Women health


What exactly is gonorrhea?

The bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae causes gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Through unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex, the infection spreads from person to person. It can affect the penis, vaginal area, and throat, among other body parts.

In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 555,608 new cases in the United States.

What is the treatment for gonorrhea?

Antibiotics can help with symptoms and may even cure gonorrhea infections if taken as directed. As soon as a diagnosis is made, treatment will begin.

Gonorrhea in the genital area

The CDC recommends that non-pregnant women with gonorrhea infections of the cervix, urethra, or rectum take these drugs at the same time:

  • A single dose of 250 milligrams (mg) ceftriaxone is injected into the muscle.
  • 1 g azithromycin (Zithromax), orally administered
  • If ceftriaxone isn't available, the following treatment options are suggested:
  • 400 mg cefixime (Suprax) in a single oral dose
  • 1 g azithromycin (Zithromax), orally administered
  • Ceftriaxone and cefixime both belong to the cephalosporin antibiotic class.

When left untreated, gonorrhea can lead to serious complications, so it's critical to seek treatment as soon as possible. With the right medications and prompt treatment, most cases of gonorrhea can be cured.

The Oral gonorrhea

Throat infections are more difficult to treat than genital infections. Although the same medications are prescribed for oral gonorrhea infections, they are less effective.

A throat culture may be performed five to seven days after treatment begins. This can assist them in determining whether or not the infection has been eradicated. If the infection does not clear up in a few days, you will need to continue treatment.

What if I told you...? For gonorrhea treatment, fluoroquinolone antibiotics like ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and ofloxacin (Floxin) are no longer recommended. In the United States, spectinomycin, another antibiotic used to treat gonorrhea, is no longer available.

What is the treatment for disseminated gonorrhea?

When N. gonorrhea infects the bloodstream, it causes disseminated gonorrhea, a rare complication. During the first phase of treatment, people with disseminated gonorrhea must be hospitalized. They should also see a doctor who specializes in infectious diseases.

Arthritis caused by gonococci

The CDC recommends that people with gonococcal arthritis receive an initial treatment of:

  • Every 24 hours, 1 g ceftriaxone is injected into the muscle or given intravenously.
  • 1 g azithromycin (Zithromax), orally administered

If a person is unable to take ceftriaxone due to a drug allergy, they may be given:

  • 1 g cefotaxime intravenously given every 8 hours
  • 1 g ceftizoxime intravenously given every 8 hours

The first phase lasts for at least 24 to 48 hours after the condition has shown signs of improvement. If the condition improves during the second phase, the gonorrhea patient will be switched to an oral antibiotic. The duration of the treatment should be at least one week.

Endocarditis caused by gonococcal meningitis

The CDC recommends the following treatment for people who have gonococcal meningitis or endocarditis:

  1. Every 12-24 hours, 1-2 g ceftriaxone is given intravenously.
  2. a single dose of 1 g azithromycin (Zithromax)

Intravenous feeding, also known as parenteral therapy, is also advised. Meningitis should be treated for at least ten days, while endocarditis should be treated for at least four weeks.

Is there a different treatment for gonorrhea in pregnant women?

The medications used to treat gonorrhea in pregnant women are essentially the same as those used to treat gonorrhea in non-pregnant women.

Treatment is required to prevent disease transmission to the baby or complications.

Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is a common symptom of gonorrhea in babies. As a preventative measure, some states mandate that all newborns receive antibiotic eye drops, such as erythromycin.

Pregnant women who have been diagnosed with gonorrhea should also be tested for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

What are the possible gonorrhea treatment side effects?   

When it comes to antibiotic therapy, one of the main concerns is side effects. All of the antibiotics recommended can alter the bacteria that normally live in the bowel or vaginal canal.

Women may be more susceptible to diarrhea or vaginal yeast infections as a result of this. Another common antibiotic side effect is gastrointestinal upset.

Cephalosporins can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  1. stomach ache
  2. rash
  3. reactions to allergens
  4. kidney failure

Azithromycin can cause a variety of side effects, including:

  1. stomach ache
  2. nausea
  3. diarrhea
  4. vomiting

Other possible side effects differ depending on the antibiotic in question.

What can be done to prevent gonorrhea?

Taking certain precautions can help prevent gonorrhea from spreading. There are also precautions that can be taken to avoid infection in the first place.

The most effective methods for preventing gonorrhea are to:

  1. abstain from sexual activity
  2. During vaginal, oral, or anal sexual intercourse, always use a condom.
  3. have a sexually monogamous partner who is not infected with the virus

Because gonorrhea rarely causes symptoms, it's critical for people who are sexually active to get tested on a regular basis. If their partner has been diagnosed with gonorrhea, this is especially important.

Consult your doctor about how often you should be tested for gonorrhea and other STIs.

Preventing gonorrhea transmission

Avoid having sexual intercourse for at least seven days after finishing treatment to reduce the risk of spreading gonorrhea to others. Encourage any sexual partners to see their own doctors for an evaluation if they haven't done so in the last 60 days.

If a gonorrhea patient is in a romantic relationship, their partner should be tested for the disease as well. While being treated for gonorrhea, it is still possible to contract gonorrhea.

If both partners have gonorrhea, they will receive the same treatment. Both must refrain from sexual activity until they have completed treatment and have been cured.

So, what's the bottom line?

Some of the drugs used to treat gonorrheas, such as penicillin and tetracyclines, have become resistant to the N. gonorrhea bacterium in recent years. This indicates that these drugs are less effective at treating and curing the infection.

As a result, nearly everyone in the United States who is treated will receive the same two antibiotics: ceftriaxone and azithromycin.

The bacterium may eventually develop resistance to even more of the drugs used to treat gonorrhea, according to research published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.

If gonorrhea is left untreated — or treated incorrectly — it can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in women and urethral scarring in men.

People who have recently been diagnosed with gonorrhea should also be tested for other sexually transmitted infections, such as:

  1. Syphilis
  2. Chlamydia
  3. Herpes
  4. HPV (humanoid papillomavirus)
  5. HIV


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