Symptoms of Gonorrhea in Women and Ways to Help

Caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae, you develop gonorrhea when you have unprotected sex with someone who already has it. Once infected, you will experience a number of symptoms, including pain in your genital tract. There are other gonorrhea symptoms as well that can make it quite difficult to deal with this condition. It can cause problems in your throat, rectum, joints, or eyes. Let's find out more about it.

Gonorrhea Symptoms in Women

Some women experience symptoms within a couple of days of contracting the infection. However, it usually takes 2-10 days to experience the symptoms after becoming infected. It is also possible to have gonorrhea but have no specific symptoms for quite a long time. That is the reason why you should always avoid having unprotected sex when you are not sure about the health status of your partner.

When symptoms appear, they are usually quite mild in the beginning. Many women even think they are only experiencing a vaginal bacterial or yeast infection. Some common symptoms associated with gonorrhea include the following:

  • Pain in the throat
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain while urinating
  • Creamy, watery, or slightly green vaginal discharge
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Painful vaginal intercourse
  • Itching and general tiredness
  • Irregular menstrual bleeding
  • Painful, swollen glands close to the opening of the vagina

Symptoms in Men

While most men do not develop any noticeable symptoms for several weeks of contracting the infection, some may experience certain problems within a week or so. The most common symptom is a painful or burning sensation while urinating. When left untreated, gonorrhea in men can cause other symptoms, such as redness at the opening of the penis, a push-like discharge from the penis, frequent urination, a persistent sore throat, and swelling in the testicles.

Even after receiving treatment, it is possible to have the infection in your body that can damage the testicles and urethra. Sometimes, you may experience pain in the rectum as well.

Problems It Will Cause If Left Untreated

If treated early, it is possible to eliminate all gonorrhea symptoms in women. When left untreated, it can cause all sorts of complications.

Complications in Women

You may develop several complications of the female reproductive system when you do not seek treatment for gonorrhea. For instance, you may develop:

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) that increases risk of infertility
  • An abscess near or inside the ovaries
  • Inflammation of the glands near your vagina
  • A tubal pregnancy
  • Chronic pelvic pain

Complications in Pregnant Women

If you are pregnant and have gonorrhea, you should seek immediate medical attention or else you may end up developing several complications. It increases your risk of having a miscarriage. It may also cause preterm labor, premature rupture of the membranes, premature delivery, and infection of the lining of the uterus.

You can also infect your baby at the time of birth if you already have gonorrhea. Infected newborns are likely to develop several long-term complications.

How Is It Treated?

You usually need to take antibiotics to treat gonorrhea symptoms in women. The problem is that there are so many strains of drug-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which is why it is important to have it treated with the antibiotic ceftriaxone, which is given as an injection, usually in combination with doxycycline or azithromycin.

Some evidence suggests that combining oral azithromycin with injectable gentamicin or oral gemifloxacin may produce better results. This treatment is usually quite effective for people who are allergic to ceftriaxone.

Gonorrhea Treatment for Partners

If you have gonorrhea, it is important to have him tested for the infection. That is important even if he does not have any symptoms yet. Your partner would require the same treatment. Keep in mind that even if you have been treated successfully, there are always chances of re-infection if your partner is still infected.

What to Do to Reduce the Risk?

It is never easy to deal with gonorrhea symptoms in women, and it takes time to treat it properly. Therefore, it is better to take certain steps to avoid having it in the first place. Here is what you can try:

Practice Safer Sex

The most important thing to prevent gonorrhea is to avoid unprotected sex. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • It is important to avoid sexual intercourse with someone who shows visible signs of an STI. You should also avoid it if you know you have a sexually transmitted infection.
  • Limit yourself to your partner. Having more than one sexual relationship simultaneously increases your risk of catching a sexually transmitted infection.
  • Be sure to use condom whenever engaging in sex. The use of condom lowers your risk of getting HIV Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and many other sexually transmitted infections.
  • Always use a new condom when having sex unless you are absolutely sure that your partner does not have any sexually transmitted infection.
  • Be sure to use condoms even if you are using another birth control method. Birth control pills and other methods prevent unwanted pregnancy but offer no protection against sexually transmitted infections. Therefore, you should still be wearing condoms when engaging in sexual activities.

In case you have had unprotected sex with someone in the past year or you are a woman who engaged in unprotected sex with other men, you should have yourself screened for gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted infections. It is important to undergo screenings even if you do not have any symptoms yet.

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