It might be scary or difficult to think about, but if you've even had one sexual partner, there's a chance you have a sexually transmitted infection or disease (STI or STD). Among STIs and STDs, gonorrhea is among the top three most common in the United States.
The gonorrhea CDC fact sheet estimates that there were about 1.6 million new gonorrhea infections in 2018 alone, most of which happened to people in the 15-24 age bracket.
These statistics make people uncomfortable, but they underscore how important it is to get regularly tested. A gonorrhea test is quick and easy, so there's no reason to hesitate.
To assess your chances and understand the infection and disease, read this article about what gonorrhea is and how you can seek diagnosis and treatment.
What Is Gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is a common STI in the United States, only beat out by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and chlamydia. Sexual interactions mostly spread sexually transmitted infections and diseases. However, these diseases can spread in other ways in rare cases.
Gonorrhea, much like other STIs, also does not only affect the genital areas. While the genital area is the most common area to show signs and symptoms of an infection, the infection can occur elsewhere or spread to another area. For gonorrhea, the genital area, rectum, and throat can all show signs and symptoms of an infection.
Left untreated, gonorrhea can lead to more serious, permanent health conditions. Women can develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and experience ectopic pregnancies, infertility, blocked fallopian tubes, and chronic pain. Men can develop chronic pain and infertility. Additionally, it increases the chances of catching HIV.
Risk Factors for Gonorrhea
If you are sexually active, you are at risk for gonorrhea, among many other STIs and STDs. The only way to completely avoid catching gonorrhea is to abstain from sexual interactions. Both men and women are equally able to catch gonorrhea, although lifestyle choices can affect the likelihood of catching it.
As with all other STDs and STIs, your risk for catching gonorrhea increases with your increased number of sexual interactions and partners.
Men who are sexually active and have sex with other men should seek testing at least once every year. Women under 25 or who have new or multiple sex partners are also advised to get tested at least yearly. If you fit into these categories, you are at high risk.
Your risk of infection also increases if you are having unprotected sex. While it is possible to transmit STIs and STDs while still protected, there is a much smaller chance of transmission.
People who have been in committed, long-term monogamous relationships and have tested negative are generally safe from STIs.
Causes of Gonorrhea
Gonorrhea is one of the oldest STIs on record. It was originally coined "gonorrhea" by a Greek physician, Galen, before 200 AD. Despite not having its official name, gonorrhea is likely to predate Galen due to many previous references to the disease going back all the way to 2600 BC.
Because of its ancient nature, it's difficult to understand the origins of the disease.
With modern science, we can understand that gonorrhea is mostly caused by having sexual interactions with someone who has already been infected. Gonorrhea can be easily transferred to a sexual partner through vaginal, anal, and oral sex.
In unfortunate cases, pregnant women can pass on gonorrhea infections to their children through birth.
Signs and Symptoms of Gonorrhea
The signs and symptoms of gonorrhea can slightly differ for men and women and the source of infection. It is important to understand that gonorrhea, much like many other STIs, might not show symptoms at first. Many people become infected without knowing and continue to have sex. This lack of early detection is what makes gonorrhea so common and so risky.
Gonorrhea from vaginal sex can cause painful sex, swollen lymph nodes around the groin, painful urination, and unusual discharge for both men and women. Men could also experience swollen testicles, while women could experience bleeding between periods.
If you have gotten gonorrhea from oral sex (or in rare cases, if you've kissed someone with oral gonorrhea), you can experience:
- Red, sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
If you've gotten gonorrhea from anal sex, you could experience:
- Rectal discharge
- Rectal itching or soreness
- Painful bowel movements
- Rectal bleeding
If you're at all concerned that you're showing these symptoms, you need to see a doctor right away.
How Is Gonorrhea Diagnosed?
Gonorrhea can be easily diagnosed by a healthcare professional who orders a test and analyzes the results. Tests can be done on urine. If gonorrhea is caught early, it can be treated and will vanish quickly with prescription antibiotics.
Tests for Gonorrhea
A commercial urine test from Ulta Lab Tests is a highly accurate and reliable way to get a diagnosis and next steps from your health care provider. Some of the benefits of buying a gonorrhea urine test are:
- Secure online results
- No need for insurance
- No referral requirements
- Great pricing
- Satisfaction 100% guaranteed
Get Started with Gonorrhea Testing
The causes and symptoms of gonorrhea are very similar to many other STIs and STDs, but the results can be very different. Left undetected and untreated, gonorrhea can lead to serious, permanent health conditions. That's why it's so important to get tested often and seek treatment immediately.
Ulta Lab Tests can become a part of your regimen for pristine sexual health. We offer tests with high accuracy without the embarrassing swabbing of most STD tests. In turn, you can make informed decisions about your health.
You can save yourself the embarrassment of an STD appointment with your doctor by getting tested privately.
Order your Gonorrhea test today to get confidential results online within the next two days!
Take control of your health with Ulta Lab Tests.