SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE
STDs are infections that are passed from one person to another during vaginal, anal, and oral sex. They’re really common, and lots of people who have them don’t have any symptoms. STDs can be dangerous, but the good news is that getting tested is no big deal, and most STDs are easy to treat.
The KMC Clinic will discuss serial STD and this week we will begin by discussing gonorrhea.
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). You get it from having sex with someone who is infected with it. Some people call it “the clap.” Gonorrhea usually causes pain and other symptoms in your genital tract, but it can also cause problems in your rectum, throat, eyes, or joints. Both men and women can get it, though men get it more often than women.
How do you get gonorrhea?
People usually get gonorrhea from having unprotected sex with someone who has the infection. Gonorrhea is spread when semen (cum), pre-cum, and vaginal fluids get on or inside your genitals, anus, or mouth. Gonorrhea can be passed even if the penis doesn’t go all the way in the vagina or anus.
The main ways people get gonorrhea are from having vaginal sex, anal sex, or oral sex. You can also get gonorrhea by touching your eye if you have infected fluids on your hand. Gonorrhea can also be spread to a baby during birth if the mother has it.
Gonorrhea isn’t spread through casual contact, so you CAN’T get it from sharing food or drinks, kissing, hugging, holding hands, coughing, sneezing, or sitting on toilet seats.
Many people with gonorrhea don’t have any symptoms, but they can still spread the infection to others. So using condoms and/or dental dams every time you have sex is the best way to help prevent gonorrhea — even if you and your partner seem totally healthy.
How to prevent gonorrhea?
The only sure way to keep from getting gonorrhea is not to have sex. You also have a lower risk if you’re in a long-term sexual relationship with only one person and you’re his or her only partner. You can reduce your chances of getting gonorrhea by practicing safe sex, and by getting regular screenings.
Sex using a condom is the safest way to prevent the spread of Gonorrhea. Condoms are known as barrier contraceptives, due to their presentation of a physical barrier to microbes.
For each oral, vaginal, or anal sex act, use a new latex condom. Condoms are available to purchase online. Avoid using an oil-based lubricant, such as petroleum jelly, when using a latex condom. Non-barrier forms of contraception, such as oral contraceptives or intrauterine devices, do nothing to protect people from sexually transmitted infections.
Males may experience the following symptoms:
Females are less likely to show symptoms, but if they do, these may include:
If the rectum becomes infected, a person with gonorrhea may experience anal itching, painful bowel movements, and sometimes discharge. When transmission occurs as a result of oral sex, there may be a burning sensation in the throat and swollen glands.
Gonorrhea is usually super easy to get rid of. Your nurse or doctor will prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. Some strains of gonorrhea resist the antibiotics and are hard to treat, so your doctor may give you two antibiotics, in shot and pill form. Sometimes you only have to take one pill. Other gonorrhea pill treatments are taken for 7 days. Your doctor will help you figure out which treatment is best for you.
If you’re treated for gonorrhea, it’s really important for your sexual partners to get treated also. Otherwise, you may pass the infection back and forth, or to other people. Sometimes your doctor will give you medicine for both you and your partner.
Thing that we need to know if we get treated for gonorrhea:
Even if you finish your treatment and the gonorrhea is totally gone, it’s possible to get infected with gonorrhea again. Gonorrhea isn’t a one-time-only deal. So use condoms and get tested regularly.
What happens if you don’t get treated for gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea can spread to your uterus and fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID might not have any symptoms at first, but it can cause permanent damage that may lead to chronic pain, infertility, or ectopic pregnancy. Getting tested for gonorrhea really lowers your chances of getting PID.
If you have a penis, an untreated gonorrhea infection can spread to your epididymis (a tube that carries sperm from your testicles), and can cause pain in your testicles. Rarely, it can make you infertile.
Having gonorrhea also increases your chances of getting or spreading HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Rarely, untreated gonorrhea may spread to your blood, skin, heart, or joints and lead to serious health problems, or even death.
If you have gonorrhea while you’re pregnant and don’t treat it, it can be passed to your baby when you’re giving birth. This can lead to problems for the baby, including blindness, joint infections, or blood infections which can be deadly.
The best way to avoid all these problems? Get tested and treated early.