Gonorrhea. Even the name is a little scary, isn’t it? What’s even scarier is that a lot of women and girls who have gonorrhea show no symptoms–so a lot of people who have it don’t even know it! Eek!
Here’s the thing, though: Gonorrhea’s bark is a lot worse than its bite. It isn’t a death sentence by any means! It’s treatable, and if you catch it early, you’ll be completely and totally fine. But you need to be super careful, girls!
Here’s everything you need to know about the STD gonorrhea and how you can treat and prevent it so you can go about your safe hanky-panky in peace.
* Gonorrhea can be prevented by not having sex (duh) and by using latex condoms when you do. You probably knew that, but it’s good to get a reminder!
* Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection. The gonorrhea bacteria thrives in warm, moist places like your mouth, eyes (yikes!), throat, anus (ick!), and reproductive organs–specifically your cervix, fallopian tubes, and urethra (where you pee from).
* Gonorrhea is actually really common. There are usually more than 700,000 new cases of gonorrhea every year in the U.S. alone, and about half of those cases go unreported, largely because a lot people don’t realize they have it.
* Gonorrhea is transmitted through bodily fluids during sex. You can get gonorrhea through any kind of sex–oral, vaginal, or anal–even if the guy doesn’t ejaculate.
* Most women with gonorrhea don’t show any symptoms–and when they do, the symptoms are usually mild and easy to dismiss as a vaginal, bladder, or urinary tract infection. Symptoms include bleeding between periods, a burning sensation when you pee, or increased discharge.
* If you get gonorrhea in your throat, you probably won’t have symptoms–and if you do, it’ll probably just be a sore throat, which is super easy (and in this case dangerous!) to dismiss as something else.
* If untreated, gonorrhea can spread to the fallopian tubes or uterus and lead to pelvic inflammatory disease–when can lead to infertility, a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, or spread even further to the blood or joints and become life-threatening in itself. Yikes!
* Gonorrhea can put you at a higher risk for–gulp!–HIV.
* If you’re pregnant, you can give your baby gonorrhea during childbirth. Wah!
* Gonorrhea can be diagnosed with a urine test most of the time, though if you’ve had oral or anal sex, a doc may swab the inside of your mouth or rectum. Occasionally a doctor will swab the cervix as well to be sure.
* Gonorrhea is treatable! Your doc will give you a prescription medication to knock it out of you, but be sure to take all of the medication.
* Medication will get rid of the infection, but it won’t cure any of the damage the disease has already done–which is why it’s important to be tested for STDs often, because since there are usually no symptoms for gonorrhea, you need to catch it quickly.
* If you have gonorrhea, you need to let all of your current and past partners know so they can be tested too. You’ll have to stop having sex until you’re done with your medication and all of your symptoms are gone.
* Some new strands of gonorrhea are resistant to antibiotics. That’s scary–and a reason for you to take extra precautions to prevent it!
For more info on gonorrhea, click here.
Have you or a partner ever had gonorrhea? How did you deal? Tell us in the comments!