Feb 2012 14

I know I said I would only talk about STIs once a month, but I couldn’t resist the chance to talk about Gonorrhea given its recent appearance in the news. But before we get to the good stuff, let me layout the background information.

Gonorrhea is a bacterium STI that is very common in the United States. Caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae – gonorrhea multiplies and reproduces quickly in the moist reproductive tracks of both men and women.

Just within the United States, the CDC estimates that there are more than 700,000 new gonorrheal infections reported each year. Meaning we could fill the Ford Field Lions Stadium almost 11 times, or the Big House Football Stadium 6 times! Considering that The Big House is one of the largest football stadiums is collegiate sports…that is a ton people #justsaying.

So, what are the symptoms of Gonorrhea?! You guessed it…

Most of the symptoms in men and women are nonexistent, and gonorrhea is spread by contact with an infected person and their fluids (remember it’s like moist areas). The main point here is that there doesn’t have to be ejaclate or cum in order for the infection to be passed from person to person. With that said, the bacterium can grow in the vaginal track, the penis, mouth, throat, eyes, or anus (which is all reported by the CDC, however, the numbers of cases of eye gonorrheal infections are probably rare).

If symptoms do appear they are slightly different in men than in women. Men may experience a burning feeling while using the bathroom, painful or swollen testicles, or a white/yellow/green discharge from the penis. While women also experience a burning sensation while peeing, and an unusual vaginal discharge*. They may also experience bleeding between periods, and the symptoms may be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection.

When gonorrhea goes untreated it can also cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can lead to further complications in women’s reproductive organs. In men it can cause epididymitis. Both of these are also a result of chlamydia – the bacterial STI that we discussed earlier this month.

Although this seems a tad be frightening, normally when tested for STIs, you can rest assured you are being tested for the four most common STIs at your local clinic. Namely; chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV/AIDS.

And because gonorrhea is a bacterial infection (like Chlamydia) there are antibiotics that can be prescribed to treat and cure the infection. However, re-infection is always a possibility if exposed to another infected person.

So, I just stated gonorrhea is curable…right…well that is indeed true – to an extent. Recently, the CDC has confirmed that there have been cases in the United States of antibiotic resistant strains of gonorrhea. And while we do have medications to treat this STI it is becoming more difficult because it seems that gonorrhea is evolving as rapidly as the medicine we are using to cure it. (One more reason to wear a rubber :D)

I know I know…it’s Valentines Day, but frankly gonorrhea doesn’t care what day it is!!

*Note: that vaginal discharge is normal for most women given the course of their menstrual cycle. However, if you believe that your discharge is abnormal in texture and/or smell, and is more than normal please consultant a health care provider.

 

References:

CDC- Gonorrhea Fact Sheet

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