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Gonorrhea – causes, side effects and treatments at

Friday, April 06, 2018 by

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that affects both men and women. It’s caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, a bacterium that infects the warm and moist areas of the body, such as the urethra, anus, and vagina.

This disease is spread mainly through unprotected sexual contact with infected people. An individual can acquire gonorrhea via oral, anal, and vaginal intercourse. No ejaculation is necessary for gonorrhea to spread. Moreover, an infected mother can pass gonorrhea onto her baby during delivery.

According to, there are about 78 million new gonorrhea cases diagnosed each year, with almost a million of them occurring in the United States alone. Not all cases of gonorrhea are diagnosed and reported, however, meaning that there could be more across the world.

Known side effects and risk factors of gonorrhea

A person is at higher risk of contracting gonorrhea if they’ve had it in the past, or have had any other STDs. Those with multiple sexual partners are prone to acquiring gonorrhea, as are the people with new partners.

The symptoms of gonorrhea tend to differ between men and women. For men, the first noticeable sign of gonorrhea is a painful or burning sensation during urination, which can manifest within a week of infection. Other symptoms for men include:

  • Anal discharge
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Itching, bleeding, or pain when defecating
  • Pain in the scrotum or testicles
  • Persistent sore or itching throat
  • Pus-like urethral discharge that can be white, yellow, or green in color
  • Red, warm, or swollen joints
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Swollen neck lymph nodes

Gonorrhea symptoms among women aren’t as overt and are often mild in comparison to the symptoms of men. Additionally, they can be more difficult to identify due to being similar to other infections like vaginal yeast or bacterial infections. The symptoms among women are:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Burning sensations or pain while urinating
  • Fever
  • Increased frequency of urination
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Spotting or vaginal bleeding between periods
  • Vaginal discharge that appears creamy, water, or somewhat green
  • Vomiting

There have been cases of people with gonorrhea showing no symptoms of the disease. These people are known as nonsymptopmatic carriers. Despite exhibiting none of the signs, they’re still contagious and are actually more likely to spread gonorrhea to other persons.

Body systems harmed by gonorrhea

Without treatment, gonorrhea has the potential to seriously harm the reproductive systems of men and women. Men with this disease are at high risk of becoming infertile or developing epididymitis, an inflammation of a tube in the testes through which sperm passes. Women, on the other hand, can also suffer from infertility as well as pelvic inflammatory disease or ectopic pregnancies, or pregnancies wherein the embryo becomes attached to the exterior of the uterus. Both sexes are susceptible to disseminated gonococcal infection, a condition marked by arthritis, fever, and dermatitis.

Additionally, gonorrhea can give rise to complications of other organs, such as the rectum, throat, skin, and immune system. Babies who contracted gonorrhea during birth may suffer from scalp sores and blindness.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is more likely to spread among sexually active people with weak immune systems, so enhancing it can lessen the risk. Zinc and vitamin C are nutrients that strengthen the immune system and make it easier to combat the infection. Foods that contain zinc include dark chocolate and oysters, while vitamin C is abundant in citrus fruits, spinach, and broccoli.

Echinacea is another excellent choice, as this plant is known for helping the immune system function at an optimal level.

Apple cider vinegar is believed to possess antibacterial and antifungal properties. As such, it can be used to boost the immune system and overcome certain symptoms of gonorrhea via topical application.

Treatments, management plans for gonorrhea

When treating gonorrhea, both patient and partner should be involved. The treatment process will usually involve the administration of antibiotics either orally or through a shot. This will only stop the infection, however, and not fix any permanent damage brought on by the disease. Furthermore, uncomplicated gonorrhea is treated by combining ceftriaxone (via injection) with azithromycin or doxycline (taken orally) due to there being strains of N. gonorrhoeae that have become resistant to antibiotics.

Once all medication has been taken, the affected person and the sexual partner that gave them the disease should wait seven days before having sex again.

Abstinence is the safest way to prevent gonorrhea. Those who engage in sex should utilize the appropriate protective measures (e.g. condoms for vaginal or anal intercourse, and dental dams for oral intercourse). Sticking to one partner who undergoes regular testing for STDs can help as well.

Where to learn more


Gonorrhea is a disease that can affect anyone who’s sexually active. Some people will exhibit symptoms of the disease (e.g. pain while urinating, painful bowel movements, vaginal or penile discharge) while others will not show any signs whatsoever. If no treatment is given, gonorrhea can lead to complications that can negatively impact other regions of the body apart from the reproductive system.

Antibiotics are the typical course of action for gonorrhea, but this condition has become increasingly resistant to antibiotics. The best way to prevent the transmission of gonorrhea is through abstinence or by using condoms or dental dams during sexual intercourse.

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