GONORRHEA AND INFERTILITY (Part 2)

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Last week, we started a topic on Gonorrhea and Infertility. We discussed the causes, risks, signs and symptoms. This week, we will discuss effects on fertility, prevention, give advice on what to do when infected with gonorrhea, diagnosis and treatment.

EFFECT OF GONORRHEA ON FERTILITY

Untreated gonorrhea may lead to life-altering consequence when trying to conceive such as:
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) – this is when the bacterium scar the uterus and fallopian tubes of women leading to blockage in the tubes and hence, complications in pregnancy or infertility. This disease can occur within 2 days to 3 weeks of exposure to gonorrhea.

Ectopic or Tubal pregnancy – this is the inability of the fertilized egg to implant due to the cyst (blockage) formed by gonorrhea. Fertilization may take place outside of the womb leading to pains in the pelvic region and even possible death.

Epididymitis – this is when the epididymis located in the testicles are inflamed leading to a blockage in sperm movement. Gonorrhea can cause serious damage in the male reproductive organ if not treated on time.

PREVENTION

• The safest way to prevent gonorrhea or other STDs is to abstain from sex.
• If you must engage in sexual activities, always use a condom.
• Be open with your sexual partners about your STD status.
• If your partner is having any symptoms of gonorrhea, avoid any sexual contact and advise them to seek medical attention in order to prevent transmission.
• Limit the numbers of sexual partners to one.
• Have regular gonorrhea screening.

What to do if you have gonorrhea?

If you suspect you may be infected with gonorrhea, you should refrain from sexual activity and contact your doctor right away. At your medical appointment, be prepared to do the following:

• Describe your symptoms in detail.
• Talk about your sexual history.
• Supply the contact information for any previous sexual partners so that the public health officers of the hospital can contact them on your behalf confidentially if you consent.

• Let your sexual partner or partners know they should get tested for gonorrhea bacteria as soon as possible.
• If you have been prescribed antibiotics, ensure that you complete the entire course of treatment because if you take antibiotics for a short period of time, the bacteria will be more likely to develop resistance and the infected individual may not be completely treated.
• After 1 – 2 weeks of treatment, ensure you follow up with your doctor to confirm your status with a repeat test.

Diagnosis

Gonorrhea should only be diagnosed by the specialist healthcare provider. This could be done by using a swab stick to take fluid from the vagina, rectum, penis, throat or any region that shows symptoms of gonorrhea. In cases of joint infection, blood may be withdrawn for analysis by inserting needle into the infected joint to withdraw fluid. There are two different methods to analyze gonorrhea.
• The first technique is a quick and simple test. Although, it does not guarantee 100% accuracy. It involves staining the sample fluid or blood collected with a dye for examination under a microscope. If the dye reacts with the cells viewed under the microscope, it means gonorrhea may be present.
• The second technique involves placing the sample of fluid or blood on a petri-dish and incubating for days under ideal conditions that allows growth of bacteria. If gonorrhea is present in, a colony of gonorrhea bacteria will grow.

Treatment of Gonorrhea

Most gonorrhea transmissions may be treated with modern antibiotics. However, there are no over-the-counter medications for gonorrhea. If you suspects that you may have contracted gonorrhea, first seek medical attention from a qualified doctor.
The most known medication for gonorrhea is:
• either a single antibiotic injection of ceftriaxone into the buttocks or,
• a single oral dose of antibiotic medication azithromycin (Zithromax).
In some developed countries, healthcare professionals are required by law to report diagnoses to the public health authorities who will then identify, contact, test, and treat any sexual partners of the person who has been diagnosed with gonorrhea to help prevent transmission of the disease.

CONCLUSION

Globally, gonorrhea has reached epidemic proportions. It is the most common cause of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and, as a result, infertility. The bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae is responsible for the prevalent sexually transmitted disease (STD) gonorrhea in both men and women. Gonorrhea may easily spread among people who are sexually active with no precautions most especially teenagers.
If you detect any concerning signs or symptoms, such as a burning feeling when you urinate or a pus-like discharge from your penis, vagina, or rectum, ensure you make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. Also, if your spouse or partner has been diagnosed with