Gonorrhea is one of the most commonly reported sexually transmitted infections and treatment of gonorrhea is a subject that may be more relevant to women who are even more susceptible than men to the infection.
Detection and treatment of gonorrhea is important to start early, since the infection, if left untreated could cause complications.
Causes of Gonorrhea
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) and is spread principally through sexual intercourse, particularly unprotected sexual intercourse.
A man has a 20% chance of contracting the infection from an infected woman; the woman as a 50% chance of contracting the infection by having sex with an infected man.
Very close personal contact or sharing of sex toys could also pass the infection. The other way that gonorrhea can spread is from mother to child during vaginal delivery.
In addition there are certain risk factors that make it more likely for a person to contract and seek gonorrhea treatment. Lower income urban groups, African Americans, young people and adolescents are seen to be more at risk. Drug users are another group that is seen as a high risk group.
Reasons for women to seek treatment of gonorrhea
Women who experience symptoms such as a foul smelling, green or yellowish vaginal discharge, anal discharge, or a burning sensation while passing urine should beware, abdominal pain, abnormal vaginal bleeding, since the symptoms could owe themselves to gonorrhea. In some cases, there could be no symptoms at all; or the infection could manifest in the form of a bladder infection.
Left untreated, gonorrhea could lead to complications such as reduced fertility among women because of blocked fallopian tubes, or the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy. Long term pelvic pain could also be the result of the infection if left untreated.
Among men as well, untreated gonorrhea could cause fertility to be compromised; and in some cases could cause sterility.
The treatment of gonorrhea
This infection is treatable if it is detected and arrested within time. If the infection is permitted to continue without treatment for some months or even weeks, the risk of several complications can arise, and treatment can become more difficult and problematic.
Antibiotic treatment using injectible ceftriaxone is thought to be the most effective for treating gonorrhea. It is recommended that treatment for chlamydia also be initiated along with gonorrhea treatment since this infection is known to coexist along with gonorrhea in 50% of infections.
The other important facet of the treatment is to treat the partner of the infected person. If the partner is left untreated (even if asymptomatic) there is the very significant risk of re-infection with the disease.
Problems with gonorrhea treatment
Bacterial resistance is a problem with treatment of gonorrhea. Whereas first generation antibiotics such as penicillin were effective against the disease, the bacteria are no long responsive to it or other such as tetracycline and fluoroquinolones.
Recently reported was news of the gonorrhea superbug which is resistant even to treatment with ceftriaxone which presents ever greater challenges for treating gonorrhea.