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Gonorrhea: Introduction

Gonorrhea is a common type of sexually transmitted disease. Gonorrhea is the result of a bacterial infection of the cervix in women or the urethra in men by the gonococcal bacteria, Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The anus, throat, and eyes can also be infected by gonorrhea.

Gonorrhea is passed from one person another during sexual contact that involves vaginal, oral, or anal sex. Gonorrhea infection can also be passed from an infected mother to her baby during vaginal delivery. This can result in a gonococcal conjunctivitis (neonatal ophthalmia) in the newborn's eyes.

Gonorrhea that is diagnosed early can be quickly and easily treated. However, if left untreated it can lead to serious complications, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, scarring of the fallopian tubes, infertility, prostatitis, epididymitis, ectopic pregnancy and other complications. Having a gonorrhea infection also puts a person at greater risk for contracting HIV.

Any person that engages in sexual activity can contract and pass on a gonorrhea infection. This includes heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual men and women. The more sexual partners a person has, the greater the risk of catching a gonorrhea infection.

Symptoms of gonorrhea generally develop about two to five days and up to about 30 days after exposure to the disease through sexual contact. Early symptoms may be mild enough not to be noticed and both men and women may experience no symptoms at all in the early stage of the disease.

Symptoms of gonorrhea infection in both sexes include fever and pain or burning with urination (dysuria). Men may experience frequent urination (frequency) and a discharge from the penis that is cloudy and filled with pus.

Women may experience an unusual, cloudy vaginal discharge, lower abdominal pain, and vaginal bleeding not associated with the menstrual cycle. Vaginal bleeding can also occur after sexual intercourse. If gonorrhea has progressed into pelvic inflammatory disease, symptoms can include severe abdominal pain or cramps, vomiting and fever.

Additional symptoms occur if gonorrhea has infected the anus, throat or the eyes of a newborn. For more details on symptoms, refer to symptoms of gonorrhea.

A diagnosis of gonorrhea infection can easily be made by taking a medical and sexual history, performing simple gonorrhea testing, and completing a physical and pelvic examination for women and an exam of the penis and testicles for men. During the examination, the health care practitioner will assess the reproductive organs and take a swab sample of the woman's cervix or the man's urethra and have it tested for the presence of gonorrhea. For women with severe symptoms that may indicate pelvic inflammatory disease, a pelvic ultrasound may also be done.

Because there may be no symptoms in the early stage of gonorrhea, some infected people may be unaware of a problem, and a diagnosis of gonorrhea infection can be missed or delayed. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of gonorrhea.

The first step in the treatment of gonorrhea infection is prevention. Prevention of gonorrhea infection is best accomplished by abstaining from sexual activity or having sex only within a mutually monogamous relationship in which neither partner is infected with a sexually transmitted disease. Latex condoms also provide some protection when used properly.

Treatment of an uncomplicated gonorrhea infection includes antibiotic therapy. Hospitalization may be necessary if the woman is acutely ill with such complications as pelvic inflammatory disease, abscess and high fever. Prompt diagnosis and treatment increases the chances of preserving fertility and reducing other complications in both men and women. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of gonorrhea. ...more »

Gonorrhea: Gonorrhea is a curable sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a bacterium called Neisseria gonorrhoeae. These bacteria ... more about Gonorrhea.

Gonorrhea: Common sexually transmitted disease often without symptoms. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Gonorrhea is available below.

Gonorrhea: Symptoms

Symptoms of gonorrhea infection can vary among individuals. It is not unusual for both men and women with gonorrhea to have very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all in the early stage of the disease. However, serious permanent damage to the reproductive tissues, infertility and other complications can occur even in the absence of symptoms.

Symptoms of ...more symptoms »

Gonorrhea: Treatments

Treatment of gonorrhea infection starts with prevention. Preventive measures include seeking regular medical care throughout the lifetime. Regular medical care allows a licensed health care professional to best evaluate the risks of contracting a gonorrhea infection and regularly test for the disease with a simple swab test. These measures greatly increase ...more treatments »

Gonorrhea: Misdiagnosis

A prompt diagnosis and treatment of gonorrhea infection increases the chances of preserving fertility and preventing other complications, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, prostatitis, epididymitis, ectopic pregnancy, and neonatal ophthalmia.

Gonorrhea is simple to diagnose, but a diagnosis can be missed or delayed because there are often ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Gonorrhea

Treatments for Gonorrhea

Home Diagnostic Testing

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Wrongly Diagnosed with Gonorrhea?

Gonorrhea: Related Patient Stories

Diagnostic Tests for Gonorrhea

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Gonorrhea: Complications

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Causes of Gonorrhea

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Gonorrhea: Undiagnosed Conditions

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Misdiagnosis and Gonorrhea

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Antibiotics often causes diarrhea: The use of antibiotics are very likely to cause some level of diarrhea in patients. The reason is that antibiotics kill off not only "bad" bacteria, but can more »

Food poisoning may actually be an infectious disease: Many people who come down with "stomach symptoms" like diarrhea assume that it's "something I ate" (i.e. food poisoning). In fact, more »

Mesenteric adenitis misdiagnosed as appendicitis in children: Because appendicitis is one of the more feared conditions for a child with abdominal pain, it can be over-diagnosed (it can, more »

Celiac disease often fails to be diagnosed cause of chronic digestive symptoms: One of the most common chronic digestive conditions is celiac disease, more »

Chronic digestive diseases hard to diagnose: There is an inherent difficulty in diagnosing the various types of chronic digestive diseases. Some of the better known possibilities are more »

Misdiagnosed weight-related causes of infertility: A woman's weight status can affect her level of fertility. Although obesity or overweight can in themselves more »

Gonorrhea: Research Doctors & Specialists

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Hospitals & Clinics: Gonorrhea

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Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Gonorrhea, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Gonorrhea: Rare Types

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Latest Treatments for Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea: Animations

Research about Gonorrhea

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Clinical Trials for Gonorrhea

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Gonorrhea include:

Prevention of Gonorrhea

Prevention information for Gonorrhea has been compiled from various data sources and may be inaccurate or incomplete. None of these methods guarantee prevention of Gonorrhea.

Statistics for Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea: Broader Related Topics

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Article Excerpts about Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID (Excerpt)

Gonorrhea is a curable sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a bacterium called Neisseria gonorrhoeae. These bacteria can infect the genital tract, the mouth, and the rectum. In women, the opening (cervix) to the womb (uterus) from the birth canal is the first place of infection. The disease however can spread into the womb and fallopian tubes, resulting in pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID affects more than 1 million women in this country every year and can cause infertility in as many as 10 percent of infected women and tubal (ectopic) pregnancy. (Source: excerpt from Gonorrhea, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID)

Gonorrhea: NWHIC (Excerpt)

Gonorrhea is caused by the gonococcus, a bacterium that grows and multiplies quickly in moist, warm areas of the body such as the cervix, urethra, mouth, or rectum. In women, the cervix is the most common site of infection. However, the disease can spread to the uterus (womb) and fallopian tubes, resulting in pelvic inflammatory disease (PID); this can cause infertility and ectopic (tubal) pregnancy. Gonorrhea is most commonly spread during genital contact, but it can also be passed from the genitals of one partner to the throat of the other during oral sex (pharyngeal gonorrhea). Gonorrhea of the rectum can occur in people who practice anal intercourse and may also occur in women due to spread of the infection from the vaginal area. (Source: excerpt from Gonorrhea: NWHIC)

Definitions of Gonorrhea:

A species of gram-negative, aerobic bacteria primarily found in purulent venereal discharges. It is the causative agent of GONORRHEA. - (Source - Diseases Database)

A common venereal disease caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae; symptoms are painful urination and pain around the urethra - (Source - WordNet 2.1)


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