Gonorrhea is an STD which comes from a bacterium known as Neisseria gonorrheae. It can be transmitted through contact with sexual fluids during sexual activity. You can get gonorrhea when having anal sex, oral sex, or vaginal sex. Gonorrhea is the second most likely STD in the US, with about 300,000 cases of gonorrhea occurring each year. The highest rate of the disease occurs in women aged 15-19 years and in men aged 20-24 years. One common question about it is whether it will be go away by itself or not. Just read on to find the answer.
Does Gonorrhea Go Away On Its Own?
You should know that it is very uncommonly cured by itself.
The infection can last for months at a time before going away and if you do not receive treatment, you can’t know if it is going away. If you don’t have treatment immediately, you run the risk of longstanding damage to your body and you may transfer the infection to another sexual partner.
For women, there is the possibility of spreading the infection to the fallopian tubes and uterus, which leads to pelvic inflammatory disease. Then you may suffer from infertility or an ectopic pregnancy. If you happen to be pregnant when you get gonorrhea, this can affect the fetus. It can even cause problems during the delivery, in which the infant can come down with pneumonia or an eye infection with gonorrhea, which can lead to blindness.
For men, having gonorrhea can be just as dangerous. The organisms can inflame the testes, your prostate or the tubules within the testes. This can lead to infertility as well as problems urinating because the urethra has developed scar tissue.
Both men and women run a 33 percent chance of getting a blood-borne gonorrheal infection that causes inflammation of the joints, known as gonococcal arthritis. If you come down with this, you can develop chills, fever, lesions on your fingers hands, toes, and feet. The bacteria can remain in the bloodstream, resulting in septicemia, which is an infection of the blood that can send bacteria to all areas of the body, including the heart and brain. Septicemia is dangerous and can result infections on the heart valve, meningitis and even death.
So, What Should You Do If Having Gonorrhea?
It is relatively easy to treat gonorrhea; however, you need to have the test and get treatment as soon as you are suspicious you have it. Rather than worry about “Does gonorrhea go away?” you should do the following things.
1. Have a Test for Gonorrhea
You need to see a physician or nurse practitioner as soon as you can. There are two separate tests for gonorrhea that might be ordered:
- A urinalysis. This is the easiest way to test for gonorrhea. You just need to give a urine specimen and the laboratory will evaluate the urine for the presence of gonorrhea bacteria.
- A swab. The healthcare practitioner will use a sterile Q-tip and will take a sample of the fluid from any area that may be infected, such as the throat, rectum, or cervix. This fluid is evaluated under the microscope or cultured for the presence of gonorrheal organism.
2. Tell Your Sexual Partner
You need to notify all of your sexual partners, so they can also be tested for the disease and treated if necessary. If you do not tell them, you could get the infection back again after you have been treated. You should also avoid sex with anyone until both you and your sexual partners have been completely treated and cured.
3. Take Antibiotic Medication
Since the answer to “does gonorrhea go away by itself?” is no, you need to think about taking antibiotics. Antibiotics are about the only thing that can really get rid of the infection. Antibiotics will be given to the following people:
- People who have had a positive test for gonorrhea
- People who have had some kind of sexual contact with the individual who has tested positive for gonorrhea
- Babies born to mothers who have the disease during the delivery of the infant
You should never miss a dose of the antibiotic or you can get the infection back again. The doctor may prescribe more than one course of antibiotics and you should take them as directed.
It can take a while to cure the infection. It all depends on how far the infection has spread and how long the gonorrhea has been in your system. If the disease is localized to the cervix or urethra, the infection will resolve itself after about 2 days. Even if the infection has resolved and you have no symptoms, you should take the oral medication for gonorrhea until the prescription course is gone.
4. If the Antibiotics Are Unsuccessful
If the symptoms do not resolve after you have taken the course of antibiotics, you may have gotten another infection from your sexual partner or the antibiotic may haven’t simply working well. There are resistant strains of gonorrhea that do not respond to treatment if you have gotten a prescription of penicillin, quinolones, sulfa, or tetracycline the first time.
If you still feel as though you have symptoms of gonorrhea after taking the first course of antibiotics, the healthcare provider will obtain a gonorrhea culture, which has the capacity to check for antibiotic resistance. If your infection is of the resistant type, the doctor will choose another antibiotic for which the bacteria has not yet become resistant.
Can You Prevent Gonorrhea?
Now you have known the answer to “Does gonorrhea go away on its own” is no, you’d better avoid it in the first place. The best way is to be abstinent, especially with partners you do not know well or who have other partners. Other things you can do include the following:
- Have the male wear a condom. Condoms are latex sheaths for the penis that prevents the ejaculate from coming in contact with the female vagina or anus. Put the condom on before you have sex. Things like a diaphragm, birth control pills, birth control shots, or IUDs do not prevent gonorrhea.
- Have a test. See the doctor about having both you and your sexual partner checked for STDS like gonorrhea. Make sure you do this before you decide to have sex.
- Have just one sexual partner. If you limit yourself to a single sexual partner and your partner does this too, you have a decreased risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease.
- Don’t use douches. When you use a douche, you sweep away the normal bacteria residing in the vagina, which makes room for STDs to take hold.
- Stay away from drugs and alcohol. If you use these substances, you are more likely to take risks or to be a victim of sexual assault with someone who already has gonorrhea.
The following video will give you more info about gonorrhea.