What is Gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection that can be transmitted through vaginal, oral or anal sex. It is caused by the bacterium, Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Gonorrhea infects the mucous membranes of a variety of body parts in both men and women, especially urethra. In women, it also attacks fallopian tubes, cervix, and uterus. Other areas of infection could be the mucous membranes found in eyes, throat, mouth, and anus. At an estimated 820,000 new infections a year, according to the CDC, Gonorrhea is a serious concern for sexually active people.
It has also been observed that Gonorrhea and Chlamydia often occur together. This happens for two reasons. One, both of them have the similar risk factors like frequent unprotected sex. Secondly, infection from the causal microbes of either of the diseases makes the patient vulnerable to the second infection.
How is Gonorrhea transmitted?
There are usually two ways in which Gonorrhea can be transmitted from one person to another. The most prevalent mode is through sex, which can be vaginal, oral or anal. A mother can also transmit the disease to her unborn baby during vaginal childbirth. There is another less prevalent mode, which is transmitted through objects such as clothing, towels and baths, which is very rare and mostly occurs among children.
What are the symptoms of Gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is another silent STD, and does not usually exhibit any symptoms even after infecting an individual. However, it does not mean that the infection is not inflicting any damage to the patient. It continues to attack the host, albeit without getting detected. When it does exhibit any symptoms in men, it is usually painful urination and severe itching. You may also observe an unusual whitish or yellowish discharge from the penis. Gonorrhea can also cause swollen glands when the patient has been infected due to oral sex. Women with Gonorrhea experience painful urination, unusual discharge from vagina, vaginal bleeding, fever, vomiting, and stomach pain too.
Gonorrhea may also go on to cause arthritis in its hosts. This happens when the infection reaches the knees and the immune system rushes to tackle the bacterium. The immune system attacks the synovial fluid present in the knees, causing inflammation, which leads to pain in the joints and subsequently, arthritis.
How is Gonorrhea detected?
Nucleic Acid Amplification (NAA) test is the most reliable and the widely practiced test for detecting the Gonorrhea infection in an individual. It can detect the presence of the disease causing bacterium even if the patient does not show any symptoms. NAA is recommended by many medical regulatory bodies and certification agencies for its reliability and accuracy. It is quite a simple test and only requires your urine sample.
Pregnant women are in fact checked for the Gonorrhea-causing bacterium during the course of pregnancy, as a routine test.
Where can I get tested for Gonorrhea?
There are many testing centers across the country which conduct NAA test for detecting Gonorrhea. We have compiled a list of some of the most popular CLIA-certified testing centers for your convenience. You can refer to our list here to find the nearest testing center in your area.
What happens if Gonorrhea is untreated?
If Gonorrhea goes untreated, it can result in severe complications later in life. In men, some of the complications arising out of untreated Gonorrhea are higher susceptibility to HIV, severe pain in the testicles, inflammation of the prostate gland, urethral inflammation and even infertility. In women, untreated Gonorrhea can result in infertility, pelvic inflammatory disease, septic abortion, and transmission of the disease to the unborn child.
In some cases, if left untreated, Gonorrhea can also reach the Central Nervous System. It can even infect the lining around the brain and the spinal cord. This leads to the inflammation of the meninges, which causes meningitis. This kind of infection is more common in children, who are infected by the disease, than in adults. In children, Gonorrhea can show many symptoms like a signature crusting of the eye and pneumonia.
Can Gonorrhea be cured?
Yes. Gonorrhea can be completely cured with suitable antibiotic treatment. If your test results come positive, we would be happy to provide you free consultation on what should be the next steps for you. We will even suggest you a reputed doctor, whom you can consult and get yourself treated. It goes without saying that you should not engage in sexual activities with anyone until you are completely cured of Gonorrhea, to ensure that you don’t spread the disease.