April is STD Awareness Month; we’ve already told you all about chlamydia, but today we’re making you aware of another common (and curable) STD: gonorrhea.
What Is It?
Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection that is estimated to infect more than 700,000 people in the U.S. every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
How Is It Spread?
Gonorrhea can be spread through sexual contact with the penis, vagina, mouth, or anus. Ejaculation does not have to occur for gonorrhea to be transmitted or acquired.
What are the Symptoms?
According to Planned Parenthood, four out of five women with gonorrhea have no symptoms, and one out of ten men have no symptoms.
When women have symptoms they may experience abdominal pain/pelvic pain, fever, bleeding between periods, irregular periods, painful urination, painful sex, yellowish or green vaginal discharge, vomiting, painful bowel movements, anal itching, sore throat, or pain and/or swelling in the genital area. Gonorrhea can also lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) and cause women to develop internal abscesses, chronic pelvic pain, infertility, and can increase the risk of an ectopic pregnancy.
When men have symptoms they may experience discharge from the penis, painful bowel movements, anal itching, pain or burning when then they urinate, and the need to urinate often, or a sore throat. Although it is less common, men can also become infertile when the infection goes untreated and develops into epididymitis.
Gonorrhea can be cured with antibiotics, but any damage caused by the infections may not be reversible. Both you and your partner must be treated and take all of the prescribed medication to ensure you do not re-infect each other again. Make sure that if you are being tested for gonorrhea, you are also tested for other STDs.
Where Can I Go To Get Tested?
Check out your local Planned Parenthood to access affordable care for the prevention, testing, and treatment of STDs.