The rules surrounding sex and all things related to relationships have become ambiguously brazen today – that is until the moment one catches an STD. Not a laughing matter, sexually transmitted diseases are extremely common but also do not need to be stigmatized as often as they are.
Sex is an important aspect of healthy relationships and all things coupling. Sometimes though, infectious and highly contagious diseases are transmitted from one individual to another and can become a serious condition if not diagnosed and treated in time.
Some common sexually transmitted diseases are herpes, chlamydia, syphilis, trichomoniasis, human papilloma virus (HPV), crabs or pubic lice, hepatitis, chancroid, scabies, HIV/aids, mycoplasma genitalium, bacterial vaginosis (BV) and the one in topic, gonorrhea.
Gonorrhea is a STD contracted while having intercourse with an infected person. Also popularly known as ‘clap’ or ‘drip’, it is a common bacterial infection that usually attacks mucous membranes. Often curable by antibiotics, if persistent can lead to more serious health problems. Monocef O is popular anti-bacterial medicine that stops gonorrhea bacteria from spreading.
Transmitted during anal, vaginal and oral sex, gonorrhea is at a risk when the following actions occur;
- Younger age – People ages 25 and under who are sexually active, are at a higher risk of getting contaminated
- Having had other STD’s including gonorrhea in the past
- Irregular and inconsistent use of condoms
- Multiple sex partners
- From an infected mother to her child
- Men who have sexual contact with other men
Not often visible, symptoms arise anywhere between one to ten days after contraction. Quite often, symptoms do not show up for months and people have known to have gone on with their lives while infected for over a year! However, if you do notice the following signs and symptoms, it is important to take the necessary action.
Common Signs In Women
- Pain in the pelvic region
- Swelling of the vulva
- Irregular bleeding outside of monthly menstrual cycle
- Burning sensation during urination
- Bleeding after sexual intercourse
- Abnormal vaginal discharge which may be yellow in color or bloody
- Frequent need to urinate
- Sore throat
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- High temperature
- Sharp pain in the lower abdomen area
Common Signs In Men
- When there is pain during urination
- Yellow, white, beige or green discharge from the penis. This term is called dysuria
- Testicular pain
- Itching in and around the anus
- Swelling in the testicles
- Pain during bowel movements
- Redness at the opening of the penis
- Sore throat
There are two types of Gonorrhea – Pharyngeal (throat) and Rectal. While the former causes a mild sore throat, the latter manifests with signs of itchiness, pain during bowel movement and discomfort. Sometimes, the infection can spread to the eye as well causing conjunctivitis, more popularly known as pink eye.
Usually, antibiotics can cure mild cases in as little as seven days but if the symptoms are persistent, and left untreated, can cause epididymitis in men and pelvic inflammatory disease in women. Both of these can lead to infertility. Not very commonly, but other serious issues like meningitis, disseminated gonococcal infection (PID) among others can occur.
Sometimes, new born babies can get infected during birth and develop an eye infection called opthalmianeonatorum which can lead to blindness, blood infections and joint infections along with other serious complications if ignored.
Going to a doctor is highly advised when symptoms are relentless, painful and unbearable at some stage. Where in most physicians have fairly easy testing methods, discussing freely and openly is mandatory to avoid a misdiagnosis. Treatments of a more pressing case are;
- Gram Staining – A traditional form of diagnosis in which different dyes are employed to differentiate bacteria under the microscope. However, this procedure is more definitive in men rather than women.
- Bacterial Cultures – These are cultures which can be used to diagnose gonorrhea of the rectum, genitals, eyes and throat. Even though cultures are useful, they are specialized non-automated tests that can show errors due to mistakes conducted in the lab or even while taking the sample.
- Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) – NAAT is a genetic test which is fast and accurate but only in cases of uncomplicated gonorrhea of the vagina or cervix. It is not recommended for throat or rectal infections.
Even if the thought of contracting gonorrhea is unsettling and embarrassing, it should not hinder the process of taking the necessary treatments. As is the case with doctor-patient privilege, the tests can be done with full confidentiality rights and the results are speedy. It takes 2-3 days for the results to come back in. The earlier the diagnosis, the earlier the treatment and you are soon disease free.
Also, in fear of being infected, avoiding sex completely is not a healthy option either. With the right practices and preventive and precautionary measures, enjoying a healthy sex life is achievable and should not be staved off.