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What Does Gonorrhea Look Like in Women?

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: Emma Lloyd • updated: 4/5/2011

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease that is very common in the United States. In this article you will learn the signs and symptoms, transmission, treatment, and what does gonorrhea look like.

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    Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease that is the leading cause for several diseases in women. Over 6,000 new cases of gonorrhea occur per year in the United States alone. Gonorrhea is usually found in people between the ages of 15 and 30 and people with multiple sex partners.

    Neisseria is a specific bacterium that causes gonorrhea. Neisseria spreads rapidly through the contact of infected parts of the body. Gonorrhea primarily affects the vagina and infections can occur in the throat, eyes, and anus. In this article you will learn the signs and symptoms, transmission, treatment, and what does gonorrhea look like.

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    The Signs and Symptoms of Gonorrhea

    Although symptoms of gonorrhea may not appear at all; some people develop signs or symptoms within five days after infection. Some symptoms can take as long as 30 days to appear. Common symptoms include a burning sensation during urination, an increase in vaginal discharge, or vaginal bleeding between periods.

    The symptoms of gonorrhea in women are much milder than the symptoms in men. Some women having no symptoms at all. When gone untreated, women with gonorrhea can develop serious complications from the infection, regardless of the presence of symptoms.

    The symptoms of rectal infection include discharge, anal itching, soreness, bleeding, or painful bowel movements. Again, rectal infections can have no signs or symptoms.

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    Transmission of Gonorrhea

    The primary means of gonorrhea is unprotected sexual intercourse. Some believe that unprotected sexual intercourse is the only means of transmission, but this is an untrue statement. Gonorrhea can be transmitted through any type of oral genital stimulation or even mutual masturbation. The infections can occur in the throat, eyes, and anus. The bacteria thrives in moist areas of the body and tends to directly affect the skin of the body.

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    Treatment of Gonorrhea

    The treatment of gonorrhea usually includes a single dose of antibiotics. This will cure the infection, but reinfection can occur if one has further exposure to the bacteria. The best possible treatment for gonorrhea is avoidance of illness by using safe sex practices. Safe sex practices include avoiding casual sex, male or female condom use during the entire sexual encounter, knowing your partner's health history, and regular check-up testing for sexually-transmitted diseases.

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    The Dangers of Going Untreated

    If a woman with gonorrhea goes untreated, serious consequences can arise. The bacteria can travel from the cervix into the uterus, eventually reaching the fallopian tubes. This causes a condition called Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). Fifteen percent of women who have gonorrhea develop this disease. The disease can cause damage to the fallopian tubes and lead to infertility. It can also increase a woman's chance of having a ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is when the egg grows outside of the uterus, usually inside the fallopian tubes.

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    References

    Mayo Clinic: Gonorrhea - www.mayoclinic.com/health/gonorrhea/DS00180

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources: Women's Health On Gonorrhea - www.womenshealth.gov/faq/gonorrhea.cfm