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I Have Gonorrhea Symptoms: What Should I Do Next?

I Have Gonorrhea Symptoms: What Should I Do Next?

Neisseria gonorrhea or gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease. It affects the mucous membrane of the infected area, typically the penis, vagina, anus, and throat. Gonorrhea symptoms can appear in infected men, women, and children, and manifest differently for each one.

Gonorrhea symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • Men – Men infected with gonorrhea often experience inflammation in the penile urethra. This causes a burning sensation when urinating. It may be accompanied by a yellow or green pus discharge. The inflammation causes the urethra to narrow and stiffen which is what gives the burning sensation. Gonorrhea may also cause pain in the testicles, when the epididymis, a structure at the back of the testicle, gets inflamed.
  • Women – Around half of women don’t experience any gonorrhea symptoms. The other half will experience similar symptoms as men. This includes inflammation in their uterine cervix. This gives women more than normal, and unusual vaginal discharge. They may experience pain during sexual intercourse, bleeding between periods, pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis, and a burning sensation during urination. Inflammation of the fallopian tubes and ovaries may also occur and cause damage to those areas. This may cause complications for future pregnancies.

Gonorrhea treatment

Gonorrhea is fairly simple to treat. One may need only simple antibiotics for a few days to remove the symptoms. However, gonorrhea can and will get worse if left untreated, and may cause many serious complications that can indirectly cause death.

Here are some gonorrhea symptoms that can occur if left untreated:

  • Infertility in men and women – In men, this will be due to the inflammation in the epididymis, the area where the sperm ducts are located. For women, the areas affected are the fallopian tubes and ovaries.
  • Increased risk of HIV/AIDS – Another complication if gonorrhea is left untreated is contracting even more dangerous diseases like HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS will cause you to be susceptible to even more diseases due to the weakening of your immune system.
  • Complications in babies – Babies can contract gonorrhea if the mother has an infection during pregnancy and childbirth. Up to 28% of babies who are born under these conditions will have gonococcal ophthalmia neonatorum. This disease may cause blindness in the infant.

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Secondary gonorrhea symptoms

Untreated gonorrhea can branch out from the initial infected area into other parts of the body. This causes secondary symptoms to occur.

Secondary symptoms include:

  1. Skin rashes – Untreated gonorrhea can get into the blood through the primary infection site. This can spread into the blood vessels of the skin and cause progressively worsening skin lesions if untreated. Without treatment, these will turn into necrotic lesions. Necrotic lesions are caused when healthy or still living tissues dies prematurely, causing black spots in the skin.
  2. Joint pain – Once gonorrhea has spread towards the other parts of the body, one of its prime targets is the joints. This is called gonococcal arthritis. Gonorrhea can also infect the fluid surrounding the joints, causing another type of joint pain called tenosynovitis.
  3. Other organs – When gonorrhea spreads through the bloodstream, other organs may be infected. When the heart is infected, the resulting condition is called infective endocarditis. It is caused by the infection and inflammation of the heart’s inner layer and valves. Since gonorrhea can infect joints, it can also infect the spinal column and brain. This will cause inflammation in those areas and create more problems such as fevers, headaches, neck stiffness, deafness, epilepsy, hydrocephalus, and cognitive deficits.

Key takeaway

While gonorrhea is simple to treat, don’t get too complacent as even this seemingly simple infection can cause a myriad of problems if not treated early.

Learn more about gonorrhea here.

 

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources
GONORRHEA, https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/gonorrhea Accessed January 18, 2021   GONORRHEA - CDC FACTSHEET, https://www.cdc.gov/std/gonorrhea/stdfact-gonorrhea.htm Accessed January 18, 2021   GONORRHEA, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gonorrhea/symptoms-causes/syc-20351774 ext=Untreated%20gonorrhea%20can%20lead%20to,of%20pregnancy%20complications%20and%20infertility. Accessed January 18, 2021   GONORRHEA, https://healthyhorns.utexas.edu/sti_gonorrhea.html Accessed January 18, 2021   GONORRHEA, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5354566/ Accessed January 18, 2021   DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF NEISSERIA GONORRHEA INFECTIONS, https://www.aafp.org/afp/2006/0515/p1779.html Accessed January 18, 2021   NEONATAL CONJUNCTIVITIS, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441840/ Accessed January 18, 2021   ENDOCARTITIS, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/16957-endocarditis Accessed January 18, 2021   GONORRHEA - AN EVOLVING DISEASE OF THE NEW MILLENIUM, https://www.aafp.org/afp/2006/0515/p1779.html#:~:text=Neisseria%20gonorrhoeae%20infections%20may%20present,pelvic%20inflammatory%20disease%20(PID) Accessed January 18, 2021   WHAT IS GONOCOCCAL ARTHRITIS? THESE ARE THE SIGNS YOU COULD HAVE IT, https://creakyjoints.org/education/what-is-gonococcal-arthritis/ Accessed January 18, 2021   TENOSYNOVITIS, https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/tendon-trouble-in-the-hands-de-quervains-tenosynovitis-and-trigger-finger Accessed January 18, 2021  
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Written by Giann Floresca Updated Apr 06, 2021
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel