Introduction To What Is Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea disease is one of the oldest known sexually transmitted infections, which is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Gonorrhea is curable, however, if it is left untreated, it may lead to several pelvic infections and lifelong sterility. Later life complications include inflammation of heart valves, arthritis, and eye infection. It can also cause eye infections in newborn babies from the infected mother. Basically, the symptoms of Gonorrhea are different in males and females but biologically it can be characterized by the principle of inflammation of mucous membranes of the genital tract and urethra. Gonococcus, a bacterium is located at the mucous membrane and is found in the genital tract which is found in the adjacent areas of gonorrhea.

Gonorrhea Symptoms

Initial symptoms of gonorrhea can be irritation at the genital tract and urethra, and other surrounding areas can also be infected. Extreme red coloration can be seen to develop at the genital parts. Sometimes gonorrhea infected people are found asymptomatic and rarely develop any symptoms related to infections. These types of people are more likely to spread the infection to their partners.

Usually, gonorrhea symptoms can develop within 2 to 14 days after the exposure, but the symptoms are not much noticeable at their initial stages and are more likely to be ignored by the patient. 

Gonorrhea Symptoms In Men

Sometimes men may not develop any noticeable symptoms for long; also, some even do not develop any symptoms ever. However, if they do, then it can be noticed within a week after the transmission. Early symptoms in men include painful sensation during urination, followed by the progressive symptoms that can include-

  • Increase in frequency of urination

  • Having pus-like drip or discharge from the penis

  • Sore throat

  • Redness and inflammation of the opening of the penis

  • Swelling and severe pain in the testicles

These symptoms can stay for a while even after it is treated. In some rare cases, gonorrhea can continue to damage the body, especially the genital parts. Extreme pain can also spread to the rectum.

Gonorrhea Symptoms In Women 

The initial gonorrhea symptoms developed in women are more similar to other infections that are found in women. Hence, it becomes difficult to identify gonorrhea infection. Women develop symptoms that are usually found in vaginal yeast and other bacterial infections.

Symptoms Include -

  • Slightly green and creamy vaginal discharge

  • Burning sensation during urination

  • Increased frequency of urination

  • Heavy and longer periods

  • Cramps like pain in the abdomen

  • Fever

  • Sore throat

Image Showing Gonococcal Lesions-

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Gonorrhea Causes

Gonorrhea is mainly transmitted from an infected person to their partner. However, it can spread even without penetration; even by the little contact between the genitals. If a person touches their eyes with infection fluid on their hands then it can also develop gonorrhea infection in them. Gonorrhea infection also gets transmitted from the infected mother to her newborn baby.  

Is Gonorrhea Curable Disease

Most often a question arises- is gonorrhea curable? Yes, gonorrhea is curable with the right medication and right precaution. Medications can only stop the infection, it will not undo the damage which is already caused by the infection. Gonorrhea can be cured in 7 to 10 days after the treatment starts.

Gonorrhea Treatment

Adults diagnosed with gonorrhea are given the treatment of antibiotics to lower the symptoms and cure the infection. However infected newborns are also treated with antibiotics but in smaller doses. Commonly used antibiotics are Ceftriaxone (given as an injection) and Azithromycin (Zithromax) which is considered to be taken orally.

Fun Facts

  • Neisser was the scientist who discovered the Gonococcus bacterium in the year 1879. He cultured the bacterium and introduced it to the genital of men which caused this disease.

  • According to the previous surveys done, Gonorrhea affects about 0.8% of women and 0.6% of men. However gonorrhea is curable, still, 700 deaths are filed in 2015 because of gonorrhea.

  • During WWII, the spread of gonorrhea and other STDs became common, so the government of the U.S used posters to warn the military personnel and other citizens.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What Is The Basic Structure And Nature Of Gonococcus?

Gonococcus is a gram-negative bacterium from the family of beta proteobacteria. Its diameter ranges between 0.6 to 1.0 micrometers. This bacterium when observed under a microscope appears in pairs with adjacent flattened sides. Its outer layer comprises proteins, phospholipids, lipopolysaccharides (LPS). Neisseria LPS is differentiated from Enteric LPS by its highly branched basal oligosaccharide structure and the absence of repeating O-antigen subunits. This is because it is referred to as lipooligosaccharide (LOS). During its initial growth stage, it sheds off the outer layer called ‘blebs’ which contain LOS and may have a role in pathogenesis if they are disseminated during intercourse.

2. What Are The Tests For The Diagnosis Of Gonorrhea?

It can be diagnosed in several ways by healthcare professionals. Fluid from the infected area is taken with the help of a cotton swab on a glass slide. If the doctor suspects a blood infection, then the sample of the doubted person will be obtained by inserting a needle into the symptomatic joint to withdraw fluid, and then it is stained and observed under a microscope. Another way of diagnosis is to take the same sample and place it in a petri dish and culture it in suitable growth conditions and if the person is infected then a gonorrhea colony will appear in the dish.