Gonorrhea Testing and Treatment
Named after the ancient city of Gomorrah, gonorrhea is one of the most common STDs affecting millions, with over three million new cases diagnosed annually. It is important for pregnant and nursing women to be screened for this disease because it can be transmitted to the baby during pregnancy, labor or through breastfeeding.
Gonorrhea is caused by a bacterium that can infect males and females. It can infect the urethra, rectum or throat. In females, it can also infect the cervix. Pregnant women with the infection are vulnerable to miscarriage or delivering the baby prematurely. When babies contract the disease from their mothers, it usually affects the eyes and can lead to blindness.
Antibiotics are used to treat gonorrhea. There are strains of the disease that are showing resistance to some drug treatments so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends an injection and oral antibiotic to stop the disease. If you have gonorrhea, it is important that your sex partner is also treated for the disease, even if he or she does not have any symptoms. Reinfection occurs when only one partner is treated.
If a mother is known to have gonorrhea, her newborn is treated with an eye medication soon after birth. This is to prevent infection. Antibiotics are used to treat babies who develop eye infections.
Symptoms of Gonorrhea
Most people do not experience symptoms with this sexually transmitted disease. Women who do have symptoms will often mistake them for a bladder or vaginal infection because symptoms are mild. Men and women may have symptoms that include discharge, anal itching, soreness, bleeding or painful bowel movements. Both may also experience a burning sensation when urinating.
Men may have a white, yellow or green discharge from the penis, while women may have increased vaginal discharge or spotting between periods. Men may also have swollen or painful testicles, though this is rare.
With the proper treatment, gonorrhea is a curable STD. Your doctor will prescribe a round of medication that must be completed and taken as prescribed. The disease can be cured, but treatment will not affect or undo permanent damage caused by gonorrhea. It is important that you see your doctor again if your symptoms are not clearing up after a few days of treatment. This could indicate that you have a strain of the disease that is resistant to the antibiotic you are taking.
Contact Dr. Brent J. Michael for testing and treatment of gonorrhea and other STDs.