Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease, caused by the Neisseria Gonorrhea bacterium. Every year, approximately 11.4 million people are infected by this disease in Africa.
Gonorrhea is transmitted through any form of unprotected sexual intercourse – vaginal, anal, or oral. In addition to unprotected sex, a study in Ghana found that alcohol usage can also increase your chances of getting infected.
Read More: Gonorrhea in Ghana
Symptoms of Gonorrhea
Symptoms of a gonococcal infection begin to appear after two to seven days. It’s essential to note that symptoms of this infection can differ between men ad women.
While most men do experience symptoms of the disease, a significant portion of women does not. This can lead to late diagnosis in women.
Thus, it’s vital to keep a lookout for symptoms of the disease, especially after unprotected sex.
Here are some of the symptoms of Gonorrhea:
- Yellow-green discharge
- Burning sensation or pain when urinating
- Abdominal pain
Women may also experience some irregular bleeding between their periods. Similarly, men may experience swelling of the testicles or a sore penis.
Read More: Gonorrhea symptoms
Read More: Signs and symptoms of Gonorrhea
As we mentioned before, symptoms of Gonorrhea are less obvious in women. This makes the infection harder to detect and means that it can go untreated. If Gonorrhea in women is not treated in time, it can put women at risk of developing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).
PID occurs in around 15% of cases when the infection spreads to the fallopian tubes, uterus, and ovaries. PID itself is a painful condition that requires separate treatment. However, it can also lead to more severe complications such as infertility and ectopic pregnancies.
Hence, it’s vital for women to take precautions when they have unprotected sex or switch sexual partners frequently. Having protected sex is the safest way to ensure you’re not at risk of catching an STD.
Read more: All you need to know about STD’s in Africa
In men, complications of Gonorrhea are uncommon. Primarily this is because it’s easy to detect the infection in men, who can then seek treatment in time.
In case the infection goes untreated, it can spread to the prostate and testicles, which is quite painful. The spread of the infection can also block the urine passageway, causing damage to the kidneys.
Luckily, the procedure of diagnosing Gonorrhea is easy. Once you book a doctor’s appointment, your doctor will take a sample to test for the infection. It’s also common for your doctor to take extra precautions and test for chlamydia as well. This is because chlamydia is often transmitted alongside Gonorrhea.
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If you don’t have the time to go to your doctor, you can also take at-home tests for both Gonorrhea and chlamydia. These are easy to use, and you can get results quickly, no need to anxiously wait for hospital results!
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Read More: Testing and Diagnosis of Gonorrhea
If you are diagnosed with Gonorrhea, you can treat it through medicine prescribed to you by your doctor. It is essential that you don’t self-prescribe any medicine, especially because there are new strains of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea in regions such as Ghana.
While Gonorrhea is treatable, it can be tricky to detect. If left untreated, it can cause some complications as well. Thus, it’s important to take the necessary precautions and practice safe sex.
Read More: Gonorrhea Treatment