The Centers for Disease Control or CDC has seen a surprising annual rise of around 600,000 cases in the US alone and this is quite alarming given the outreach of health centers, organizations, and hospitals to educate the general public about the devastation STDs can do to the human body. Another recent finding by the CDC is that, in general, women who have been found to be infected with gonorrhea also have Chlamydia as well. With this latest scenario, CDC has recommended that for every woman diagnosed with gonorrhea, treatments should also include the ones used in Chlamydia.
The bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhea causes the gonorrhea infection which in slang language is referred to as ‘the clap’. The natural habitats of the bacteria in the body of an infected individual are the moist parts such as the throat, vagina, eyes, rectum, and penis. Any contacts such as touching with any of these body parts are one of the ways to transmit the infection as well as sexual intercourse. The infection can also be passed on by an infected mother to her newborn if she already had the disease during pregnancy.
The prevalent age to contract the infection is between 15-30 years old though it can affect any age of any sexually active person. If a woman has sex with an infected male, she has a 60-90% chance of getting the infection compared to the 30-50% chance of a male acquiring this particular disease from an infected female.
There is a dramatic difference in the signs and symptoms of gonorrhea between men and women. For women, it is very unfortunate that most of the time the infection is asymptomatic, yet could bring lifetime damage to the uterus and fallopian tubes which could cause infertility. For some women showing symptoms, it could range from abnormal bleeding, burning sensation during urination to vaginal discharges, and irritation to the outer part of the vagina.
For men, the symptoms are more visible which may include pus-like yellow colored discharges from the penis, swollen lymph nodes in the groin and armpit, and frequency of urination accompanied by a stinging sensation.
If the infection affects the throat or rectum, the symptoms would be pain and swelling with frequent discharges.
Gonorrhea could be cured using several treatments. Doxycycline 100mg can be orally taken two times a day for a period of 1 week. Ofloxacin 400mg combined with Azithromycin 1g, single dose, taken orally is another option. Other single dose drugs taken orally which can help clear gonorrhea are Cefixime 400mg and Ciprofloxacin 500mg. Drugs can also be given as a single deep intramuscular injection such as Ceftriaxone 125mg. Some people may have allergic reactions to these antibiotics in which case alternative drugs are recommended by a doctor.
The best treatment for gonorrhea or any other STDs is prevention. Preventive measures are abstinence, safe sex practices such as using a protective barrier like a condom, and a monogamous relationship with a non-infected partner. Yet, should you find yourself infected, the only alternative is to have yourself treated soonest as possible.