GONORRHEASexually Transmitted Disease
GONORRHEA is among the ‘Popular’ sexual infection we see in our std screening & treatment clinic. Arguably ranked as the 2nd most common sexually transmitted disease (STD). Similar to chlamydia, it is caused by BACTERIA. However, the bacteria (Neisseria gonorrhoeae) is ‘stronger’ species compared to chlamydia, hence it is treated with rather ‘stronger’ antibiotic. I purposely mentioned on chlamydia here because these 2 diseases are ‘Very Good Friends’. Both of the infections quite commonly occur together, spread in the same way and have almost similar presentation.
How Gonorrhea Spread?
Sexual contact is the most common transmission of infection. The bacteria ‘lives’ in internal surface of sexual organ (organs’ mucosa) where it breeds and causes damage to the organs. When sexual contact occur, the bacteria gets transferred to the partner. Other than sex, it can also spread to newborn during delivery through birth canal. This will occur when mother is not treated.
Gonorrhea Signs & Symptoms?
Symptoms are most likely occur After 2 Weeks, when the bacteria have grown larger in numbers 75% Infected Men experience Painful (and also frequent) Urination and have Sticky Fluid (discharge) in the urine, which may look whitish or pus-like.
Many Women however failed to noticed that they have gonorrhea until later stage. They will feel burning sensasation during urination and having too much vaginal discharge. This discharge can be flooding into the anus and cause anus infection as well.
In later stage, women might have bleeding from vagina which may be mistaken as period. This is very dangerous because the bacteria can gain access into blood vessels and able to infect other organs in the body such as brain and heart. Therefore, women, although may feel the symptoms not as painful as men, have 3 times more risk of having deadly complications.
Other symptoms can also include: arthralgia (joint pain with rash and fever) and pharyngitis or throat infection (especially when oral sex was involved).
Risk Factor for Gonorrhea Infection.
While Unprotected Sex are single most evident risk factor in spread of any sexually transmitted disease, it is more likely to be had by this group : Unmarried Adolescent with Multiple Sexual Partner and past history of sexually transmitted disease.
Therefore, it is important to know the sexual history of your partner. However, it is a must to use condom consistently as your partner might now know that they are infected as well.
Screening for all sexually transmitted disease are COMPULSORY for Pregnant Mothers in Malaysia and many countries in the world. However, if you encountered sexual relation with multiple partners or just had a new sex partner, not consistent with condom use and have a partner just diagnosed with sexually transmitted infection, it is wise to get screened, even when you don’t think you have the symptoms.
If you have the symptoms, it is more critical to get check-up immediately.
In check-up, after getting to know your symptoms and organ examination, doctors usually will take
samples to check for presence of the bacteria. This is important to know because your antibiotic
should match the bacteria that causing you the problem
It is best if you can visit the doctor and give your first morning urine sample as this is more
accurate. Doctor will also need to take the discharge and blood samples.
The samples will be send to lab to see whether it contain the gonorrhea bacteria or other bacteria species as well. It will take a few days to get results.
Meanwhile, AVOID from having sex until you are Certified ‘Clean’ (no gonorrhea infection).
If the test came out Positive, make sure your partner get checked and treated as well because he/she is most likely to get it too.
You may also be asked to get tested for HIV and Syphillis as these diseases can occur together
with gonorrhea. Both are deadly (and it is worth checking while you still can).
For Gonorrhea, Antibiotic can be given in form of Injection (Cephalosporin Group). Usually it will be injected into muscles at buttocks or shoulder.
Alternatively, doctor may prescribe a course of Oral Antibiotic.
Most of the time, you will receive 2nd type of antibiotic as well for treatment of Chlamydia infection as they commonly happened together. The combined antibiotic (Macrolide Group) for chlamydia is required to be taken daily for at least 7-10 days.
It is important to FINISH ALL ANTIBIOTICS according to your doctor, as the bacteria need to be completely ‘destroyed’ or else it will come back to bite you in the ass (or scientifically speaking it will grow stronger and the subsequent treatment will most likely to fail).
After completing the antibiotics, it is important to RE-CHECK YOUR STATUS of infection and certified yourself completely ‘clean’. However, if you got yourselves into severe type of gonorrhea, where it already spread to fallopian tube, blooodstream, heart or brain, you will definitely need to be hospitalized as it can cause death.
Prevention – Easy to remember. Use condom.
Avoid unsafe sex (including oral and anal sex, cunnilingus and one night stand). Regular screening for infection!