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Gonorrhea: Symptoms, Treatment, Causes and Risk

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Amongst all the STDs known to man, gonorrhoea is one of the most common and most easily transmitted. Note that you must be sexually active before you can be at the risk of contracting gonorrhoea or any other STD.

Furthermore, when you get infected, you can get the treatment you need when you go for STD screening or test and get a proper diagnosis. This sets you on the path of avoiding long term complications that may arise due to negligence of treatment.

What is Gonorrhoea?

Like all STDs, gonorrhoea is not exclusive to one gender. It affects both men and women and is gotten through unprotected sexual activities with an infected person. Gonorrhoea is very common in young people of ages 15 – 24 years who are also sexually active. It affects the throat, genitals and the rectum.

How does one get infected with gonorrhoea?

The most common way of getting infected is by having unprotected anal, oral or vaginal sexual intercourse with someone infected. It may be difficult to tell when someone is infected because the symptoms are not usually visible. However, when you have unprotected sex with someone, you place yourself at risk of being infected.

If a pregnant woman has gonorrhoea, she can infect her baby through the process of childbirth.

Who is at risk?

Anyone who is sexually active, to begin with, is at risk of getting infected. It becomes worse if you constantly engage in unprotected sexual activities. You may not know the sexual history of your partner or his or her medical history. Gonorrhoea, as mentioned earlier, can also be transmitted through anal and oral sex as well.

The risk is higher for those who are below the age of 25 and are sexually active. If you have more than one sexual partner, make sure you get tested for gonorrhoea every year. Other people who are at risk are people whose partners have been infected either previously or recently and gay or lesbian partners.

Is it possible to reduce the risk of having gonorrhoea?

Yes, it is very much possible to reduce or completely eliminate your chances of getting infected with gonorrhoeain the following ways:

  • Abstaining from all forms of sexual activity. At least until you are old enough or till you are ready to take responsibility for it. Being sexually inactive reduces your chances of having gonorrhoea or any other STD by a wide margin.
  • Sticking to one partner whom you trust, and who has been tested and proved negative to all forms and types of STDs
  • Practising safe sex. If you must have sex, be sure to use protection such as condoms for added protection against gonorrhoea and other STDs

Symptoms of Gonorrhoea

Symptoms of gonorrhoea manifest differently in men and women.

For women, symptoms of gonorrhoea include

  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Burning sensation when urinating

Often, the symptoms that women experience may be mild or absent altogether. Without proper diagnosis, the symptoms may be mistaken for vaginal or bladder infection. If left untreated, gonorrhoea can have devastating long-term effects on the female body.

For men, the symptoms include

  • Green, yellow or white discharge from the penis
  • Burning sensation when urinating
  • Swollen testicles (less common)

In some cases, most men do not experience symptoms when infected.

There are symptoms that affect both men and women, and they include

  • Anal discharge
  • Anal itch
  • Painful bowel movement
  • Soreness
  • Bleeding

When you notice any of these symptoms mentioned above, do not hesitate to visit the nearest clinic for STD tests and diagnosis.

Testing for gonorrhoea

Getting tested for gonorrhoea requires a urine test for most occasions. However, in cases where the victim has been involved in anal or oral sex, samples can be collected from the throat or anus using a swab. In some cases, a swab can also be collected from the cervix (for women) or the urethra (for men)

Treatment for gonorrhoea

Like most STDs, gonorrhoea can be treated, provided you get tested and diagnosed on time. This is because, while the medication administered by the doctor will cure you and get rid of the symptoms, it cannot reverse any damage already done by the disease. This is why it is important to get tested as soon as you notice unusual symptoms in your body.

Sadly, in recent times, there have been strains of drug-resistant gonorrhoea. This makes it more difficult for gonorrhoea to be treated. However, if there are no signs of improvement in at least three days of treatment, return to the clinic immediately for more tests.

What happens if I don’t get treated on time?

When gonorrhoea is left untreated in the body, it can cause more damage than you can imagine. This damage can be permanent, and life-altering as well, and differs for men and women.

For women, untreated gonorrhoea can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. Other complications that may arise from Pelvic Inflammatory Disease include infertility, blockage of the fallopian tube, ectopic pregnancy and even long-term Pelvic issues and pain. For men, untreated gonorrhoeacan lead to blockage of the tubes leading to the testicles. This can cause infertility as well.

Finally, untreated gonorrhoea can increase one’s chance of getting other STDs, including HIV.

Have you been involved in any form of sexual activity with an infected person? Do you think you are at risk or you have been infected? Visit your nearest private sexual health clinic in London today to get treated for Gonorrhoea.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can gonorrhoea affect my pregnancy?

If a woman is pregnant and has gonorrhoea, she can infect the baby during childbirth. This can cause health issues for the child after birth. You should see a specialist to get tested, and treated before your expected time of delivery to avoid infecting your child.

Can I have sex again after being treated for gonorrhoea?

Definitely, you can. However, you must wait for at least a week after completing all your treatment and medications before engaging in any sexual activity. Note that, treatment from gonorrhoea does not guarantee that you will be protected in future. You can still get infected if you have unprotectedsex with an infected person. You would still have to practice safe sex or use protection to avoid getting infected in the future.

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