Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a bacteria (Neisseria gonorrheae). It used to be known as “the clap”. Sexually active people can get gonorrhea through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex. The most frequent symptoms in men are painful urination and penile discharge. A urine or swab test is useful to diagnose gonorrhoea. Antibiotic treatment is the only way of cure. To underestimate or to leave gonorrhoea untreated may lead to chronic complications. Gonorrhoea infection does not develop a specific immunity so that when further exposed, people can catch it again.
It is hard that the bacteria survive outside the human body for long. For this reason, the infection is possible only during direct and intimate contact. People can be infected while having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has gonorrhea. Since this STD is so common, especially in young people, the probability of getting infected during casual sex is high. Gonorrhoea can also spread from a pregnant infected woman to her baby during childbirth. The infection is not possible when only kissing, hugging, or using swimming pools, toilet seats, sharing baths, towels, cups, plates, or cutlery.
The urethral swab is the test to diagnose gonorrhoea. However, it is essential to get tested as soon as possible because gonorrhoea can lead to more serious long-term health problems if it is not treated, including infertility.
A single injection and a single tablet of antibiotic usually do treat gonorrhea. Most of the symptoms should improve within a few days.
The urologist recommends a follow-up appointment after treatment, so he can carry out another diagnostic test to see if the treatment effect did eradicate the infection.
The patient should avoid any sexual activity until the infection has cleared.
The prevention of gonorrhoea and other STIs can be successful when using protective barriers like condoms. In general, people must avoid any direct contact between genital mucosae. Since we expect the asymptomatic infection in the healthy, sexually active population, casual unprotected sex is definitely unsafe. When considering changing partner, the new stable couple should get checked for gonorrhea and other STDs.
We recommend getting tested if:
It is highly recommended to have a urology consultation when there are symptoms or in case of any suspicion of being infected. Leaving gonorrhea untreated is dangerous and the risk of severe complications is high.
More interesting contents at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.