Spread The infection is usually spread from one person to another through vaginal, oral, or anal sex. A mother may transmit gonorrhea to her newborn during childbirth; when affecting the infant's eyes, it is referred to as ophthalmia neonatorum.
Signs and symptoms Half of women with gonorrhea do not have symptoms, whereas others have vaginal discharge, lower abdominal pain, or pain with intercourse. Most infected men with symptoms have inflammation of the penile urethra associated with a burning sensation during urination and discharge from the penis. In men, discharge with or without burning occurs in half of all cases and is the most common symptom of the infection. Men and women can acquire gonorrhea of the throat from performing oral sex on an infected partner, usually a male partner.
Prognosis Gonorrhea if left untreated may last for weeks or months with higher risks of complications. One of the complications of gonorrhea is systemic dissemination resulting in skin pustules or petechia, septic arthritis, meningitis, or endocarditis. In men, inflammation of the epididymis, prostate gland, and urethra can result from untreated gonorrhea. In women, the most common result of untreated gonorrhea is pelvic inflammatory disease.
Prevention As with most sexually transmitted diseases, the risk of infection can be reduced significantly by the correct use of condoms and can be removed almost entirely by limiting sexual activities to a mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected person. Those previously infected are encouraged to return for follow up care to make sure that the infection has been eliminated.
Treatment of Gonorrhea Modern antibiotics can cure most gonorrhea infections. However, the emergence of drug-resistant strains of gonorrhea is a growing challenge. Most states provide free diagnosis and treatment at state- sponsored health clinics. Doctors will usually give an injection of strong antibiotics. Some follow-up may also be necessary.