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Gonorrhea: what is it, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Gonorrhea is a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which is transmitted from person to person through anal, oral or non-condom penetration. In most cases, gonorrhea causes no symptoms and is only discovered after routine examinations, however in some people there may be pain or burning when urinating and a white-yellowish, pus-like discharge may appear.

It is important that gonorrhea is quickly identified and treated with antibiotics indicated by the doctor, as otherwise there is a risk that the person will develop complications, such as infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease, for example.

Gonorrhea is curable when the treatment is done according to the doctor's recommendation. However, some people may not respond correctly to treatment due to the bacteria's acquired resistance to commonly used antibiotics, which makes healing difficult. In this case it may be necessary to use a combination of different antibiotics to cure the gonorrhea.

Gonorrhea symptoms

Gonorrhea symptoms can appear up to 10 days after contact with the bacteria responsible for the disease, however, in most cases in women, gonorrhea is asymptomatic, being identified only at the time of routine gynecological exams. In the case of men, most cases are symptomatic and symptoms appear a few days after unprotected sexual contact.

In addition, the signs and symptoms of infection with the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria may vary according to the type of unprotected sexual intercourse, that is, whether it was oral, anal or with penetration, with the most frequently observed symptoms being:

  • Pain or burning when urinating;
  • Urinary incontinence;
  • White-yellow discharge, similar to pus;
  • Inflammation of Bartholin's glands, which are on the sides of the vagina and are responsible for the woman's lubrication;
  • Acute urethritis, which is more common in men;
  • Frequent urge to urinate;
  • Sore throat and voice impairment, when there is an intimate oral relationship;
  • Inflammation of the anus when there is intimate anal intercourse.

In the case of women, when gonorrhea is not identified and treated correctly, there is an increased risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and sterility, and there is also an increased chance that the bacteria will spread through the bloodstream and lead to joint pain, fever and appearance of lesions in the extremities of the body.

In men, complications are less frequent, because most of the times they are symptomatic, which makes the identification and initiation of treatment for gonorrhea faster and easier.

However, when the treatment is not done according to the urologist's guidance, complications such as urinary incontinence, heaviness in the penis region and infertility may arise. 

Gonorrhea in newborns

Gonorrhea in newborns can happen when a woman has the bacteria and the infection is not identified and treated during pregnancy, which increases the risk of transmitting Neisseria gonorrhoeae to the baby at the time of delivery.

Babies who come into contact with the bacteria during birth may have some signs and symptoms such as pain and swelling in the eyes, purulent discharge and difficulty opening the eyes, which can lead to blindness when not treated properly.

How is the diagnosis made

The diagnosis of gonorrhea is made by the gynecologist or urologist based on physical examinations and the results of laboratory tests, mainly microbiological, which are made from the analysis of urine, vaginal secretion or urethra, in the case of men, which are collected in the laboratory skilled.

The samples are taken to the laboratory for analysis where they are submitted to a series of tests to identify the bacteria, in addition to serological and molecular tests to identify Neisseria gonorrhoeae .

In addition, an antibiogram is performed in order to verify the sensitivity and resistance profile of the microorganism to commonly used antibiotics. In this way, the doctor will be able to indicate the best antibiotic for the person's treatment.

Gonorrhea treatment

Treatment for gonorrhea should be guided by a gynecologist, in the case of women, or a urologist, in the case of men, and is usually done with the use of Azithromycin in tablets and Ceftriaxone in a single injection to eliminate the bacteria that cause the disease. of the organism. 

Usually the doctor indicates that the treatment should be done in 7 to 10 days, and the person should follow this treatment even if the symptoms no longer exist.

During treatment for gonorrhea, it is important that the person avoid having sex until he is completely cured. In addition, the person's sexual partner should also be treated with antibiotics, even if they do not have symptoms, because of the risk of transmitting gonorrhea to others.

(Reference - WebMD)

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