Gonorrhea Symptoms in Women
Gonorrhea is a very common sexually transmitted disease. The disease affects both men and women, especially those aged 24 and under. However, the severity of the disease is often worse in women, particularly if it is left untreated. Untreated gonorrhea in women can lead to infertility, transmission to a child at birth, and to an increased risk for arthritis. Men may develop gonorrhea-related arthritis as well, but this is more common in women. With so much at stake, it’s important for all people who engage in unprotected sex to be tested for this disease on a regular basis.
However, it’s always better to keep from getting gonorrhea in the first place. Fortunately, this can be easily accomplished by choosing to have sex with only one partner and/or to use condoms each and every time one engages in vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
Common Gonorrhea Symptoms in Women
Women who have been infected with gonorrhea will typically develop symptoms within two weeks of contracting the disease. Not all women develop symptoms, however. In fact, women are less likely to develop and/or notice symptoms than men. Many women mistake gonorrhea’s milder symptoms for a simple bladder or yeast infection. This mistake is dangerous since untreated gonorrhea can lead to serious complications. Symptoms that may occur and that women should be aware of include:
- Pain when urinating
- Needing to urinate more frequently
- Pink eye
- Anal itching
- Throat pain
- Discomfort, bleeding, or discharge from the anus or vagina
- Pain during intercourse
- Thick vaginal discharge
- Unexplained fever
- Bleeding after sex
- Bleeding between menstrual periods
- Stomach pain
- Genital itching
Gonorrhea and Pregnancy
Gonorrhea is dangerous for all infected persons. However, it can be particularly dangerous for an expectant mother and her unborn child. If gonorrhea goes undetected and untreated during pregnancy, the risk of premature labor and stillbirth increases, even in otherwise healthy mothers. Furthermore, gonorrhea can be passed onto the child at birth, which can lead to infections and complications, which an infant may have a particularly difficult time warding off. Fortunately, gonorrhea can be treated both in pregnant women and in newborn babies.
Gonorrhea and Infertility
As mentioned, untreated gonorrhea can wreak havoc on the body, especially the female body. If not treated, gonorrhea can quickly progress and infect the fallopian tubes, the uterus, and/or the ovaries. If these problems persist, then permanent infertility can result.
The good news is that, if diagnosed early enough, gonorrhea is relatively easy to treat. Most doctors will simply prescribe a course of strong antibiotics to infected persons. There are even antibiotics safe enough for pregnant women. There are different types of antibiotics used in the treatment of gonorrhea, and only your doctor can determine which type is right for you. It is important, whatever antibiotics your doctor prescribes, that you take the full course of medication, even if symptoms improve or go away. You should also avoid engaging in unprotected sexual activity until you have finished the antibiotics and have tested negative for gonorrhea.
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