And, those that do show symptoms may think the symptoms are related to a UTI or yeast infection.
The reality is that gonorrhea is a common STI, with more than 800,000 new infections occurring each year. Over half of these new infections are in individuals 15 to 24 years of age. The CDC there was a record low number of gonorrhea cases in 2009; but, in 2016, the percentage increased to about 50 percent.
Public health officials consider this STI a serious public health threat, as it’s developed an antibiotic-resistant strain that most treatments cannot cure. In fact, just one class of antibiotics can actually do the trick to cure gonorrhea.
Even worse, when not treated in a timely manner, it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which means the bacteria has traveled from the cervix, up the urethra and invaded the fallopian tubes and uterus. This causes a major infection and may cause a woman to become infertile.
For women to protect themselves, they need to practice safe sex such as using a condom. However, since gonorrhea symptoms are so subtle and could be mistaken for other causes, it’s important to seek assistance from a medical professional right away. A gonorrhea test can be administered and treatment can begin right away.
Women with gonorrhea may have a yellowish, thick vaginal discharge. This is because the bacteria infects the cervix, causing it to generate the discharge in response to the inflammation. It usually causes one to feel itchy too.
Bear in mind that an itchy, fishy-smelling vagina is usually the result of bacterial vaginosis, but always talk to your doctor to find out for sure.
If you have pain during sex or putting in a tampon, the cervix may be inflamed from the infection. A physical exam from the doctor could also hurt if gonorrhea is present. In fact, the pain could be quite unbearable.
A gonorrhea infection can affect the urethra, which is the tube pee travels down from the bladder. If there is an infection, you could experience a burning sensation as well as pain and the sensation to go even when you don’t need to. These symptoms are also signs of a UTI, so talk to your doctor.
An inflamed cervix can easily bleed, which is why some women experience spotting or bleeding if infected with gonorrhea. Bear in mind that irregular bleeding or spotting could also be a sign of other conditions. Talk to your doctor to get a more precise diagnosis.
You can get gonorrhea via anal sex, which can lead to painful bowel movements as well as bleeding, itching, discharge and soreness.
A gonorrhea exam involves a swab from the vagina or a urine test, with test results returning in 48 hours. If positive, your doctor will prescribe you antibiotics such as Zithromax. It’s imperative to take all of your antibiotics, as some gonorrhea strains have become resistant to them.
Do not have sex until you are done taking the prescription and reduce the risk of giving your partner the disease. They should also be tested for it to ensure it’s not always been spread. When the infection clears, be sure to use a condom and get tested regularly. Women 25 and younger or older women with a new sexual partner should be tested once a year.
Here’s what we've been up to recently.