Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection. This can happen when bacteria from the sexual partner’s penis, anus, vagina or mouth enter any opening in your body. You can find more information below.
What is gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea , also known as gonorrhea , is a sexually transmitted infection that can affect both men and women. Triggers are certain pathogens (bacteria) called gonococci that attach to the mucous membrane of the genitals and multiply there . This bacterium was discovered by dermatologist Albert Neisser in 1879.
The infection can be transmitted during vaginal, oral and anal intercourse, so it is highly recommended for people who have intercourse with changing partners to use condoms.
What is the incidence?
There is no mandatory report for gonorrhea in Turkey, so there is no representative figure on the occurrence of the disease. A reporting requirement has been introduced in Saxony. In 2011, there were 13.7 cases of the disease per 100,000 people. Around the world, people between the ages of 15 and 25 are most affected.
What causes gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is almost always caused by sexual contact. Gonococcal bacteria can invade the mucous membranes of the cervix, urethra, anus, mouth and throat.
They are transmitted through infected mucous membranes through contact with people who do not have gonococci. Other infectious routes are largely overlooked because the gonococcal bacteria die quickly outside the body and this disease only occurs in humans.
The number one risk factor is unprotected sex. The risk of being infected continues to grow due to certain preferences (anal, oral sex) and frequently changing sexual preferences. Therefore, young people are at greater risk.
Many women and men have gonococci but no symptoms. The more sexual partners a person has, the greater the risk of gonorrhea.
Western European studies have found reservoirs of gonococci in the mouth or anus in 5 to 10 out of 100 sex workers. Pathogens are similarly common among gay men.
Who is at risk?
Sexually active women and men younger than 25 are at risk for gonorrhea. Other factors that can increase your risk include:
- have a new partner
- Having a relationship with someone who has other partners
- Having more than one relationship partner
- Have had another sexually transmitted infection such as chlamydia
What are the symptoms of gonorrhea?
Infections in the genital organs are sometimes very mild and do not show any symptoms. When symptoms appear, they are different in men and women. In this case, you can ask yourself the following questions:
- For men: Before you pee in the morning, do you have a yellowish-greenish discharge from your penis?
- For women: Do you have milky vaginal discharge?
- For everyone: Do you feel things like an increased need to urinate and pain or burning when urinating?
If there is this infection in the genitals; It is also accompanied by symptoms such as discharge , urge to urinate, or burning . However, if there are small amounts of bacteria on the genitals, they may not cause any symptoms and there is no treatment as these are often undetected.
People affected by this disease and not receiving treatment are potential carriers of the disease. More often, these bacteria may be present on non-genital sites, but are often undetected. Because most of them have no symptoms.
genital gonorrhea in men
Two to six days after gonorrhea infection, urethritis develops. Urethritis is inflammation of the urethra. This condition is usually manifested by the discharge of yellowish, cloudy pus secretion that appears before the first urination in the morning.
The genitals can sometimes be itchy, red, and inflamed. Also, urination may be painful and sometimes a burning sensation may occur. If the disease progresses, inflammation may occur elsewhere, leading to complications.
genital gonorrhea in women
In women, symptoms are likely to appear about ten days after infection and are usually so mild that the disease goes unnoticed. Experts estimate that two-thirds of all affected women do not notice the infection.
However, an undetected infection may progress and become chronic. The first sign of infection is usually a mild burning sensation when urinating. Pain is rare, but urge to urinate and vaginal discharge may occur.
gonococcal infection of the rectum and throat
Rectal gonorrhea is usually caused by anal intercourse. The vast majority of women do not have symptoms of this infection, but it is common in men. Undetected disease can lead to recurrent infections. In men, inflammation that causes pain and discharge in the breech area may occur when making a large toilet.
Gonorrhea in the throat is usually a condition caused by oral intercourse. The throat area is usually asymptomatic, although the genitals or rectum can also be affected by this condition. If a person has gonococcal bacteria in their mouth, they can be transmitted to people they have sexual contact with.
How is gonorrhea diagnosed?
Suspicion of gonorrhea can be confirmed relatively quickly with a targeted diagnosis. Gonococci can be detected directly from spots of affected areas of the mucous membrane, such as the urethra or cervix:
After a special staining, the bacteria can be seen under the microscope. The evidence comes from growing the pathogens from the smear material in a special nutrient medium (culture). The susceptibility of gonococci to certain antibiotics can also be tested.
Other sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydial infection or syphilis should also be investigated. That’s because 20 to 50 percent of cases have a double infection, meaning concurrent infections with gonococci and other sexually transmitted pathogens.
How is gonorrhea treated?
The course of gonorrhea can be positively affected by the right treatment: If diagnosed and treated early, the prognosis is good and gonorrhea usually resolves without any consequences. Gonorrhea treatment is based on the administration of an antibiotic that works against the gonococcal bacteria .
Some antibiotics that previously promised a successful treatment for gonorrhea have now lost their effectiveness. This is because pathogens have now become resistant to many agents and develop what is called resistance.
The antibiotic, which is effective against gonococci, can be administered intramuscularly, as a tablet or intravenously. Treatment should begin as early as possible to avoid any damage. After treatment, the doctor will conduct another examination to check the success of the treatment.
It is important that sexual partners are examined and treated if necessary, even if they have no complaints. This is the only way to prevent re-infection with gonococcal bacteria.
In principle, you should protect yourself against such infections. The use of condoms during sexual intercourse is useful here. Education of risk groups also plays an important role.
Treatment in adults
Adults with gonorrhea are treated with antibiotics. Because of the resulting drug-resistant gonococcal bacteria, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends treating the uncomplicated infection with an antibiotic given as an injection.
Treatment for spouses
Your partner should also undergo testing and treatment for gonorrhea, even if they have no signs or symptoms. Your partner also receives the same treatment. Even if you have been treated for gonorrhea, an untreated partner can pass it on to you again.
Treatment in babies
Babies born to mothers with the disease and developing the infection can be treated with antibiotics that your doctor will prescribe.
Can gonorrhea be prevented?
To reduce your risk of gonorrhea:
- Use a condom during sexual intercourse: Use a condom during any sexual contact, including anal intercourse, oral intercourse, or normal intercourse.
- Limit the number of sexual partners: A monogamous relationship where your partner does not have sex with anyone but you can reduce your risk.
- Make sure you and your partner are tested for sexually transmitted infections: Test yourself before engaging in sexual intercourse and share your results with each other.
- Do not have intercourse with someone who appears to have a sexually transmitted infection: If your partner has signs of a sexually transmitted infection, such as burning during urination, genital redness or sores, do not have intercourse with that person.
- Get regular gonorrhea screening: Annual screening is recommended for sexually active women under 25 and older women at high risk of infection. This includes women with a new partner, multiple partners.