Have you ever heard of “a drip”, “a dose”, or “the clap?” They are all names used to refer to a condition called gonorrhea, which is mainly a sexually transmitting bacterial infection. Caused by Neisseria gonorrhea, the bacterium grows in areas that are normally moist, such as vagina, penis, rectum, and throat. Increased vaginal or penile discharge is the most common symptom of gonorrhea. More than 820,000 people get gonorrhea in the US every year.
How Can You Get Gonorrhea?
As mentioned, it is actually a sexually transmitted infection and spreads through anal, oral, and vaginal sex. Women are more likely to develop this condition from men than men are from women. Still, gonorrhea can affect both men and women. How can you get gonorrhea? You may get it if you:
- Share sex toys with others
- Have vaginal or anal sex with someone who has the infection
- Have oral sex with someone who is infected
- Touch private parts or other parts of your body with fingers and then touch your eyes
Maintain a very close physical contact can also spread the infection. In rare cases, it spreads from hand to hand and from a mother to her baby at birth. However, you do not become infected by sharing baths, kissing, or from toilet seats.
What Can I Do to Avoid Gonorrhea?
Once you know the answer to your question, “How can you get gonorrhea?”it is easy to understand that you can avoid it by practicing safer sex. You should use a condom whenever you have sex to avoid gonorrhea and many other sexually transmitted diseases. However, the only surefire way of not becoming infected is to not have sex at all.
Symptoms of Gonorrhea
It is often difficult to deal with gonorrhea because you usually do not have any symptoms soon after contracting the infection. It usually takes a couple of days after becoming infected to experience any symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms include the following:
- Increased vaginal discharge with whitish or yellowish fluid
- Pain while urinating or having sex
- Vaginal bleeding
- Pain in the back or stomach
- Unusual discharge from the penis – it could be watery or thick white fluid
- Burning or pain while urinating
- Pain and heaviness in the testicles
In addition, both men and women may develop anal infection as well and symptoms such as itching pain, and bleeding or discharge from the rectum. Painful bowel movements are also common. And you may have a sore throat if you have an oral infection.
How Is It Diagnosed?
It is easy to detect gonorrhea by having a look at sample of tissue or discharge under the microscope – it is called a gram stain. While the method is quite fast, it is usually not that reliable.
For accurate detection, your doctor may order DNA tests. The ligase chain reaction (LCCR) test is a good choice because it helps find gonorrhea quickly, especially when performed on urine samples. It is also easier to collect urine samples than collecting samples from the genital area.
Samples for a culture have been used prior to DNA tests, but they are not as common today. Your doctor may take these samples from your cervix, vagina, throat, urethra, or anus. In rare cases, they are taken from blood or joint fluid. These samples provide an early diagnosis within 24 hours but a confirmed diagnosis becomes available in 72 hours only.
If your tests show that you have gonorrhea, you should ask your doctor to check for other sexually transmitted infections as well. This may include tests for syphilis, Chlamydia, hepatitis, and HIV herpes.
How Is It Treated?
Since you have known the ways considering how can you get gonorrhea is mainly through sex. Then when confirmed that you have gonorrhea, it is important to seek treatment immediately because quick treatment will greatly reduce risk of complications. You will have to take antibiotics if your doctor confirms you have gonorrhea. It is important that your partner also gets tested for gonorrhea and other STDs. Anyone who have had sex within the last 2 months should be tested for STDs.
However, there is no certain way to ensure that you do not get gonorrhea again because having gonorrhea once does not make you immune to it.