What Is Gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria. This infection results in symptoms around the genitals, rectum, and throat. Young people who are sexually active between ages 15 and 24 are most likely to develop this infection through oral, vaginal, or anal sex without a condom.
Symptoms of Gonorrhea
Many people with this infection have no symptoms. Or the signs are so mild that a provider thinks you have a bladder infection before testing shows otherwise.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms may include the following depending on where the infection is:
- Pain when peeing
- A white, yellow, or green discharge from the penis or rectum
- A discharge from the vagina than is usual
- Painful or swelling testicles
- Itching in the anus
- Anal soreness
- Anal bleeding
- Pain during a bowel movement
- Smelly discharge
Fact or Myth: Getting Gonorrhea from Toilet Seats or Kissing
You can get gonorrhea in your throat if you kiss someone who has the infection in their mouth. However, you are very unlikely to contract gonorrhea from a toilet seat. And you can’t get it through casual contact.
Risks and Dangers
If left untreated, gonorrhea can cause scarring in the reproductive organs. This can lead to infertility or pregnancies requiring medical attention because the fetus is not inside the womb.
You may also develop long-term pain in your pelvis. In rare cases, the disease can spread to your blood or joints. If it does, hospitalization and even death can occur. An infected pregnant person can also give this to the child during birth.
Gonorrhea Statistics to Know
For every 100,000 people, around 215 receive a gonorrhea diagnosis each year. However, this disease is likely underreported because many people do not have symptoms.
In the US, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis cost insurers, individuals, and the government an estimated $1.1 billion to treat per year.
Screening & Testing in Denver
Generally, a sexually active person should be screened at least once a year. Those with HIV, who are pregnant, or at higher risk should be screened as often as 3-6 months.
You should get tested if they’re having symptoms. You must be honest with your provider or lab technician about your sexual behaviors to get the right tests because a genital swab or urine test won’t detect a throat or rectal infection.
In the state of Colorado, you can order a gonorrhea test without an order from a provider. Learn more about ordering your own STD testing online. Since many STDs share symptoms, a 10-STD panel is a great choice. It screens for 10 common STDs at once.
Is Gonorrhea Curable or Treatable?
Gonorrhea is usually very curable with antibiotics. However, some strains of the bacteria don’t respond well to antibiotics. If you have this kind, you may need more advanced treatments.