Gonorrhea is the second most common STD in the human race only next to Chlamydia. It’s the result of the infection by bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
The spread of this sexually transmitted disease is enormous. In US alone there are 700,000 fresh cases every year as per the official report. The actual cases are most likely to be quite more than that as many STD cases go unreported. The estimation of the cases of Gonorrhea as per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms this trend.
Gonorrhea is caused by a direct or intimate sexual contact with an infected person. That’s why it’s also called a venereal disease or VD. The word “venereal” comes from the Latin word “Veneris” which refers to the Greek God of love. Since 1990, the general term “VD” is replaced with more meaningful terms such as STD or STI to describe infections caused as a direct result of sexual contact.
The name of this disease comes from one of its most visible symptoms; a semi-transparent white discharge from the urethra, mostly painless. The specific term “Gonorrhea” is a refinement of Latin word “Gonorrhoea” where “Gonos” means seed or semen, and “Rhoe” means flow or discharge.
Infections by bacteria generally cause localized infections and the bacteria reside locally in the body fluids. Bacteria are organisms with one cell. They are microscopic and hardly a few microns in size. A single bacterium consists of DNA, cytoplasm, cell membrane, cell wall, and capsule. It has the structures needed for independent metabolism and reproduction (they are asexual).
How can you catch Gonorrhea?
When somebody is infected with Gonorrhea, the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria is available in the mucous of the sex organs. He/she transmits the bacteria to the sex partner during intimate sexual contact when the mucous or mucous membranes come in contact with one another. So, the bacteria can potentially infect during vaginal, oral, and anal sex. Unprotected sex is an invitation to such killer infections.
In cases of oral sex, the bacteria in the genital/saliva of the infected person can transmit to that of the non-infected person. In such cases, the bacteria infect the oral cavity and causes “oral Gonorrhea” or “Gonorrhea of mouth.” It affects the mouth, soft palate, tongue, and throat. Every year there are many such cases of gonorrhea oral infections reported.
Any sexually active person can get infected. Infections are very high among teenagers and young adults between the ages of 15 and 30. They are impulsive and indulge in frequent sex but without sufficient protection. People who had been treated for gonorrhea in the past have very little immunity against the bacteria.
Gonorrhea can infect an infant during vaginal birth if the mother is infected. It infects the eyes, mouth and the general health of a child. At times, if not treated properly this infection can be fatal. Many cases of infant mortalities can be attributed to this infection alone. If this STI is allowed to remain without treatment, it can cause bone and organ deformation, blindness, meningitis, encephalitis, and even death.
Gonorrhea symptoms can indicate the presence of the bacteria but can’t confirm it. A NAAT test is the only way to confirm a possible infection. It’s curable as any other bacterial infection, but the treatment has to be timely. In adults, gonorrhea is treated with antibiotics. It could be oral pills or through an injection. To decide the course of your treatment first gets a gonorrhea urine test done. After confirmation of an infection consult an authorized medical practitioner to get a prescription.
Prevention of Gonorrhea
Abstinence can be the only absolute method of preventing gonorrhea but it’s not possible. 🙂 A monogamous relationship is more prudent to reduce your risk of an infection. Use condoms when you have sex with a partner of unknown sexual history. You and your partner should make it a habit to get tested for the STDs if you are at increased risk.