Last updated on July 28th, 2018 at 05:14 am
Gonorrhea symptoms in men and women are caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae which is a sexually transmitted. It affects the genitals of women and men causing abnormal discharge in women and burning sensation in men.
Gonorrhea can affect other parts of the body. It affects the rectum during anal sex. It can also affect the mouth during oral sex. Eyes of children can be affected by childbirth. More than 50 percent of women and about 10 percent of men do not show symptoms of the disease.
Also, the number of people affected is reducing. This is due to early detection and treatment. However, it is still common in countries where unsafe sex is high.
It is estimated that 106 million men and women develop the disease each year. In the year 2013 more than 2000 deaths were caused by gonorrhea infection.
Gonorrhea can easily be prevented in both men and women. Abstinence is the best way to prevent infection, though, use of condoms have been helpful. However, people with gonorrhea can be treated and cured.
It is recommended that every woman below 25 years are regularly tested. This is because most women with gonorrhea will not show symptoms.
What causes gonorrhea infection in women and men?
The organism Neisseria gonorrhoeae causes gonorrhea. It is transmitted to men, women, and children.
The commonest mode of transmission is by sexual contact. However, other route of transmission is possible. Women during childbirth can transmit the disease to their children. This affects the eyes of babies causing ophthalmia neonatorum. Also, homosexual women and men have an increased risk of contracting the disease.
About 50 to 90 percent of women will not show any sign or symptoms of gonorrhea. Contacting the disease from these women during unsafe sex is possible.
Also, it can be transmitted in children when contaminated towel is shared. However, the most common route for transmission in all age groups and sex is by sexual contact.
What are the symptoms and signs of Gonorrhea in men and women?
Gonorrhea can affect men and women. However, only 50 percent of women and 90 percent of men show gonorrhea symptoms. This simply means that a lot of people will have the disease without any symptoms.
The world health organization (WHO) estimates that about 448 million new cases of sexually transmitted infection each year (Syphilis, chlamydia, trichomoniasis). About 88 million out of the 448 million new infections are due to gonorrhea infections.
In addition, there is no immunity to the infection if you were treated in the past. Recurrent infection can occur in poorly treated diseases and unprotected sex.
Gonorrhea symptoms in men
- No symptoms of gonorrhea in 10 percent of men
- Burning pain during urination (dysuria) due to inflammation of the urethra ( the part of the penis where urine flows through).
- Discharge of pus from the penis. Some men will experience discharge of pus with burning sensation while urinating
- A sore throat which is due to infection of the mouth during oral sex. However, only 10 percent of people with gonorrhea throat infections show symptoms.
- Rectal bleeding, pain and rectal discharge
- Pain in the abdomen
- Pain in the joints
- Swollen painful testes
Gonorrhea symptoms in women
- No symptoms in 50 percent of women
- White vaginal discharge or yellow-green vaginal discharge
- Low abdomen pain due to ascending infection (PID)
- Burning sensation while passing urine
- Discharge of pus
- Pain during sex
- Bleeding between periods
- Joint pain
- Skin rash with fever
It is important to see your doctor if you develop any of these symptoms. This is especially when you practice unsafe sex. Other sexually transmitted diseases can mimic some of these symptom. Get tested by visiting your doctor.
How is gonorrhea tested and diagnosed?
During your clinic visit, specimen is collected for analysis. In men sample is collected from the urethra while in women samples are collected from the cervix. Sample collected will be cultured to show the organism and the best antibiotics to treat the infection. Some of the gonorrhea tests done include
- Gram stain. This will show gram negative diplococci (Neisseria gonorrhoeae)
- Culture. this is important to detect the organism and the best drug for treatment.
- Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAAT)
What is the Gonorrhea treatment in men and women?
Once a diagnosis of gonorrhea infection has been made by your doctor, treatment will follow. The drug of choice used is ceftriaxone. Other drugs can be used but there are increasing resistance to those drugs. They include ampicillin and ciprofloxacin. The drug of choice to treat pregnant women with gonorrhea is ampicillin and ceftriaxone.
However, during culture and sensitivity your doctor will use the most effective drug for your treatment.
In addition, women and men are advised to avoid sex during treatment. Also, you should inform people you had sex with to get tested and treated. This will prevent further spread of gonorrhea infection.
Healthy lifestyle and safe sex is always advised. However, men and women can get reinfected if they do not use condoms or abstain from sex.
People with gonorrhea infection can also have coexisting infection with other sexually transmitted infection. During your testing, your doctor will check for chlamydia, HIV, Syphilis too.
How is gonorrhea prevented?
- Abstinence. This is the best way to prevent any STDs. If you can abstain then u will prevent gonorrhea infection.
- Use condom. This is important because it reduces the transmission of gonorrhea and other STDs.
- Inform your doctor any gonorrhea symptoms for tests and treatments
- Reduce your sex partners or encourage your partner to get tested if you wish to continue with unsafe sex ( though not a good idea)
- If you notice any symptoms, do not have sex with anyone. This will prevent further spread of infection
What is the complication of gonorrhea in men and women?
If no gonorrhea test is done in early disease, it can have long term effects. In pregnancy, it can cause early miscarriage and premature babies. Some other complications are
- Meningitis. It can affect the covering of the brain( meninges)
- Joint pain
- Bartholin abscess
- It can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women which can result to ectopic pregnancy.
- Untreated or poorly treated infection can damage the fallopian tubes with infertility.
- People with gonorrhea infection has an increased chance to contact other STDs like HIV and chlamydia.
- In men, gonorrhea can cause urethral stricture or tightening of the urethra with subsequent difficulty in voiding.
- Gonorrhea infection in men increases chances of prostate cancer.
Frequently asked questions
You asked and we answered? here are some frequently asked gonorrhea questions.
Can gonorrhea be cured?
Yes. with proper culture done, gonorrhea can be treated and cured. Culture alone has a sensitivity of 90 percent. Also, other non invasive tests like NAAT can be done with urine and sample from the lower vagina.
What is the incubation period of gonorrhea?
What is incubation period?. This is the time taken from exposure during sexual contact and when you show the symptoms of the infection. The incubation period of gonorrhea is between 2 to 14 days. However most people will show symptoms between 2 to 5 days of exposure.
Is it possible for gonorrhea and chlamydia infection to occur together?
Yes. Gonorrhea and chlamydia are both sexually transmitted diseases and can occur together. The chances of contacting HIV, trichomoniasis and syphilis increases if you have the infection.
How easy is it to get rid of gonorrhea?
Treatment and cure of gonorrhea is possible. However, people with complicated infection will require longer treatment.
Now its your turn. Do you experience burning sensation after unprotected sex?. Share your experiences, suggestions and questions.