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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: 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 no ...more misdiagnosis »

Causes of Gonorrhea:

The following medical conditions are some of the possible causes of Gonorrhea. There are likely to be other possible causes, so ask your doctor about your symptoms.

» Review Causes of Gonorrhea: Causes

Home Diagnostic Testing and Gonorrhea

Home medical tests possibly related to Gonorrhea:

Causes of Types of Gonorrhea:

Review causes of types of Gonorrhea in more specific categories:

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 the chances of diagnosing and curing the ...Gonorrhea Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Gonorrhea may include:

Review further information on Gonorrhea Treatments.

Hospitals & Clinics: Gonorrhea

Research extensive quality ratings and patient safety measures for hospitals, clinics and medical facilities in health specialties related to Gonorrhea:

Gonorrhea: Undiagnosed Conditions

Conditions that are commonly undiagnosed in related areas may include:

Article Excerpts about Gonorrhea

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 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)

Gonorrhea is a curable sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a... (Source: excerpt from Gonorrhea, NIAID Fact Sheet: NIAID)

Gonorrhea is caused by the gonococcus, a bacterium that grows and multiplies quickly... (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)

Acute infectious disease characterized by primary invasion of the urogenital tract; the etiologic agent is Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
- (Source - CRISP)

Detailed list of causes of Gonorrhea

The list below shows some of the causes of Gonorrhea mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Gonorrhea?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Gonorrhea. Of the 2 causes of Gonorrhea that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 1 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 0 causes are "common" diseases
  • 0 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 0 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 0 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 1 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Gonorrhea:

The following list of conditions have 'Gonorrhea' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Gonorrhea or choose View All.

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Causes of Gonorrhea Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Gonorrhea based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Travel - has the patient travelled recently?

    What are the alternative names for Gonorrhea:

    Neisseria gonorrhoea, Gonococcus
    - (Source - Diseases Database)

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

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