Gonorrhea: Symptoms & Treatment Options
Gonorrhea is the second most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. Though reported cases have declined, women of all ages continue to be diagnosed with the disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, there were 1.5 million reported cases in 2009.
Understanding symptoms, testing, and treatment options is important to maintaining your health. If left untreated, gonorrhea can cause all sorts of health problems.
Symptoms of Gonorrhea
For some, gonorrhea presents very few symptoms. Sometimes symptoms don’t develop for up to 30 days, during which the infection spreads to other parts of the body. In women, gonorrhea symptoms are often mistaken for a vaginal or bladder infection. It’s important to be aware of these signs and symptoms to ensure your health.
Common symptoms of gonorrhea include:
- Frequent or painful urination
- Abnormal discharge
- Genital itching
- Lower belly pain
- Irregular menstrual bleeding
- Abnormal bleeding after sex or between periods
If you recently had unprotected sex and are suffering from any of these symptoms, you’ll want to visit Choices Women’s Medical Center for gonorrhea testing.
While some companies offer at-home gonorrhea tests, it’s best to visit a medical professional for STD testing.
There are two different ways to test for gonorrhea. The most common way is for a medical professional to take a swab of the cervix. This allows your doctor to test for a genital infection. However, depending on the type of unprotected sex, your doctor may also take swabs of your throat, and/or rectum.
A urine test can also be used to diagnose gonorrhea. Samples are sent to a laboratory to be tested for bacterial DNA.
For quicker results, testing can also be done in-office. Your healthcare provider can conduct a Gram stain test. The sample taken from a cervix swab is stained with dye. The dye allows for easier spotting of gonorrhea-causing bacteria.
If treated in its early stages, gonorrhea poses no long-term health problems, but, if left untreated, gonorrhea can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, chronic pelvic pain, ectopic pregnancy, and even infertility.
Initially, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to kill the infection. Many times, proper gonorrhea treatment involves several rounds of antibiotics. During treatment, it’s important to avoid all sexual contact to avoid spreading the disease.
Once treatment is complete, avoid sexual contact for seven days after your last dosage. In the future, use a condom to protect yourself from STIs and STDs.
A Women’s Health Clinic You Can Trust
If you live in the Queens area, it’s important to have a go-to health clinic for STD testing, as well as gynecologist services. Keeping up with your sexual health is crucial for a happy and healthy life.
At Choices Women’s Medical Center, you can count on us for all of your sexual health needs. We are a full-service reproductive health center with STD testing and stand as one of the best sexual health clinics in the area. Your sexual health matters! Contact us at (718) 534-3800 to schedule an appointment.