Let’s be honest: Gonorrhea isn’t an altogether unheard of situation. At one point or other, you may have been at risk of exposure to it. You may even have already had the experience. Or, you may be carrying it, but have absolutely no idea.
Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection. It can be transmitted by any kind of sex- vaginal, anal or oral and it is very common.
The CDC estimates that there are about 820,000 new infections each year. More than half of these are detected and reported. About 570,000 of them are among young people in the 15-24 age bracket. In 2016, for instance, 468,514 cases were reported.
Gonorrhea is not untreatable. With a concoction of antibiotics, you can easily get rid of it.
The real problem however, lies in identification of the infection in the first place. As with plenty of the common STDs, it can be asymptomatic, meaning that the symptoms are hardly visible.
So how can we spot it as soon as it rears its ugly head?
The most obvious way is through STD testing. The CDC suggests that sexually active women below the age of 25 should get screened annually. Older, but still active women should also keep to the yearly test, especially if they have new or multiple partners.
It is also vital to detect the symptoms which may manifest themselves in between tests.
Possible warning signs
1. Aching pelvis: This would be different from premenstrual symptoms or cramps. If it is not dulled with a painkiller, it definitely is something that should be looked into.
2. Unusual discharge: Abnormal or increased discharge is one of the main tell-tale signs of the clap. It may have a greenish hue to it and may have an odour.
3. Spotting between periods: There may be bleeding in between menses. This is because the cervix may become inflamed from the infection.
4. Bleeding during or after sex: The inflamed cervix may bleed during deep vaginal penetration. This will be triggered by contact with the penis, which will cause bruising. However, bleeding can be caused by many factors, making a visit to the doctor prudent.
5. Pain during sex: Again, inflammation of the cervix and vagina tissues causes them to be extra sensitive. This may lead to a rather painful story between the sheets. The pain may be anything between a mild discomfort to a sharper, stabbing pain. Similarly, pain may be triggered by a number of causes.
6. Burning sensation when peeing: Nothing about pain or discomfort while you pee is ordinary. This should definitely be a huge red light indicating any of the numerous infections down your nether regions. The discomfort is due to inflammation in your genital region and urinary tract.
7. A prolonged scratchy throat: Sore throats are characteristic of the common cold. This can easily be fixed with a few strepsils. However, one that just won’t go away could be an indication of something more sinister. The same inflammation in the cervix and vagina could attack your throat, through oral sex.
8. Inflammation in the anus: This could be caused by anal sex.
If any of these symptoms show up, make haste to see your std clinic. Remember however, testing is everything- whether the symptoms are there or not.