Gonorrhea is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, a bacterium that can grow and multiply easily in mucous membranes of the body. Gonorrhea bacteria can grow in the warm, moist areas of the reproductive tract, including the cervix (opening to the womb), uterus (womb), and fallopian tubes (egg canals) in women, and in the urethra (urine canal) in women and men. The bacteria can also grow in the mouth, throat, and anus.
Use latex condoms correctly every time you have sex.
Persons who choose to engage in sexual behaviors that can place them at risk for STIs should use latex condoms every time they have sex. A condom put on the penis before starting sex and worn until the penis is withdrawn can help protect both the male and the female partner from gonorrhea. When a male condom cannot be used appropriately, sex partners should consider using a female condom.
When initially infected, the majority of men have some signs or symptoms. Symptoms and signs include a burning sensation when urinating and a yellowish white discharge from the penis. Sometimes men with gonorrhea get painful or swollen testicles.
In women, the early symptoms of gonorrhea are often mild, and many women who are infected have no symptoms of infection.
Even when a woman has symptoms, they can be so non-specific as to be mistaken for a bladder or vaginal infection. The initial symptoms and signs in women include a painful or burning sensation when urinating, yellow vaginal discharge and spotting.
Women with no or mild gonorrhea symptoms are still at risk of developing serious complications from the infection. Untreated gonorrhea in women can develop into pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Symptoms of rectal infection include discharge, anal itching, soreness, bleeding, and sometimes painful bowel movements. Infections in the throat cause few symptoms.
Gonorrhea is easily treated and cured with antibiotics. Most often just one dose is required. all sex partners should also be treated. Men and women should not have sex for 7 days after treatment to prevent spreading the infection.
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