Gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted disease that is cured by a round of antibiotics in the majority of cases diagnosed.2 Any woman under the age of 25 is strongly encouraged by the CDC to get tested at least yearly for gonorrhea. Other populations including men who have sex with men (MSM) and bisexual men are also at risk, and gonorrhea testing is recommended. To get tested for gonorrhea, a urine sample and several swabs are needed to diagnose the various forms of the infection.

These various methods include a nucleic acid amplification test; a molecular test used to detect the bacteria of an infection on the molecular level. Other methods of gonorrhea testing include swabs from the urethral or vaginal areas.3

Gonorrhea Treatment

Once diagnosed, gonorrhea is typically treated and cured by a round of antibiotics. The CDC-recommended regimens include the following:

  • Ceftriaxone
  • Azithromycin

The combination of the injectable antibiotic Ceftriaxone with oral antibiotic Azithromycin has been the CDC-recommended treatment for the disease since 2006, and in 2014, it was prescribed to treat 97% of reported cases.4

Antibiotic Resistant Infections
According to top researchers around the country specializing in STD prevention and treatment, there have been only a few cases reported in the US and UK that were not cured or were unresponsive to antibiotics.6 Though the numbers are currently small, this could signal an alarming trend of entering a post-antibiotic area. According to Dr.  Robert D. Kirkcaldy, epidemiologist, division of STD prevention at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an overuse or misuse of antibiotics “is probably not the largest contributor to the problem.” He suggests that new strains that are brought over from abroad play a significant factor in this emerging medical health issue.6

Gonorrhea Overview

According to the World Health Organization, gonorrhea is one of the most common STDs reported worldwide, with 78 million cases.1 Anyone who is sexually active is potentially at risk for contracting the disease, as proclaimed by the Center for Disease Control.2 In the US alone, 350,062 cases were reported in 2014.3 This STD that is very common in the 15-24 age group causes infections of the the throat, genitals and rectum.

This prevalent infection that is sexually transmitted is facing a significant challenge in that there is a strain in the population of “super gonorrhea” that is resistant to antibiotics.4 The only way to gain knowledge and get treated for this STD is to get tested, and STDtest.com is here to guide you in the process. Similar to chlamydia, gonorrhea is easily cured but can have severe medical consequences if left untreated.5

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Gonorrhea Symptoms

The symptoms of gonorrhea present differently in men and women. Most men and women with the STD don’t exhibit any symptoms, which makes it important both to get tested and to have a conversation with any partners about their risk and exposure to STDs. Left untreated, this STD increases the risk of susceptibility to HIV/AIDs.4 Gonorrhea can be passed from mother to child during childbirth, and the best preventive measure is for the mother to get tested and treated within the first trimester of pregnancy.

Symptoms in Women5:

  • More vaginal discharge than normal
  • Burning or itching sensation during urination
  • Bleeding in between periods

Symptoms in Men5:

  • Burning sensation during urination
  • White, yellow or green discharge from penis
  • Less common, but swollen or tender testicles

In both men and women infected rectally, they may not experience any symptoms, but it they do, they could include:

  • Painful bowel movements
  • Anal itching
  • Swollen anus
  • Discharge
  • Bleeding

These symptoms can be indicative of a more serious health problem of the potential progression of the disease. Consult with your primary care physician immediately if you experience the following:

  • Persistent burning sensation during urination
  • An odorous discharge
  • A new or unusual sore
  • Bleeding in between regular periods

If for any reason you are experiencing an acute onset of severe, intermittent or persistent abdominal pain, go to the ER or an urgent care facility immediately. This could be indicative of a much more serious condition or of Pelvic Inflammatory Disorder (PID)5.

1 World Health Organization Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) Fact Sheet, Updated 12/2015
2 Gonorrhea Homepage, CDC
3 Gonorrhea – CDC Fact Sheet (Detailed Version)
4 CDC 2015 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines for Gonococcal Infections
5 Gonorrhea – CDC Fact Sheet (Basic Version)
6 “Antibiotic-Resistant Gonorrhea: A Growing Threat,” U.S. National Library of Medicine, Medline Plus, 1/19/2016
7 Recommendations for the Laboratory-Based Detection of Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae — 2014

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