Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae; symptoms are painful urination and pain around the urethra(the tube that drain urine from the urinary bladder). If untreated, may lead to infertility. Polls have shown that it affects mostly people of reproductive age and sexually active persons. Some studies have also shown that it can affect children if the bacteria finds its way in through an open wound, although, this is very rare.
The nomenclature dates as far back as 1526 when first physicians observed the dysfunctional activities in the reproductive life of females. The word is coined From New Latin, gonorrhoia, and from Ancient Greek γονόρροια (gonorroia) which means (“sperm seed”). Supplementary names include; Gonorrhoea, gonococcal infection, gonococcal urethritis, the clap.
Neisseria gonorrhoeae typically sexually transmitted. Gonorrhea is spread through sexual contact with an infected person. This includes unprotected oral, anal, and vaginal sex. It can also spread from a mother to a child during child birth.
Studies and testimonies have shown that affected persons may not know that they are carriers. The time from exposure to symptoms is usually between two and 14 days, with most symptoms appearing between four and six days after infection, if they appear at all. It is pertinent to note that a non-symptomatic carrier (a person with gonorrhea, who does not show symptoms) is still contagious.
Symptoms in men:
- Burning or painful sensation during urination
- Pus-like (white, yellow or green) discharge from the penis.
- Painful or swollen testicles.
Symptoms in women:
Most women do not have symptoms. They are often mild if they do.
- Increase in vagina discharge
- Pain during urination
- Abdominal or pelvic pain
- Bleeding from the vagina after intercourse
- Vagina bleeding between periods
Symptoms in the Anus
- Pain during defecation
Gonorrhea can also infect the eyes, throat, or joints.
Complications may arise if gonorrhea is left untreated. They are
- Infertility in women: the infection may spread to the womb and fallopian tube and cause Pelvic inflammatory Disease (PID). PID can cause pelvic pain, infertility (inability to get pregnant) and ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the womb) which can be fatal.
- Infertility in men: Inflammation of the epididymis (epididymitis) is also a possible complication that may arise which will affect normal sperm maturation. This can result in fever, pain and swelling in the scrotum and, in rare cases, infertility.
- Increased risk of HIV/AIDS: just like every other STDs, gonorrhea increases the risk of contracting HIV. People who have both gonorrhea and HIV are able to pass both diseases more readily to their partners.
- Spread to other parts of the body: In rare cases, for both sexes, untreated gonorrhea can spread to other parts of the body. This can cause inflammation and swelling of joints and tendons, skin irritation and redness, and inflammation around the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) or the heart.
- Complications in babies: when babies contract gonorrhea from their mothers during birth, it can cause eye infections such as conjunctivitis, which in serious cases can result in blindness.
Factors that increase the risk of contracting gonorrhea includes:
- Engaging in unprotected vagina, oral or anal sex
- Being sexually active and under age 25
- Men who have sex with men
- Having new or multiple sexual partners
- Previous gonorrhea infection or other STIs
- Having a sexual partner who has gonorrhea
Diagnosis is by testing the urine, urethra in males, or cervix in females. Testing all women who are sexually active and less than 25 years of age each year as well as those with new sexual partners is recommended. The same recommendation applies in men who have sex with men (MSM). All people testing positive for gonorrhea should be tested for other sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, syphilis, and human immunodeficiency virus. Studies have found co-infection with chlamydia ranging from 46 to 54% in young people with gonorrhea.
Many research have been carried out in the past regarding the gonorrhea infection and new models have been developed to suppress the overwhelming catastrophe of the Neisseria gonorrhoeae; Ceftriaxone (by injection) is one of those pharmacological breakthrough and azithromycin by mouth.
- Abstain from any sexual act. This is the surest way to prevent gonorrhea and other STIs
- Use condoms during sexual intercourse.
- Maintaining a monogamous relationship. Having a single sexual partner reduces the risk of gonorrhea and other STIs
- Have your sexual partners get tested. Ask them whether they’ve been checked for gonorrhea. If they haven’t, talk to them about getting tested.
- Don’t have sex with someone who has symptoms of gonorrhea.
- Consider regular gonorrhea screening. Get tested for gonorrhea once a year if you’re:
- A man who has sex with men
- A sexually active woman under age 25
- A woman who has a new sex partner, multiple partners, or a partner with an STD.
H. Obasigie, B.Sc. (Physiology), licensed google writer and contributing writer at WikiMedia foundation.
WAS THIS ARTICLE HELPFUL?