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Facts About Gonorrhea

Return to Gonorrhea articles

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year in the United States nearly 700,000 people become infected with gonorrhea.

Knowing your STD status is important not only for your own sexual health, but for the health of your partner as well.

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease originating from a bacterium called Neisseria gonorrhea. This bacterium thrives and grows in warm moist areas like those of the reproductive tract. In women, infection can occur in the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes and urethra. In men, the most common entrance is through the urethra. For both men and women, the bacterium can also infect the anus, eyes, throat and mouth.

Ejaculation is not necessary for spreading the infection to a partner. Transmission of the bacterium can happen simply by having direct sexual contact – anal, oral or vaginally.

Like many STDs, gonorrhea does not always produce signs and symptoms which can be troublesome for detecting and treating this infectious disease. When caught early, gonorrhea is typically easy to cure with antibiotics, though more and more antibiotic resistant strains are continuing to appear. While not always present, symptoms will commonly start within 30 days of becoming infected, typically 2 to 10 days after exposure.

Symptoms in men
– burning sensation during urination
– white, yellow of green discharge from the penis
– swelling or pain of the testicles

Symptoms in women (often mild/or nonexistent)
– painful burning sensation when urinating
– increased vaginal discharge
– vaginal bleeding between periods

Symptoms of rectal infection in both men and women
– discharge
– anal itching
– soreness
– bleeding
– painful bowel movements

A sore throat may also be an indicator of a gonorrhea throat infection.

Outlook for treatment:
Fortunately the outlook for treatment is good as long as the diagnosis is made before any damage occurs to the reproductive organs, especially in women. After that, the infection can be cured with antibiotics but the damage cannot be reversed. It’s becoming slightly more challenging to treat gonorrhea since more and more drug-resistant strains are popping up. Early detection is key to maintaining a healthy reproductive tract.