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Gonorrhea: What you need to know

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can be transferred via any type of sexual interaction. When a doctor discovers the problem early on, it is typically possible to treat it successfully. However, if gonorrhea is left untreated, it can lead to long-term issues.

In 2017, 555,608 cases of gonorrhea were diagnosed in the United States.

Because gonorrhea is a notifiable disease, all diagnoses must be reported to the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System. Health authorities can use this data to create treatment and preventative measures.

Treatment for gonorrhea is typically simple, but delaying treatment can lead to significant, and possibly permanent, problems. When gonorrhea affects the uterus or fallopian tubes, for example, females get pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). It has the potential to cause infertility.

Epididymitis, an inflammation of the tube that delivers sperm, is a possible complication in males with gonorrhea. Infertility can occur as a result of this as well.

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Gongorrhea is caused by the bacterium N. gonorrhoeae. The infection can develop in any of the body’s mucous membranes, including those in the genitals, mouth, throat, eyes, and rectum, because these bacteria flourish in warm, wet settings.

Sexual contact involving the penis, vagina, anus, or mouth can spread gonorrhea from one person to the next. To transfer or get gonorrhea, males do not need to ejaculate.

It can also be passed from mother to child following birth.

Gonorrhea can affect anybody who engages in sexual activity. It is most common among teens and young adults in the United States.


There are a lot of serious consequences associated with gonorrhea. As a result, it is important to get therapy as soon as possible.

In women, gonorrhea can cause:


  • infertility
  • chronic pelvic pain
  • ectopic pregnancy, which can be a medical emergency

During pregnancy and delivery, the infection might cause more problems. It causes the risk of premature labor or stillbirth if not treated.

Gonorrhea can also be passed on to the infant, who may get a joint infection, eyesight loss, or bacteremia, a potentially fatal blood infection.

In men, gonorrhea can induce epididymitis, which can cause reproductive issues.

Untreated gonorrhea can result in a disseminated gonococcal infection in anybody. It’s possible that this will put your life in jeopardy. The following are some of the indications and symptoms:

  • inflammation and swelling around the tendons
  • dermatitis, which usually involves a rash or itchy, dry skin
  • a fever
  • arthritis

People who have gonorrhea are more likely to get or spread HIV. One explanation is that any illness can result in open sores, making viruses and bacteria more easily enter the body.


Anyone who has gonorrhea has to be treated in order to prevent the illness from spreading. Antibiotics are usually used in the therapy.

It will not be able to fix any difficulties created by the infection, thus it is important to get treatment as soon as possible.

A single dosage of 250 milligrams of intramuscular ceftriaxone (Rocephin) plus 1 gram of oral azithromycin (Zithromax) is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) . Antibiotics come in a variety of forms.

The CDC advises people to take all of their medication as prescribed by their doctor and not to share it with anyone else.

However, the bacterium that causes gonorrhea, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, has evolved resistance to almost all of the medicines that have traditionally been used to treat it.

As a result of this resistance, gonorrhea is becoming increasingly difficult to cure. If a person’s symptoms do not improve after a few days, they should contact their healthcare professional. It’s possible that they’ll require more testing to see if the treatment is effective.

Attend any follow-up appointments and wait until a healthcare practitioner indicates it is safe to do so before having sex.

It is critical to notify your healthcare provider if you have gonorrhea while pregnant. Because the illness might spread to the infant following birth, antibiotics are normally prescribed straight soon for the newborn.

Conjunctivitis affects certain babies, and gonorrhea is one probable reason. Red eyes, thick pus in the eyes, and puffy eyelids are common symptoms that develop 2–4 days after delivery.

If any of these symptoms appear, get medical help right once. They can also be caused by a more serious condition like meningitis or bacteremia.


There are several ways to avoid gonorrhea, including:

  • using condoms or dental dams during oral intercourse
  • only having sexual activity with a mutually monogamous partner who does not have the infection
  • avoiding sexual activity if there is the possibility of infection
  • using a barrier method of protection, such as condoms, during vaginal or anal intercourse



Chukwuebuka Martins

Chukwuebuka Martins is a writer, researcher, and health enthusiast who specializes in human physiology. He takes great pleasure in penning informative articles on many aspects of physical wellness, which he then thoroughly enjoys sharing to the general public.