GONORRHEA


Strain of Gonorrhea

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Information and Pictures on Gonorrhea, one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. Information including symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, transmission, prevention and other general information.

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Gonorrhea Gonococcal Infection (clap, drip)

Gonorrhea is:

  • an infection that is spread through sexual contact with another person
  • caused by a bacterium, Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • second only to Chlamydial infections in the number of reported cases.

The Gonorrhea germs are found in the mucous areas of the body:

  • genital tract
  • penis
  • rectum
  • throat
  • vagina

In women:

  • The opening (cervix) to the womb (uterus) from the birth canal is the first place of infection
  • The disease can spread into the womb and fallopian tubes, resulting in Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) which can cause infertility in up to 10% of infected women and tubal (ectopic) pregnancy

Risk Groups:

  • any person who is sexually active can be infected with Gonorrhea
  • common among younger people, ages 15-30, who have multiple sex partners
  • increases in Gonorrhea have been found among men who have sex with men
  • occurs more frequently in urban areas than in rural areas

Gonorrhea is the most common reportable sexually transmitted infection in the United States, with an estimated 800,000 cases reported annually.

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Transmission of Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is spread Through sexual contact including:

  • penis to vagina (infection rate for males 30-50%, females 60-90%)
  • penis to mouth,
  • penis to rectum
  • mouth to vagina

From mother to child as the child passes through the birth canal during delivery causing:

  • eye infections

In children, usually due to sexual abuse it is found in the:

  • genital tract
  • mouth
  • rectum

Other Risk Factors:

  • An infected person can spread the infection to another area of their body by touching the infected area and transferring the excretions
  • Clothing or wash cloths of infected people can spread the infection

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Gonorrhea Symptoms

In Men:

  • creamy or green, pus-like discharge from the penis
  • painful urination (burning sensation)
  • testicular pain

In Women:

  • bleeding between periods
  • creamy or green, pus-like or bloody vaginal discharge
  • excessive bleeding during menstrual period
  • irritation of the vulva
  • lower abdominal pain
  • painful intercourse
  • painful urination (burning sensation)
  • rectal infection
  • throat infection

Rectal infection:

  • constipation
  • creamy, pus-like discharge
  • itching
  • painful bowel movement with blood in feces
  • rectal bleeding

Symptoms usually appear 2-7 days after infection in males, but it can sometimes take up to 30 days for symptoms to appear. Often there are no symptoms at all in:

  • 10-15 % of men
  • 80% of women

People with no symptoms are at risk of developing complications from Gonorrhea and can unknowingly spread the infection. From the time of infection, gonorrhea can be spread and will continue to be spread until properly treated. Past infection does not make a person immune to gonorrhea and previous infections with Gonorrhea may allow complications to occur more rapidly and increase your risk of getting HIV.

Long term complications
In Men:

  • epididymitis – an inflammation of the testicles that can cause sterility

In Women:

  • abscesses
  • ectopic pregnancy – a pregnancy outside of the uterus
  • infection of the amniotic fluid and sac
  • preterm premature rupture of membranes
  • high risk of miscarriage
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) – an ascending infection that spreads from the vagina and cervix to the uterus and fallopian tubes, which can lead to sterility
  • peri-hepatitis – an infection around the liver
  • sterility

In newborns:

  • eye infections that if untreated can lead to blindness
  • blood or joint infections
  • meningitis
Photos of Gonorrhea Symptoms

Diagnosis of Gonorrhea

Many doctors prefer to use more than one test to increase the chance of an accurate diagnosis. There are three laboratory techniques usually used to diagnose Gonorrhea: Staining Biological Samples Staining biological samples directly for the bacterium is carried out by placing on a slide a sample of the discharge from the penis or cervix and staining it with a dye

  • The doctor can usually give you the test results during the consultation
  • This test is more accurate for men than women, as only 1 in 2 women with the infection have a positive stain

Detection of Bacterial Genes or Nucleic Acid (DNA) Test Detection of bacterial genes or nucleic acid (DNA) test is carried out using urine or cervical swabs to detect the genes of the bacteria

  • This test is often more accurate than culturing the bacteria

Cultures Growing the bacteria in laboratory cultures involves placing a sample of the discharge onto a culture plate and incubating it for up to 2 days to allow the bacteria to multiply

  • Cultures of cervical samples detect infection approximately 90% of the time
  • A culture can also be taken to detect Gonorrhea in the throat

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Gonorrhea Treatment

Gonorrhea is treated with penicillin or other antibiotics in pill form or by injection, however, the disease is becoming more and more resistant to many standard medications. Antibiotics that are currently used are:

  • Cefixime
  • Ceftriaxone
  • Ciprofloxacin*
  • Ofloxacin*
  • Tetracycline

* The antibiotics Ciprofloxacin and Ofloxacin should not be taken if you have Gonorrhea and are:

  • pregnant
  • younger than 18 years old

Gonorrhea and Chlamydia infection, another common STD, often infect people at the same time A combination of antibiotics is taken which will treat both diseases, such as:

  • Azithromycin
  • Ceftriaxone
  • Doxycycline

All sexual partners should be tested and treated if infected, whether or not they have symptoms of the infection. If untreated the Gonorrhea infection can spread:

  • into the reproductive tract

and through the bloodstream infecting:

  • brain (rarely)
  • heart valves
  • joints

The most common result of untreated Gonorrhea is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), a serious infection of the female reproductive organs. Gonococcal Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) often appears immediately after menstruation and causes:

In Women

  • abscesses
  • peri-hepatitis, an infection around the liver, as a long-term complication
  • scar tissue to form in the fallopian tubes
  • sterilization in females
  • the embryo to implant in the tube causing a tubal (ectopic) pregnancy, which can result in miscarriage and sometimes death of the mother
  • the fertilized egg to not pass into the uterus if the tubes are partially scarred

In Men:

  • arthritis
  • epididymitis, an inflammation of the testicles that can cause sterility in the long term
  • other organ infections
  • skin problems
  • swelling of the testicles and penis

Approximately 2% of persons with untreated gonorrhea may develop Disseminated Gonococcal Infection (DGI).
Symptoms include:

  • arthritis-type pain
  • fever
  • skin lesions

Prevention of Gonorrhea

Help Factors

  • avoid any sexual contact
  • do not wait for symptoms to appear, particularly if you or your partner have other sexual contacts
  • proper hand washing is essential as the bacteria can be transferred to the eyes
  • regular check-ups for STD’s should be part of your regular medical examination
  • sexual relations should be handled responsibly by limiting the number of sexual partners and using condoms
  • visit a local sexually transmitted disease (STD) clinic, hospital, doctor or health practitioner