Gonorrhea is a painful bacterial infection which is transmitted by sexual contact and which can affect any part of the body that is not covered by skin . This includes the urethra, the cervix, the mouth and the anus.
The discovery of penicillin in 1928 led to a dramatic fall in the number of cases of gonorrhea. Unfortunately, this trend was reversed over the 25 years after the introduction of the pill in the early 1960s. The resultant increased sexual activity brought about an increase in gonorrhea. Nowadays, apart from the common cold, it is still the most prevalent infectious disease in the world.
Now, however, the growth of the AIDS epidemic and the practice of ‘safe sex’ mean that gonorrhea is once again on the decline. Such is the nature of the disease that more women than men are infected, the average age of the women infected is falling. Now, 25% are less than 20 years old.
Transmission and Symptoms
- In theory, it might be possible to catch gonorrhea from a toilet seat but in reality this may be a convenient let out for those who don’t want to admit to sexual indiscretions.
- The disease may take anything from two days to two months to develop and in men the symptoms are obvious.
- These are a discharge from the penis and pain when passing urine. There is often a stinging pain when urinating after drinking alcohol.
- Women may be infected and have no symptoms at all. The usual complaint is of pain on passing urine, increased frequency of passing water and a vaginal discharge.
- In women with severe infection the whole vulva can be red and painful and the patient will generally feel unwell. If left untreated the condition may be infectious for years. It will cause chronic damage to the urethra, cervix and Fallopian tubes.
- Severe cases may cause pelvic peritonitis. It may spread causing inflammation of tendons and joints.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosis is suggested by the symptoms and the patient’s recent sexual behavior and is confirmed by recognizing the bacteria under a microscope. Sexually transmitted diseases tend to hunt in packs. If you think you may be infected you should seek advice to exclude other diseases. This is one of the few occasions when it may be better to by pass the GP. Some of the most effective natural home remedies for gonorrhea can be very helpful but in severe condition GP should be consulted first.