By Laura Badalamenti, NMD

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a type of bacteria, Neisseria gonorrhea. It is the second most commonly reported communicable disease in the United States. Reported cases are highest among young adults, men and women ages 20-24. Symptoms typically start to occur within 10 days of exposure.

In women, symptoms of Gonorrhea typically involve the uterus, cervix or urinary tract. Vaginal discharge that is thick white, yellow, or green may occur often along with vaginal itching. When the infection affects the uterus it can cause inflammation and scarring that leads to pelvic pain,pain during intercourse, and could lead to future infertility problems. This is called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Sometimes the infection also involves the urinary tract and can lead to pain, urgency, and frequency of urination. This is called urethritis because the bacteria infect the urethra. Some women who are infected do not have any symptoms, in which case they could still spread it to another person via sexual contact unknowingly. In men, most who are infected have symptoms. Typically, urethritis occurs causing pain with urination along with a discharge that is white, yellow, or greenish in color. It can also infect the epididymitis and cause testicular pain and swelling. If someone has oral sex with an infected person they could also get a throat infection.

Both men and women can be tested with a urine sample. Women could also have a cervicovaginal swab sample taken. Men could also be tested by urethral swab sampling. If the test comes back positive your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. The bacteria have become more drug resistant so two antibiotics should be taken to treat it, both Ceftriaxone and Azithromycin. Sexual partners should also be treated and sexual activity should be avoided until after 7 days of starting antibiotic treatment.