The STD Gonorrhea: Risks, Symptoms, Complications, Testing and Treatment

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   All sexually transmitted diseases cannot be cured, but gonorrhea is not one of them. The problem is that many people who have contracted the disease across the United States do not report that they have it. It is not that these people do not want to tell a doctor about it. In fact, according to experts, in almost half the cases there are no symptoms of gonorrhea. This is why there are plenty of people right now who are going about their daily lives undiagnosed, and the disease gets worse as time goes by.

   Gonorrhea can be contracted by a person in a number of ways that involve physical sexual contact that is unprotected. If a person has vaginal sex without using a condom they can end up with the disease. Or, if the person has unprotected anal sex, the STD can be passed to another. Gonorrhea can also be caught by someone who is engaging in oral sex. The bacteria that causes the STD is called Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and any unprotected sex that involves contact with the penis or vagina could transfer the disease on to an unexpecting partner.

   Gonorrhea is one of those STDs that spreads really easily. And, if it is left untreated, the disease can get much worse over time. This is why it is important for a person who has had unprotected sex to go and get tested for gonorrhea and other types of diseases immediately, even if they do not have any immediate symptoms right then.

   Risk

   A person can put themselves at risk for catching an STD like gonorrhea if they have recently had unprotected sex. They should go and see a doctor or visit a clinic immediately. Also, if the person is constantly sexually active (and unprotected), they are always increasing the risk of getting the disease. They would be even more at risk if these sexual encounters are unprotected, and/or with multiple partners. If these partners are random, then the chances of them getting the disease are even higher, being that they are not aware of the promiscuity of the person they are sleeping with.

   One of the mistakes many people make when they acquire an STD such as gonorrhea happens after they get treated. Many times, these folks will feel that, since they had been treated before, that they cannot get the disease again. They are wrong by making this assumption, and are just as much at risk to catch the disease a second time around. Even if they are still on medication for gonorrhea, if they have unprotected sex again during that time the disease will be able to show back up fresh again.

   There are a few ways that are said to transfer gonorrhea, but not all of them are true. For example, you can’t get it from toilet seats, deep kissing, or shaking hands. Although the disease can’t be passed on in these ways, there are certain groups of people that are said to catch diseases like gonorrhea faster than others, such as teenagers, very sexually active young adults, and people who are in low-income communities. The fact that there are societal determinants like poverty in low-income communities makes STDs more prevalent in these areas. This is because when a person is located in this type of environment, they run a risk of getting themselves involved in having sexual activities that are way riskier. And, being that public clinics are almost always in these neighborhoods, there will be many more cases of gonorrhea reported by the folks who live there. Many times these are African-Americans and other minorities in these communities.

   Symptoms

   As mentioned earlier, there are sometimes no symptoms at all. So, to be on the safe side, a potential carrier of gonorrhea (someone who recently had unprotected sex) should always get checked. But, the symptoms of the disease that are the most common are ones that make the easily contracted STD very noticeable. These are symptoms that can affect anyone who puts themselves at risk. STDs do not care if you are a man, a woman, what race you are, or where you are from. If you do not choose to use a contraceptive it is a chance that you are taking that could have painful results.

   One of the most known symptoms of the disease gonorrhea is felt when a person begins to urinate. In fact, they may not have any idea that they have an STD, and the pain may come about spontaneously. When a person has contracted gonorrhea, they feel an excruciating burning sensation when urine leaves their body that can make every trip to the bathroom a nightmare. The worst part is that if the disease went undiagnosed for a while, the painful urination will seemingly have appeared out of thin air, and the person would have to do some research into their own sexual history to see who may have given them the disease.

   Women may experience these symptoms as much as men, and also have a few of their own. When a woman has gonorrhea, there can be a vaginal discharge that is unusual. This discharge may be of a weird looking color, or it may have a bad smell to it. Men can also experience this type of discharge from the penis if they have acquired the disease. If the person has recently had unprotected oral sex, they should not pass off a sore throat as something minor if it lasts unusually long. If it is difficult to swallow food or if the sore throat is more painful than any you have had before, it is good idea to get tested for your own peace of mind.

   Also, there other uncommon symptoms of gonorrhea. Some of them may be passed off as something else less major, when in fact it is an STD causing the symptom. For example, if a person sees a rash somewhere on their body that is odd, especially if it is around the genital region, it could be gonorrhea. Any type of pain or swelling around the testicular area could also be a sign of the STD.

   Complications

   In very rare cases, Disseminated Gonococcal Infection (DGI) can result from gonorrhea. It can happen when the disease is left untreated, and is when it spreads to other parts of the body. The person may have anything from seizures to headaches to body stiffness. Joint inflammation may also occur, as well as random rashes, swelling, or bad nausea. Although DGI only occurs about 3% of the time, it can happen to people who ignore the fact that they had unprotected sex, and never went in to see a doctor.

   Women are affected greatly because of an STD like gonorrhea. They may experience an inflamed bladder because if it, or a woman could have a miscarriage. Increased pain in the pelvic area is also one of the complications caused by the disease. One of the worst complications of gonorrhea is her becoming less fertile or not fertile at all. Infertility is also one of the complications that men with the STD can experience.

   Men also have other complications that can happen to them if gonorrhea is contracted, even though they are many times rare occurrences. For example, if a man’s urethra all of a sudden narrows, they could be carrying around the STD. Men can also develop an inflamed prostate because of it.

   Testing

   If a person goes in to be tested for gonorrhea, they sometimes do not know what the tests actually mean, especially if they go in too early. This type of test can come back as what is called a false negative or a false positive, terms that can be confusing to a person who simply wants to know if they have an STD or not. A false positive result is when a person gets a result that reads positive but an STD is not present. A false negative is the opposite, when the results of the test reads that a person does not have the disease, but in fact is carrying it.

   Most doctors say that in order to get the most accurate results, a person should get tested after two weeks of being exposed to the STD, then again in 6 weeks to double check. False positive or false negative results only happen a very small percentage of the time, only in about 1% to 4% of cases. But, the best thing to do is be sure of your sexual partner and their sexual habits as well as your own.

   Treatment

   With gonorrhea being one of the most commonly transmitted STDs, it is also one of the most easily treated. Most cases of the disease can be easily taken care of with antibiotics. A medication that is majorly used in treatment of this particular STD is called cefixime. This is taken orally, and it does not give the patient the freedom to go out and have unprotected sex again. Actions such as this will simply re-infect the person, and they will have to repeat the testing and treatment process all over again.

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