What is Gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrheoae. Gonorrhea affects both men and women and can infect the cervix, urethra, rectum, anus and throat. Gonorrhea is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. Gonorrhea is easily curable but if left untreated it can cause serious health problems such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), infertility, meningitis and septicemia. Symptoms of gonorrhea infection may appear 1 to 14 days after exposure, although it is possible to be infected with gonorrhea and have no symptoms. Men are far more likely to notice symptoms as they are more apparent. It is estimated that nearly half of the women who become infected with gonorrhea experience no symptoms, or have non-specific symptoms such as a bladder infection.
Anyone who is sexually active can get gonorrhea. If they occur, symptoms in men and women vary depending on what part of the body is infected: Gonorrhea can affect the anus, eyes, mouth, genitals, or throat.
- A change in vaginal discharge; it may appear in abundance, change to a yellow or greenish color, and develop a strong smell
- A burning sensation or pain with passing urine
- Irritation and/or discharge from the anus.
This disease can impact a woman’s ability to have children if left untreated.
How is Gonorrhea tested?
To test for gonorrhea an examination of the genital area will be carried out by a healthcare provider and samples will be taken, using a cotton swab, from any infected areas – the cervix, urethra, anus or throat. Women will also be given an internal pelvic examination. None of these tests are painful, but they may cause minor discomfort.
A sample of urine may be also taken.
The examination and tests can be done as soon as a person thinks they might have become infected with gonorrhea. If the result is negative then it is usually recommended that the person retests at a later time, as it can take up to 3 months for the immune system to produce the antibodies that are detected by the test.
How is Gonorrhea treated?
Treatment is easy and essential. The patient will be given an antibiotic in tablet, liquid or injection form.
If the patient is allergic to any antibiotics, it is very important that the doctor is informed as this may affect treatment options. Once a course of treatment is started it is important to complete it, even if symptoms diminish, to ensure the infection is cured.
Our doctors will discuss the gonorrhea infection and answer any questions. They will also want to know about any partners the patient has had sexual contact with as they will also be at risk of having gonorrhea and should be treated.
It is important that the patient returns for a check-up once the treatment has been completed. The patient should not have penetrative sex until they have returned to the clinic and it is confirmed that the infection is gone.