Gonorrhea: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention, Treatment

Do you feel healthy? Are you sure that you practiced safe sex with your partner last night? Well things may seem all right, but they might not be so. That is the biggest problem of Gonorrhea. The symptoms may not show at all, hence leading to a belief that there is no problem. In this article, I have listed down the main points concerning the causes, symptoms, and treatments of the disease.

Please read on to know more.

Some useful statistics about Gonorrhea

Here are some useful statistics related to the disease:-

  • It accounts for around 20% of all Sexually Transmitted Infections around the world
  • Very few deaths are recorded every year
  • Around 196 boys and 133 girls in every 1 lac boys and girl are infected by this disease

What is Gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea is an infection. The bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae causes it. Here are some related points:-

  • It is a sexually transmitted disease
  • Symptoms may or may not be prominent
  • It can affect both men and women.
  • Complications are different for both gender
  • The germs can not survive outside a host body for too long.
  • The disease can lie dormant in our body
  • Men having sex with other men has a greater chance of having the disease
  • It is not spread through casual contact like hand shake, hugging, public toilet seats, etc

What are the causes?

The primary causes of Gonorrhea are:-

  • The most common cause is sexual intercourse with an affected person
  • The disease can attack the same person twice.
  • Risk for women is higher than for men during intercourse between a normal and an infected person.
  • Pregnant women can transfer the disease to their infant.
  • The disease can spread through contact with objects that are in physical contact with body fluids of the patient such as sweat on clothes, unwashed and used utensils, unsterelized equipment such as nail cutter or razors, etc.
  • A weak immune system
  • From the eyes in case our hands have infected fluid on it
  • Direct contact with the infected’s body fluids such as kissing also spreads the disease

What are the signs and symptoms?

In most cases, Gonorrhea  does not show any serious symptoms. However, in other cases women and men show different symptoms.

Some common symptoms in women are:-

  • Unusual discharge of lubricating fluid from the vagina.
  • Pain in lower abdomen
  • Pain in parts associated with the reproductive system during intercourse.
  • Swelling and irritation in the uterus
  • Heavy periods
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding in between periods
  • fever

Some common symptoms shown in men are:-

  • Swelling and irritation of the urine passage
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Unusual discharge of fluid from penis
  • Reddening and irritation of the penis, penis tip, or testicles

Other the above stated symptoms, some common symptoms are exhibited by both men and women:-

  • Sore throat after performing oral sex
  • Itching in the anus
  • vomiting
  • irritation in the eye
  • Soreness and bleeding from anus
  • Passing bowels become painful
  • Pain itching or swelling in the neck
  • Largely intensified symptoms, which also proves an allergic reaction to the disease
  • An overall feeling of tiredness
  • Need to urinate frequently

Symptoms usually stay from 2 days to 2 weeks and are at their peak within 1 week of infection.

What are the complications?

Gonorrhea usually does not have any serious symptoms and cures within a week or two. However in rare cases some serious complications are:-

  • Rashes on skin
  • Pain and/or swelling in the joints
  • Swelling and burning in inner layers of heart
  • Suppressed immune systems lead to meningitis
  • Increased risk of cancer in prostate gland
  • Arthritis
  • inflammation in liver tissue
  • sperm production and quality may be affected
  • it may also result in infertility in men and death through pelvic diseases in women

How doctors diagnose the disease?

Gonorrhea may have mild or no symptoms, so it can be tricky to detect. The disease can be diagnosed by the following methods:-

  • PCR tests performed on swabs taken from sex organs for both males and females
  • Culture and gram stem on samples are used to detect the presence of the responsible bacteria

What are the treatments?

Without proper treatment, the symptoms may clear although the cause of the infection still remains in the body. For one’s well being, it is required to remove the causes of these infections. Some recommended medications are:-

  • Antibiotics usage while taking into account the rate of antibiotic resistance
  • One should test and treat his or her sexual partner for any potential disease.
  • Restrain from any kind of intimate physical contact with partners to avoid spreading

How to prevent the disease?

The disease is not very infectious, and one can avoid it if careful. Some of the steps considering screening are:-

  • All sexually active men and women below 25 must be screened for the disease.
  • Routine screening is recommended for people who have previously tested positive for the disease or who indulge in frequent sexual acts with different people
  • Doctors recommend screening for pregnant mothers to prevent transmission of the disease to unborn infants
  • All sexual partners of an infected person must be screened for the disease

Other than these some general precautions are:-

  • Be frank with your partner. Find out if the person has a history of sexually transmitted disease, and treat the situation accordingly
  • Proper condom usage significantly reduces the risks
  • Avoid oral sex if your partner has a sore throat, because cold sore germs can also cause genital herpes
  • Properly clean yourself before and after engaging in sexual activity
  • Limiting sexual activity to a single uninfected partner almost makes you immune against the disease
  • Infected people can completely eliminate the disease through proper treatment
  • Wait for at least a week after you and your partner have proven negative for the disease before resuming sexual activity
  • It is important to screen for all STD disease even if you may feel healthy, as these disease has almost no symptoms and yet can cause serious complications


Thus we see that Gonorrhea by itself is not a very serious disease, although it can prove dangerous if untreated. The fact that the symptoms are not very prominent makes it even more dangerous. Better safe than sorry. Hence it is better to practice safe sex and lead a sexually and physically healthy life rather than deal with the complications.

I hope the article has helped in shedding some light over the disease. Please let me know about your thoughts in the comment section.

Soham Choudhury

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