Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease and is classic produced by Neisseria gonorrhoeae. This disease still presents major diagnostic and treatment problems. Its prevalence is declining, but the United States still about 700,000 cases are diagnosed per year, mostly in young people between 20 and 24 years, and is more common in large cities and in people with low socioeconomic status.
Neisseria gonorrhoeae is a bacteria that can grow and multiply easily in moist areas of the female genital tract and the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, and both female and male urethra.This bacterium can also grow in the mouth, throat, eyes and anus.
Symptoms usually begin 2 to 5 days after infection, but men can take up more than a month to appear.Almost 80% of women have mild symptoms or no symptoms of gonorrhea infection though. Also 10% of infected men have no symptoms.
Symptoms in women include:
Symptoms in men include:
Often gonorrhea is associated with other sexually transmitted diseases, and 50% of cases are associated with a chlamydia infection.
The doctor may perform cultures of cervix, urethra, rectum, or pharynx where it is suspected gonococcal infection. The sample is collected with a cotton tip of a toothpick and transported in appropriate media to the laboratory. They left a few days in a special culture and observed for Neisseria gonorrhoeae grows.
The treatment of gonorrhea is theoretically simple, being a bacterial infection needs antibiotic treatment. The problem is that the bacteria have developed resistance to antibiotics such as penicillin. Currently is usually used intramuscular ceftriaxone and other antibiotic associated usually doxycycline for frequent simultaneous chlamydial infection.
Sexual partners should see a doctor to rule out an exploration and asymptomatic gonorrhea. In case of positive cultures despite having no symptoms treatment must also be performed.
This disease leaves no residual antibodies that can prevent a new infection so the fact of having it once does not prevent new episodes. The best prevention is always using a condom during sex.
Between 15 and 20% of gonococcal infections progress to PID. This complication usually occurs especially with menstruation to lose part of mucosal barriers. It is manifested by fever, lower abdominal pain, increased vaginal discharge and can go with abnormal vaginal bleeding. Pelvic inflammatory disease can cause abscesses in the fallopian tubes enough to cause infertility or ectopic pregnancy risk by alteration in the normal function of the fallopian tubes.
In men it can cause epididymitis, and if it is not an obstruction in the ducts of the testicles which also produce sterility.
Disseminated gonorrhea is rare, but it occurs in about 3% of people suffering from gonorrhea. The bacterium is no longer located in the genital tract and spreads through the body via the bloodstream. The symptoms of this complication are fever, chills, general ill feeling, joint pain, joint swelling, pain in the tendons of the wrist or heel, rash. Rarely disseminated gonorrhea may be complicated by an infection of the heart valves (endocarditis) or the membranes covering the brain (meningitis).
Pregnant women may present without symptoms but can transmit the infection to the fetus. In these women there is an increased incidence of septic abortion, infection of the bag of waters, of premature rupture of the amniotic sac of early labor or postpartum infection.
The most common fetal complication of gonorrhea is the eye infection that can compromise vision of the newborn. To avoid it is administered to all newborns antibiotic ointment in the immediate postpartum period. More rarely may cause a generalized infection reach the joints.
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