Sex can be one of the most awesome and one of the most stressful aspects of life, especially if you feel out of control or as though you’re not in touch with your sexual health. Knowledge is powerful, and not having it is equally disempowering. That means, if you want to feel in control and happy about your role in your sexual health, you should learn more about potential diseases and how to combat them today.
On the docket? Gonorrhea, one of the most common and treatable of the sexually transmitted diseases, and yet one for which many people don’t keep an eye out and don’t respond to in time. You can be a part of the solution by knowing which symptoms to watch out for, in both men and women, as well as what to do if you should spot them.
Let’s take a look.
What Is Gonorrhea?
“Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can infect both men and women. It can cause infections in the genitals, rectum, and throat. It is a very common infection, especially among young people ages 15-24 years,” explain the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Anyone who is sexually active can get gonorrhea. Gonorrhea can cause very serious complications when not treated, but can be cured with the right medication.” (1)
The infection is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, a bacteria that “tends to infect warm, moist areas of the body, including the urethra (the tube that drains urine from the urinary bladder), eyes, throat, vagina, anus, [and] female reproductive tract (the fallopian tubes, cervix, and uterus).” (2)
Gonorrhea passes from men to men, women to women, and men to women during sexual activity. This can include oral, vaginal and anal sex, as well as between two people who are only using their hands, and from genitals to the mouth or eyes.
How Common Is It?
According to the CDC, gonorrhea affects more than 1,000 men and 1,200 women aged 15-24 per 100,000 members of the population. (3) That is a lot of people, most of whom do not know they’re infected. The disease does affect some children and elderly, and is also serious in the late 20s, 30s and 40s. For that reason, it’s critical that you remain aware of the symptoms, so you can catch them early.
Gonorrhea Symptoms in Men vs Women
Many of the signs and symptoms are the same in men and women, including (4):
- Painful urination
- Pain or swelling in the genitals
- Abnormal discharge
- Itching in the anus or rectum
- Discharge from the anus
- Conjunctivitis in the eyes
- Sore throat and swollen lymph nodes
Symptoms specific to women include:
- Pain during sex
- Bleeding between periods or after intercourse
- Pain during intercourse
- Abdominal or pelvic pain
- Increased discharge during non-period times of the month
Symptoms specific to men include:
- Pus-like discharge from the tip of the penis
- Pain or swelling in one testicle
Note that gonorrhea is often asymptomatic, which means that you can have it without knowing it. Also, gonorrhea coexists with any number of other sexually transmitted diseases. If you notice symptoms of any kind that are uncomfortable or abnormal, it’s critical you get tested right away. You could have more serious diseases, such as syphilis or HIV, as well as gonorrhea.
How Is Gonorrhea Treated?
Gonorrhea is at least quite treatable (unlike some other STDs). According to the Mayo Clinic, “Adults with gonorrhea are treated with antibiotics. Due to emerging strains of drug-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that uncomplicated gonorrhea be treated only with the antibiotic ceftriaxone — given as an injection — in combination with either azithromycin (Zithromax, Zmax) or doxycycline (Monodox, Vibramycin, others) — two antibiotics that are taken orally.” (5)
Because of the danger of antibiotic resistance, it is extremely important that you follow all directions to the letter in taking antibiotics. Even if you feel better, you must still keep taking the drugs until you have completed the full course.
Why Should You Test?
Testing for gonorrhea can help you avoid the serious consequences that may develop if you wait too long, including (6):
- Infertility in both men and women
- Infection that spreads to the joints of the body, resulting in swelling and stiffness
- Infection of the bloodstream, which can result in rash, fever, sores on the skin and more
- Increased risk of HIV and AIDS
- Complications in babies born through vaginal delivery to mothers with gonorrhea, which can get in their eyes, causing blindness, as well as on their scalp and inside their bodies
Sadly, looking for STDs is also one of the best ways to identify sexual abuse in children and minors, which is why as a parent you should always be aware of what the disease looks like.
Unfortunately, many people hate the idea of testing for STDs, especially if it involves going into a doctor’s office. For this reason, many people don’t get tested even though they should. The result is more people spreading the infection every year, in a silent epidemic with no end in sight … unless we start getting out in front of the disease with constant testing.
The good news is, it’s now more possible than ever to do this right in the comfort and privacy of your own home.
How Does a Home Test Kit Work?
Home test kits are simple to use and totally discreet, so you can stay up to date on your sexual health without alerting your primary care or sexual health providers unless absolutely necessary. You can also avoid the expense and hassle of appointments, save money and avoid dealing with insurance companies.
All you have to do is order your iDNA kit through the mail, follow the instructions to collect your sample, and send it back through the mail for your results. The friendly team here at iDNA is here to help you at every step of the way, whether you have a question about sample collection, registration or anything else. Best of all, you can test as often as you want to, so that you can respond to each new sexual encounter in the smartest way possible. This way, you not only protect yourself, you protect current and future partners as well.
Ready to take control of your sexual health? We’re ready to help. Get in touch with us today to learn more about or order your iDNA kit.
(1) Gonorrhea - CDC Fact Sheet. (2014). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/std/gonorrhea/stdfact-gonorrhea.htm
(2) Gonorrhea. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/gonorrhea
(3) Gonorrhea Statistics. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/std/gonorrhea/stats.htm
(4) Gonorrhea. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gonorrhea/symptoms-causes/syc-20351774
(5) Gonorrhea. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gonorrhea/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351780
(6) Gonorrhea. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gonorrhea/symptoms-causes/syc-20351774