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Gonorrhea, is a common STD caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It is found in the mucous membranes of the vagina, urethra, throat, mouth and anus.  The bacteria grows and multiples in the warm moist areas of the body. Gonorrhea is primarily spread through sexual contact (vaginal, oral, or anal). Ejaculation does not have to occur for gonorrhea to be transmitted or acquired. Gonorrhea can also spread through contact with infected discharge on clothing, towels, sheets etc. and from mother to child during birth. This infection is treatable and curable if detected early.

The early symptoms of gonorrhea are often mild, and many women who are infected have no symptoms of infection. Symptoms develop about 1-2 weeks after infection and they are:-

In Men

•   A pain or burning sensation when urinating.
•   A yellowish white discharge or pus from the penis.
  • Painful or swollen testicles.
  • Painful sore throat.
  • Pus containing discharge from the anus with pain and inflammation of the rectum.

In Women

  • Vaginal discharge green or yellow green in colour.
  • Pain or burning sensation when urinating
  • Inflammation of the rectum causing discharge, anal itching, painful bowel movements and bleeding. 
  • Sore throat in case of oral sex

Adverse effects
Untreated gonorrhea can cause serious and permanent problems in both women and men.
Women with no or mild gonorrhea symptoms are still at risk of developing serious complications from the infection. Untreated gonorrhea in women can develop into pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in which the fallopian tube may be damaged leading to infertility and increase the risk of future ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.  Oral sex can result in infection and inflammation of the throat and anal sex in the infection or inflammation of rectal tissues. Gonorrhea can spread to near by organs and glands especially the prostate and testes in men affecting fertility. Further complications in untreated gonorrhea are inflammation of the joints, heart valves, eyes (conjunctivitis) and septicaemia (blood poisoning). In pregnancy, gonorrhea can cause miscarriage or tubal infection in the early months. From an infected mother, an infant can get gonorrhea causing blindness at birth.

Several laboratory tests are available to diagnose gonorrhea. A sample of fluid from the infected mucus membrane (cervix, urethra, rectum, or throat) is taken and send to the laboratory for analysis. Pelvic examination may be carried out to ascertain if there is other damages. Gonorrhea that is present in the male or female genital tract can be diagnosed in a laboratory by using a urine specimen from an infected person. A quick laboratory test for gonorrhea that can be done in the clinic or doctor’s office is a Gram stain. The Gram stain allows the doctor to see the gonorrhea bacteria under a microscope. This test works better for men than for women. Persons with gonorrhea should also be screened for other STDs like syphilis.

Treatment with antibiotics is effective against gonorrhea. One very large dose of Penicillin or tetracycline are commonly used, however some strains of gonorrhea have developed resistance to these treatments and other drugs such as ceftriaxone or spectinomycin may also be used. Often Chlamydia and gonorrhea occur simultaneously and are treated together. 

It is important to take the complete course of medication prescribed to cure gonorrhea, even if the symptoms or signs stop, before all the medication is over. Although medication will stop the infection, it will not repair any permanent damage done by the disease. 
Individuals who have had gonorrhea and received treatment may get infected again if they have sexual contact with persons infected with gonorrhea. Follow up tests are carried out weekly for a month to ensure that the disease has been eradicated and all sexual contacts should be avoided until this is confirmed.

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