Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection, which means it can be treated with antibiotics. Being a bacteria, it like places that are moist, dark and protected. The eyes, throat, genitals and mouth fit these conditions well, and are areas where gonorrhea infections are usually seen.
You get this by having unprotected sex, including anal, vaginal, and oral sex This includes having no barrier (no condom, no films) or having ones that break. It may then move deeper into the body, and can take up to 30 days to show any symptoms.
As well, letting the bacteria in through cuts where tears or mucus have landed may be an alternative way for this bacteria to pass between partners.
There is no immune response to this, so knowing that you have had gonorrhea before does not offer you protection.
What are the symptoms?
A recent study shows that many never show any symptoms. With this in mind, you need to be very aware of the small signs that may indicate that you may be infected. For both sexes, these are:
- painful urination
- white, yellow or greenish leakages, or any other unusual leakage
- burning and itching around the genitals
- painful bowel movements
Females may also have bleeding between periods. Males, in this case the easier gender to notice symptoms, may rarely have swollen or painful testicles.
Diagnosis and treatments
The doctor has some options on testing. They may take a swab, from the opening on the male's penis or the cervix of a female, and send it to the lab for testing. They may elect to use a urine sample that can be tested for the bacteria, as well. They may also recommend testing for other STDs, like HIV and syphilis, to make sure that there are no other infections.
The treatment is normally antibiotics by mouth for both men and women. This bacteria is getting resistant to treatment, so make sure that you finish your full prescription. If you have symptoms that last for more than 3 days after starting treatment, you should return to make sure the medication is effective.
Doctors will want to treat all the partners to minimize the spread of this disease, so you need to let anyone you have had sex with-even without penetration- for the past 60 days know if a gonorrhea test comes back positive.
Do not have sex until one week after you have finished your prescription. This gives your body time to finish fighting off the infection.
You should be re-tested within three months to make sure that the disease is gone.
What if I don't get treated?
In both men and women, there is a chance that the gonorrhea virus may spread to other areas of the body. This can be life-threatening if it infects the heart or other organs, and you will need hospitalization. It also can reduce your resistance to getting other STDs, including HIV.
Mothers who have gonorrhea while pregnant risk having a miscarriage, an early birth, or passing the infection onto the newborn, causing everything from pinkeye to an infected blood or spinal fluid supply.