In February 2017, gonorrhoea made it to the World Health Organization’s list of infections that were becoming antibiotic-resistant. But don’t get confused. This sexually transmitted infection (STI) is treatable and more importantly–preventable. If you’re a sexually active person, there are a couple of thing you need to know about gonorrhea in order to keep it from striking you. Read on for all the deets:
What Is Gonorrhea
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gonorrhea (aka, “the Clap”) is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the bacterium called Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It usually targets the warm, moist area of the body like eyes, throat, vagina, and anus and the female reproductive tract. Gonorrhea is transmitted during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. It can also be passed on to a newborn from an infected mother. Although it can affect people of any age or gender, teenagers and young adults between the age of 15-28 are at a higher risk of getting infected.
Causes Of Gonorrhea
Having unprotected sex with an infected person is the most common cause of gonorrhea. It is transmitted when semen, and vaginal fluids of an infected person get on or inside your genitals, anus, or mouth. It can be passed even if the penis doesn’t go all the way in the vagina or anus. In fact, you can also get gonorrhea by touching your eye if you’ve touched infected fluids. Additionally, factors like having unprotected sex with a new or multiple partners or a having a history of other STIs can increase your risk of getting gonorrhea. Contrary to popular belief, this bacteria doesn’t spread by touching objects like toilet seats or clothes of an infected person as it can’t live outside the human body for too long.
Symptoms Of Gonorrhea
Gonorrhea can be quite sneaky and not make its presence felt at all as it usually has no symptoms. However, you may notice certain changes in your body if you’re infected. These include signs like foul-smelling white or yellow vaginal discharge, pain in your lower abdomen or pelvis (belly), pain during sexual intercourse, pain or burning sensation while peeing, itchy or sore throat, and bleeding between periods. In men, it could lead to greenish discharge from the penis, swelling or soreness around the anus, testicular swelling, and pain during bowel movements.
FYI, gonorrhea can have serious health implications like infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and pelvic inflammatory disease, if left untreated. That’s why it’s super-important to seek medical help as soon as you notice any of these symptoms.
It is important to take cautionary steps in order to keep gonorrhea and other STIs at bay. Here are some tips you can keep in mind:
Practice Safe Sex
One must always use protection every time you have oral, anal, or vaginal sex to lower your risk of contracting an STI. Additionally, you must avoid sharing sex toys and make it a practice to wash them thoroughly before use.
Regular Medical Screenings
It is always a good idea to get yourself tested for STIs–especially if you’ve had sex with a new or multiple partners. Regular health checkups can also help identify gonorrhea even if you’re asymptomatic and an early diagnosis can save you a lot of trouble.
Have An Open Conversation With Your Partner
Before engaging in a sexual activity, it is important to have an open conversation with your partner to check if they have any symptoms of an STI. You can also go for a test together to ensure that you’re both safe.
Folks, even though gonorrhea can be treated, it can mess with your health big time. So practice safe sex and take these preventative steps to stay healthy.
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