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Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease caused by bacteria. It is transferred by having unprotected sex (oral, anal, vaginal) with an infected person.

The symptoms show up 7-21 days after contact. Generally these will depend on the site where the bacteria is incubating. If it was transmitted via vaginal sex, the bacteria will incubate in the reproductive tract. The symptoms for men include difficulty passing urine, flank pain and an off-white discharge from the penis. It’s what usually gets men to go to the doctor.

For women, the symptoms are so mild they hardly get noticed. But in some severe cases, if Gonorrhea was transmitted vaginally or rectally, it can cause pain during sex, fever, lower abdominal pain, thick vaginal discharge, bleeding in between periods, and rectal itching.

If it was transmitted via oral sex, it will incubate in the mouth. This is called Pharyngeal Gonorrhea and will present as a sore throat. Yes, a simple sore throat can be a marker for Gonorrhea.

Testing for this disease includes swabbing, urinalysis and a gram stain. Swabbing is taking a sample of the tissue in the area that could be infected. Swab samples can be taken from the throat (on the tonsils and on the back of the throat), from the vagina (on the cervix and on the urethra) and from the penis.

The sample is then looked at under a microscope. A positive test indicates the presence of the bacteria.

With urinalysis, one has to submit a urine sample for testing. The medical technologists will also screen for the bacteria. A positive test indicates the presence of Gonorrhea.

The Gram–Stain testing involves taking a sample of body fluid from the cervix or the penis and putting it on a slide. The doctor then puts a dye on it and examines it under a microscope. A positive test indicates the presence of the bacteria.

The treatment for Gonorrhea is antibiotics. People make the mistake of stopping the medicines right after they get better, like when one loses the sore throat. It is important to finish the 5 or 7-day course the doctor prescribed. Why? Because it hasn’t cleared out enough of the bacteria. It is not completely out of your system just yet.

If and when the condition relapses, you might need a stronger antibiotic because the bacterium is already resistant to the first one you took.

It is equally important to get your partner treated. It would be pointless getting yourself healthy again only to be re-infected with the same disease.


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