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Gonorrhea

What is Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that infects both men and women. It is a bacterial infection that primarily affects the urethra and the cervix, or both, and can also infect the rectum, throat, and pelvic organs. This is commonly called the genitourinary tract. In rare cases Gonorrhea can also infect the conjunctiva.

The bacterium responsible for Gonorrhea is Nisseria Gonorrhoeae. Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are very similar and can sometimes be misdiagnosed as the other. It is also possible to be infected with both sexually transmitted diseases at the same time.

How Does Gonorrhea Spread

Gonorrhea can be passed on at any time when the person is infected whether they are showing symptoms or not

Symptoms of Gonorrhea may or may not show that a person is infected. Roughly half of people who are infected with Gonorrhea will never show symptoms. However, in those that do develop symptoms, they usually appear within 2-5 days of exposure, though it can sometimes be as much as 30 days before the symptoms appear. Symptoms may not appear until after it has spread to other portions of the body. 

How to Prevent Gonorrhea

Besides abstaining from sexual contact, how can you prevent Gonorrhea?

The best way to prevent Gonorrhea is to use condoms each and every time you have any sexual contact. Using the condoms properly during all encounters will lower your risk of contracting gonorrhea and other STD's. 

Having a long-term relationship that is monogamous for both partners is another good way to prevent STD transmission. Of course, both partners need to be tested early on during the relationship to know that they are both uninfected from the start.

Note: It is important to note that having Gonorrhea once does not protect you from contracting it again in the future. 

Symptoms of Gonorrhea

The following is a list of symptoms that you may experience if you have Gonorrhea. Note: in women, the symptoms are often so mild that they are mistaken for a vaginal infection or a urinary infection. 

General Gonorrhea Symptoms

Severe pain in the lower abdomen that strikes suddenly.
Pain in the lower abdomen accompanied by vaginal bleeding and/or discharge and a fever of 100 F or greater.
Frequent urination, a burning sensation when urinating, or an inability to urinate and a fever of 100 F or greater.
Discharge from the penis.
Swelling, pain and tenderness in the scrotum.
Anal itching, bleeding or discharge.
Genital itching.
Irregular menstruation.
General fatigue and fever.
Painful, swollen or inflamed Bartholin glands at the opening of the vagina.
Painful sexual intercourse.(rarely) 
Conjunctivitis.(rarely) 
Sore throat.

Long-Term Effects of Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea will not cause any long-term health problems so long as it is treated before any complications such as infertility or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease arise.

Other complications that can arise are an abscess near the ovaries, an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, and epididymitis.

Gonorrhea Treatment

Treatment of Gonorrhea is fairly simple and usually involves the administration of antibiotics by your physician. In rare cases if the strain of Gonorrhea is antibiotic resistant other treatments will be discussed.

If you are treated but your partner is not, it is likely that you will become infected again. It is also recommended that you not engage in sexual activity for the first seven days of treatment.

It is important to educate people during Gonorrhea treatment that having this STD once does not protect them from contracting it again in the future. Always use condoms as a form of prevention of STDs.

Treatment is always recommended for anyone who has had sexual contact within the last 60 days with someone infected with Gonorrhea. It is also recommended if you have a positive test for Gonorrhea and for newborns of mothers infected with Gonorrhea.

Gonorrhea Summary

Gonorrhea can be prevented and easily treated most times with antibiotics. If you have the symptoms above or want to be sure that you are not infected, you and your partner should be tested for Gonorrhea and other STDs by a qualified medical professional. 

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