though HIV is one of the incurable and deadliest STDs, the number of cases of HIV has reportedly declined significantly over the past years, as per World Health Organisations (WHO).


There are more than 20 different types of STDs and Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are topping the list. Most commonly seen symptoms of STDs include genital discharge, burning during urination, unusual sores, or rash. If you see any of these symptoms in your sex partner, then you should stop having sex and see a health care provider immediately.

What is Gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is a contagious disease that is caused by a bacteria called Neisseria Gonorrhoeae. These bacteria transmit via sexual contact and typically affects the moist area like the urethra, vagina, thighs, and oral cavity. 


If you are sexually active, that is having more than one sex partner, then watch for any unusual symptoms and get tested for Gonorrhea. When it comes to STDs, don’t take them for granted and expect the symptoms to go away on their own. The bacteria needs to be terminated before making the health condition severe.

Gonorrhea Symptoms

Most men who get affected with Gonorrhea are asymptomatic. When the symptoms appear they include rectal infections, discharge, anal itching, soreness, bleeding, or painful bowel movements. Common symptoms of Gonorrhea are -

  • Fatigue
  • Pain in the eye
  • Itching
  • Sore throat
  • Anal itching


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These symptoms are experienced by both the sexes who are infected with Gonorrhea.

Symptoms of Gonorrhea in Men

Signs and symptoms of Gonorrhea in men usually appear one to fourteen days after the initial exposure to the bacteria. Following are the symptoms of Gonorrhea in men -

  • Urethral infection 
  • White, yellow, or green pus-like urethral discharge
  • Epididymitis
  • Testicular or scrotal pain.

Symptoms of Gonorrhea in Women

Similar to men, the symptoms in women do not show up early and may often be confused with mild and nonspecific infections like a bladder or vaginal infection. The initial signs in women include -

  • White, yellow, or green urethral discharge
  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods

Can Gonorrhea be Cured?

Unlike HIV, which is caused by a virus and impossible to completely cure, Gonorrhea can be cured with the right treatment if diagnosed at the right time (i.e. as early as possible). Your physician will recommend certain drugs and medications to terminate the invaded bacteria and reduce the symptoms.


It is important to complete the full course of the prescribed medications even though you stop seeing the symptoms and signs. The bacteria might still be dormant active and you can get the symptoms again if you do not complete the medications. There are high chances of reinfection if you have sexual contact with a person infected with gonorrhea even after receiving treatment.

What Happens if Gonorrhea is Left Untreated?

Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent health complications in both women and men like increasing the risk of acquiring HIV. It can spread into the uterus or fallopian tubes and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women and can make both men and women infertile. Leaving Gonorrhea undiagnosed and untreated can spread to the blood and cause disseminated gonococcal infection (DGI).


If you are pregnant, the infection can be passed on to the baby through the birth canal during delivery and may cause life-threatening conditions to the newborn.

Conclusion

Highly infectious diseases like Gonorrhea need to be addressed and treated as early as possible. CDC recommends getting screened for Gonorrhea and other STDs at least once a year if you are sexually active. Also, try to spread awareness about these diseases and discuss it with your partners before involving in sexual activities. Help reduce the cases and let’s stop the spread of Gonorrhea together!


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