Ever heard of ‘the clap’ before? Well, if you haven’t, you must have heard about people who feel a burning sensation when they pee.
A couple had just started dating after they had sex for the first time, the man began to feel this burning sensation while urinating. When he reported the sign to a doctor, he was asked to run some tests. After that, he was told he had gonorrhea. He left the doctor’s office, went back home and broke up with his girlfriend, and sold his possessions. He was readying himself to die. After a lot of assurances and discussion, close family members discovered that it was the name of the infection that caused him to do all that he did.
So many people are like this man and when they hear infections that have long spellings and big names, they fret and lose heart. It does not mean that this infection is less severe than the rest, far from it. An infection is an infection and can cause severe damage to the body. Asides from the burning sensation and all other symptoms, it is the discomfort that this infection gives that makes it all the more hated, and this infection is none other than Gonorrhea.
What Is Gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). You get it from having sex with someone who is infected with it. You may have heard people call it “the clap.” Both men and women can get it, though men get it more often than women.
This STI is caused by the bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It’s spread through sex, though a man doesn’t have to ejaculate in order to pass it on to their partner. So far there is a penetration, or skin to skin contact, there is a high possibility of transmission. Any of these forms of sex can transmit gonorrhea.
- Anal intercourse
- Oral intercourse (both giving and receiving)
- Vaginal intercourse
Just like other germs, you can get the bacteria that cause gonorrhea just from touching an infected area on another person. It could be the penis, vagina, mouth, or anus of someone with gonorrhea. Skin to skin contact with any of these areas of an infected person can transmit it to you.
Women who have gonorrhea can pass it to their baby during a vaginal delivery, although, babies born by C-section can’t get it from their mother. You can’t get gonorrhea by touching objects like toilet seats or clothes because these germs can’t live very long outside the body, so
Gonorrhea symptoms in men usually include:
- Burning when you pee
- Painful or swollen testicles
- White, yellow, or green discharge from your penis
Most women don’t have symptoms when they become infected. If they develop any symptoms, those symptoms are often mild. You might mistake those symptoms for something else. These symptoms are:
- Burning or pain when you urinate
- Sore throat
- Bleeding between periods
- More vaginal discharge than is typical
- Pain in your belly
- Pain when you have sex
Gonorrhea infection in your rectum, or rear end, if it is gotten through anal sex may cause:
- Pain when you poop
Gonorrhea can also infect your eyes, throat, or joints. You can also be infected but have no symptoms.
If you don’t get treatment, gonorrhea can cause serious and long-lasting problems, such as
- Increased chance of getting HIV
- Infection in other parts of your body like your skin or joints
Who are those who can have a higher chance of being infected?
You have a greater chance of getting this infection if
- you are young
- you are having sex with a new partner
- you are having sex with someone who has multiple sex partners
- you have multiple sex partners
- you have had the infection before
- you have other STIs
Gonorrhea can be diagnosed in a hospital or health facility. The physician would require you to give some samples for testing such as urine or swab from the cervix, urethra, penis, throat, or anus. If you test positive for the infection, you would be given some antibiotics. There are home kits that can be used to do a self-test for the infection. However, you would need to see a doctor prescribe the antibiotics for treatment.
Protect yourself, gonorrhea is very common. There are about 1.5 million reported cases of gonorrhea every year in Nigeria. To avoid, you have to avoid every form of sexual activity. If you cannot,
- use barrier methods of protection, such as condoms, during vaginal or anal sex
- make sure to use dental dams or condoms while having oral sex
- have one sex partner, avoid moving from person to person.
Abstinence remains the best protection against STIs. Make wise choices, stick with a partner, and go for test regularly.