Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are prevalent and can impact people of any age, gender, socioeconomic background, or level of education. One such STD is Gonorrhoea.
Gonorrhoea is a bacterial infection that spreads via sexual contact, often transmitted via oral, vaginal, or anal intercourse. It can affect both males and females and typically manifests in the urethra, rectum, or throat. The gonorrhoea virus may also infect the cervix in females.
Gonorrhoea: Causes & Transmission
Neisseria gonorrhoea, the bacteria responsible for causing gonococcal infection, are often present in the discharge from the vagina or penis.
It is transmitted quite easily from person to person because of various reasons. The germs can infect the cervix, the urethra, the rectum, and, less frequently, the throat and the eyes.
For starters, vibrators and other sex objects that are shared vaginally, orally, or anally without being cleaned between uses, or covered with a new condom, might spread disease.
The mother-to-child transmission rate is high for this illness. Pregnant women who suspect they have gonorrhoea should get tested as soon as possible so they may begin treatment before their baby is born. It is crucial because an infant with untreated gonorrhoea risks developing lifelong vision loss.
Moreover, you are more likely to get gonorrhoea again if you’ve had it previously. Going untreated for gonorrhoea raises the likelihood of acquiring more sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Therefore, it’s highly recommended to complete the entire treatment.
Gonorrhoea: Signs & Symptoms
Women may exhibit a variety of symptoms such as:
- Itching, stinging or burning sensations during urine
- Vaginal discharge rate increase
- Continual spotting or spotting after sexual activity Vaginal discomfort or irritation
- Anxiety or distress during sexual activity
- Increased or sudden desire to urinate
- Sore, bleeding, or itchy genitalia
- Nausea, vomiting, stomach discomfort, rashes, and joint swelling or pain
- Inflamed throat
- Ocular irritation or redness
However, you should absolutely visit a healthcare professional if you have any unusual signs or symptoms, such as pain or discomfort during urination or a pus-like discharge from your vagina or rectum.
Moreover, if your spouse has been diagnosed with gonorrhoea, you should also schedule an appointment with your doctor. It’s possible you won’t feel sick enough to go to the doctor. However, if you don’t get treatment, you can re-infect your partner, even if they’ve had gonorrhoea therapy.
The most effective strategies for avoiding the spread of STDs include:
- Abstinence from sexual activity.
- Using condoms if sexual activity is planned.
- Having monogamous relationships between partners.
Avoiding all forms of intercourse, including vaginal, anal, and oral, is the only surefire strategy to avoid contracting gonorrhoea. However, since most individuals want to experience sex at least once in their lifetimes, that may be an unachievable goal.
- You may reduce your chances of contracting the disease and maintaining your sexual health by taking certain precautions:
- You can lower your gonorrhoea risk by having fewer sexual partners.
- Not engaging in sexual activity until you have completed your course of therapy (if you are currently being treated for gonorrhoea)
- Participating in sexual activity (whether vaginal or anal) while using a condom
- Before being used by someone else, sex toys should be washed thoroughly.
Pain in the pelvis, lower abdomen, or lower back may be the only sign of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women who have not had their gonorrhoea treated. PID can cause these complications if not treated:
- Extreme Pelvic Discomfort
- Ectopic pregnancy (when a fertilised egg implants anywhere except the uterus, such pregnancy known as ectopic pregnancy can develop. This can cause complications including miscarriage or internal bleeding.)
What Happens If Gonococcal Infection Spreads Throughout the Body?
Disseminated gonococcal infection, or systemic gonorrhoea, occurs when the genital staph bacteria invade other body parts (DGI). Skin rash, fever, and joint or tendon discomfort are frequent symptoms of DGI. In later stages of DGI, the bacteria penetrate the joint space directly, resulting in infectious or septic arthritis.
Gonorrhoea testing is taking a sample from the suspected infected area (cervix, throat or rectum) and culturing (growing) or sequencing the bacteria to determine their exact identity in a lab setting. Sometimes, despite the woman’s illness, the tests might not detect bacteria due to sampling mistakes or other technical issues.
DNA probes or amplification methods (such as polymerase chain reaction or PCR) are used in modern gonorrhoea diagnostic procedures to isolate bacterial DNA. While these exams are more costly than culture-based ones, they usually provide findings faster.
The bacteria that cause gonorrhoea can only thrive in specific environments, making it one of the simpler STIs to avoid. Using condoms is a preventative measure against sexually transmitted diseases. Oral-genital contact is also a risk, as the bacteria may survive in the throat.
Uncomplicated gonorrhoea therapy used to be less complicated. Almost everyone sick might be treated with just one penicillin shot.
Unfortunately, certain novel gonorrhoea strains have emerged that are resistant to several medicines, including penicillins, and are consequently more challenging to treat.
The good news is that gonorrhoea may be treated with various drugs, both injectable and oral.
- A single dosage of ceftriaxone intramuscularly or cefixime (Suprax) orally is sufficient to treat uncomplicated gonococcal infections of the cervix, urethra, and rectum.
- A single intramuscular (IM) dosage of ceftriaxone is the standard of care for treating pharyngeal infections caused by non-resistant strains of the genus Gonococcus.
- Single intramuscular (IM) doses of cephalosporins (ceftizoxime or cefoxitin, administered with probenecid (Benemid) or cefotaxime) are alternatives for treating uncomplicated gonococcal infections of the cervix, urethra, and rectum in nonpregnant women.
Due to the high prevalence of co-occurrence of chlamydia and gonorrhoea, treatment should always include drugs effective against both infections. Examples of such drugs are azithromycin (Zithromax) and doxycycline (Vibramycin, Oracea, Adoxa, Atridox, and others).
If a woman has gonorrhoea or chlamydia, her sexual partner should be treated for both illnesses since she may have spread both. The reinfection of the lady can be avoided by treating her sexual partners as well.
Women with PID need more vital medication that can kill off both the gonorrhoea bacteria and any other microbes they may be exposed to. These females frequently require hospitalisation and antibiotics given via IV.
Doxycycline is a recommended medication for treating PID, although pregnant women should not use it.
Since it is one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted diseases, it’s not a big challenge to treat Gonorrhea. However, it’s essential to reach out to your doctor if you notice anything odd and stick to the treatment plan for the set duration.