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Safe Sex Information: Gonorrhea

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Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are rampant these days that engaging in safe sex and using the necessary protection are some of the surest ways to avoid getting these infectious diseases. Just so you know, there are an estimated 333 million new cases of STDs that occur each year around the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Of this rate, 12 million are in the United States.

It is indeed alarming that these infectious diseases have become widespread not only among adults but among teenagers as well. In fact, millions of sexually active teens suffer from STDs nowadays due in part to their failure to protect themselves.

There are several types of STDs and one of the most common is gonorrhea. In the U.S., the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates the cases of gonorrhea to be at 800,000.

Common symptoms

Gonorrhea may not show symptoms right away even for several months and a person who has become infected may not even know he or she already has the disease. It is normally passed on during sexual intercourse either through the vagina, mouth and anus. The rectum can develop this disease due to anal sex.

In men, symptoms of gonorrhea may appear on a case-to-case basis. Some men may develop symptoms just after two to five days of being infected while the others may take a month or more. Common symptoms include burning feeling during urination, frequent urination, yellow-green discharge similar to pus from the penis and painful or swollen testicles, rashes, fever, joint pain notably in the knees.

Women who become infected may show mild or no symptoms at all. If symptoms do appear, they tend to be similar to a vaginal or bladder infection such as painful urination or burning feeling when urinating, stomach pain or swelling, fever, increased vaginal discharge or vaginal bleeding in between menstrual periods caused by sexual intercourse.

If rectal infection in both men and women is present, the symptoms include discharge, soreness, itching of the anus, bleeding and painful bowel movements. Those engaging in oral sex may also experience sore throat but with no symptoms showing.

Complications and cure

If gonorrhea goes on untreated, it can lead to complications and long term health problems such as infertility especially for men. It can cause epididymitis which affects the ducts connected to the testicles thereby resulting in infertility.

Mothers who are infected by the disease can also spread it to their babies during delivery and may lead to infection, blindness or even death. Gonorrhea may also lead to pelvic inflammatory disease or PID which actually causes fever and abdominal pain. PID can affect the fallopian tubes leading to infertility.

It is also worth noting that people with gonorrhea have a greater chance of contracting HIV. Only antibiotics can combat the disease but they cannot repair the damage already done to the body. It’s vital, though, to take all the medications prescribed by the doctor.

And to be sure that you don’t get these STDs, always use a condom if abstinence is not possible. A condom, as studies have proven, is one sure way to protect yourself against infectious diseases especially when used regularly and in the proper way.

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