Gonorrhea: General Description

Gonorrhea (aka “the clap”; misspelled as ghonorrea, gonorrea, gonorrhoea, etc.) is a highly contagious sexually transmitted disease, born by bacteria. This disease got its name “the clap”, since in the past the penis would be clapped by both hands in order to clear out the pus.

This method is not used anymore, but the name stuck. The most common symptom of this STD is a thick discharge from the vagina or penis. It infects male and female genitals and female genital tract, but can I break out in the rectum, throat, eyes, blood, skin and joints.

How is Gonorrhea Transmitted?

This STD is transmitted through semen or vaginal fluids, which enter the body of the uninfected person. When no exchange of bodily fluids occurs, no hazard is posed.

Examples of unprotected contact that can result in the exchange of bodily fluids:

  • vaginal or anal sex;
  • oral sex (very rarely)
  • sharing sex toys;
  • touching with fingers (for example, when a person touches private parts and then the mouth);
  • very close physical contact;
  • hand to hand (very rarely);
  • at birth, from the mother to the baby.

Notably, a person cannot not contract gonorrhea from kissing, sharing cups, toilet seats, cutlery, etc.

The incubation period for gonorrhea is from 1 up to 14 days.

What Are the Symptoms of Gonorrhea

Over a half of the women and ten percent of the men who have been infected with gonorrhea are not aware of this fact due to absence of any symptoms.

These are the symptoms that can present:

For women:

  • vaginal discharge of watery or yellow color with a strong odd odor;
  • vaginal bleeding;
  • discharge from the anus or itching;
  • burning or painful sensation during urination;
  • low abdominal pain or tenderness, sometimes accompanied by nausea.

For men:

  • discharge from the penis of white, yellow or green color;
  • discharge from the anus or itching;
  • inflammation of the testicles & prostate gland;
  • pain or burning sensation during the urination.

How to Test for Gonorrhea?

In order to test for gonorrhea, the medical specialist places a swap inside the opening of the urethra. For women, pap smear from the cervix and urethra may also be needed, as well as an internal examination.

Both for men and women, a nurse may examine the genitals for any visible sings of an STD.

Is Gonorrhea Curable?

Gonorrhea is fully treatable and the procedure is very easy, when the STD is handled at an early stage. A single dose of antibiotics may be enough.

It is strongly recommended to test both for gonorrhea and chlamydia, since in half of the cases these two are passed together.

Medication course for gonorrhea:

  • Cipro® XR 500 mg, single dose, or
  • Levaquin® 500 mg, single dose, or
  • Tequin® 400 mg, single dose

Medication course for chlamydia:

  • Doxycycline 100 mg, 2-3 times a day for 10-14 days, or
  • Zithromax® (azithromycin) 1.0 gm, single dose, or
  • Zithromax ® Z-pak® (azithromycin) – 500 mg on day 1, followed by 1 tab (250mg) once a day for 4 more days

In order to avoid any recurrent infection, the sexual partner of the infected person should also undergo the treatment course. The infected person should have no unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex until the infection has been fully cured. After a successfully completed treatment, the STD will not come back, unless reintroduced.

Consequences of leaving gonorrhea untreated

The infection can spread to other body parts, inflicting permanent damage and causing life-threatening complications. It can result in infertility in both men and women, as well as sustaining pain in the low abdomen and irritation.