Gonorrhea is an infection transmitted sexually that affects both men and women. It is caused by infection with the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria. Men with gonorrhea will often experience a burning sensation during urination, and there may be white, yellow or green discharge from the penis, as well as possible swelling of the testicles. For women, there is an increase in vaginal discharge and bleeding between periods, as well as pain during urination. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the rectum can also be infected in both men and women, resulting in colored discharge, anal itching, soreness, bleeding and painful bowel movements.
Gonorrhea spreads from one infected person to another when the two people engage in unprotected sex, be it vaginal, oral or anal sex. Transmission also occurs when sex toys, such as vibrators, are shared without being cleaned or otherwise covered with a condom or other external protection. According to the American Sexual Health Association (ASHA), transmission of gonorrhea occurs even when the mucosa, the soft skin covering all the openings of the body including the vagina and anus, comes into contact with the secretions of the mucous membrane of an infected person, such as vaginal fluid or sperm. Even women who have not had anal intercourse can contract gonorrhea through the anus or rectum,
Although rates of gonorrhea infections remain on the rise, there are relatively few deaths reported from the disease, especially in the developed world. A new threat came in 2012, when the CDC reported a new strain of Gonorrhea that had developed and was resistant to antibiotics and other currently available treatments. If left untreated for men, according to ASHA, gonorrhea can cause inflammation of the prostate gland and epididymis, infertility and scarring of the urethra, resulting in narrowing or even complete closure. For women, if left untreated, it can lead to a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease, definitive infertility, chronic menstrual difficulties, urinary inflammation and increased
Every year, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that there are 100 million cases of gonorrhea infections. Being a sexually transmitted disease, its prevalence is not specific to the position. It can happen anywhere in the world where infected people engage in risky sexual activities. According to the UK National Health Service, 1 in men 10 and almost half of infected women show no significant symptoms. As such, the disease can advance to chronic levels without control. According to a study published by the Austin Community College, gonorrhea most commonly affects men and women aged 15 to 29.
Current anti-Gonorrhea antibiotic treatments recommended by the CDC include cefixime, ceftriaxone and cephalosporin. These antibiotics are widely available in many developing countries. However, an effective vaccine for the disease has not yet been developed. The CDC studies report that the new strains of Gonorrhea mentioned above are developing resistance to treatment, which leads to recommending increased dosage levels of antibiotics. However, with the new gonorrheal strains continuing to creep in, World Health Organization projects that manage the spread of infection will become increasingly problematic. According to ASHA, the safest preventive measures, in addition to sexual abstinence, are monogamy and the correct use of condoms.