Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a bacterium. Gonorrhea can grow easily in the warm, moist areas of the reproductive tract, including the cervix (opening to the womb), uterus (womb), and fallopian tubes egg canals in women, and in the urethra (urine canal) in women and men. The bacterium can also grow in the mouth, throat, eyes, and anus.
Causes of Gonorrhea
Gonorrhea is caused by the growth and proliferation of the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoea. The disease can survive in the eye, rectum, mouth, penis, throat, or vagina. This means that it can be transmitted through any variety of sexual contact.
People get gonorrhea by having sex with someone who has the disease. “Having sex” means anal, vaginal, or oral sex. Gonorrhea can still be transmitted via fluids even if a man does not ejaculate. Gonorrhea can also be spread from an untreated mother to her baby during childbirth
Once infected, a person runs a high risk of spreading the bacteria to other parts of their body. For instance, someone with gonorrhea may rub his or her eye, inadvertently spreading the infection and elongating the treatment period. The infection can also be spread from mothers to babies during childbirth.
Symptoms of Gonorrhea
Symptoms of rectal infection in both men and women may include discharge, anal itching, soreness, bleeding, or painful bowel movements. Rectal infections may also cause no symptoms. Infections in the throat may cause a sore throat, but usually cause no symptoms
Some men with gonorrhea may have no symptoms at all. However, common symptoms in men include a burning sensation when urinating, or a white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis that usually appears 1 to 14 days after infection. Sometimes men with gonorrhea get painful or swollen testicles.
Most women with gonorrhea do not have any symptoms. Even when a woman has symptoms, they are often mild and can be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection.
The initial symptoms in women can include a painful or burning sensation when urinating, increased vaginal discharge, or vaginal bleeding between periods. Women with gonorrhea are at risk of developing serious complications from the infection, even if symptoms are not present or are mild.
Symptoms of gonorrhea include burning or frequent urination, a yellowish vaginal discharge, redness and swelling of the genitals, and a burning or itching of the vaginal area.
If untreated, gonorrhea can lead to a severe pelvic infection with inflammation of the Fallopian tubes and ovaries. Gonorrhea infection of the Fallopian tubes can lead to a serious, painful infection of the pelvis known as pelvic inflammatory disease PID
Symptoms of pelvic infection include fever, pelvic cramping, abdominal pain, or pain with intercourse. Pelvic infection can lead to difficulty in becoming pregnant or even sterility.
Occasionally, if the infection is severe enough, a localized area of infection and pus an abscess forms, and major surgery may be necessary and even lifesaving. Gonorrhea infection in people with conditions causing serious abnormal immune function, such as AIDS, can also be more serious.
Any sexually active person can become infected with gonorrhea. Rates of infection are highest among teenagers and young adults between the ages of 15 and 29.
Those who have been diagnosed with and treated for gonorrhea in the past have no resistance to the bacteria. The only way you can prevent gonorrhea is by using a condom every time you have sex,this reduces your chance of contracting it.
Bacterial infections such as gonorrhea are more common among the promiscuous. If you have even the slightest inclination that you or your partner may be infected with gonorrhea, abstain from sex until consulting with a medical professional.