What Should We Know About Gonorrhea Infection?
Gonorrhea is an infection spread through sexual contact. Caused by bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the infection is transmitted by unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. The condition affects warm, moist areas, such as vagina, urethra, anus, throat, eyes, and reproductive tract.
People with multiple sex partners are at a higher risk of the infection compared to those who are happy consummating with one partner. Those who do not wear protection during intercourse also face a greater risk of infection. Gonorrhea symptoms may start to appear 2-5 days after the exposure. Most men may develop symptom after weeks of infection. However, most women show up symptoms almost within two to three days.
Gonorrhea Infection Symptoms
Remember, a person with gonorrhea, who doesn’t show symptoms of infection is still contagious. Such persons are more likely to spread the infection unknowingly, since their symptoms remain “silent.” In such cases, men may suffer from inflammation in the penis and testes. The spread of gonorrhea may cause skin problems and arthritis in both men and women.
While women may show mild symptoms of infection that are often mistaken as vaginal infection, some men may experience burning or painful sensation while urination or scarring of the urethra. They may also develop a painful abscess in the inner skin of the penis.
Some other symptoms of gonorrhea infection include:
- Swelling or redness in front of penis
- Urgency of urination
- Greater frequency of urination
- A pus-like discharge from penis
- Persistent sore throat
- Inflammation of the testes
- Pain in the testicles
Symptoms in women are often confused with vaginal yeast infections and may be difficult to identify. When the condition is left untreated, infected women tend to suffer from pelvic inflammatory disease – a condition wherein the infection spreads to all of the reproductive organs. The condition can cause sterilization in women.
- Sore throat
- Discharge from vagina
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Frequent urination
- Pain during intercourse
- Intense pain in the lower abdomen
If left untreated, gonorrhea infection may spread to the bloodstream, resulting in fever, rashes, pain in the joints.
Swabbing of the infected site, which may include throat, urethra, vagina, rectum, or cervix, is done to collect discharge. The cell samples are then taken to the laboratory for culturing to identify the bacterium infection. Other tests to diagnose gonorrhea infection include using DNA probes or amplification techniques to recognize the genetic material of the bacteria.
Antibiotics are usually prescribed for patients with a severe gonorrhea infection. However, teenagers and pregnant women must avoid taking antibiotics without consulting the doctor. It is important that both partners are treated for gonorrhea before having intercourse again.
Get tested three months after undergoing gonorrhea treatment to ensure the infection is completely gone.