Gonorrhea is a widespread disease, which belongs to a group of sexually transmitted diseases together with syphilis, AIDS and chlamydia infections.


Gonorrhea is an infectious disease cause by bacterium known as Neisseria gonorrhoeae. This bacterium spreads by body fluids during sexual intercourse and other sexual activities such as oral sex. The bacterium usually enters the reproductive system of the infected person. Bacteria have the ability to penetrate deep into the mucous membranes and further spread. In case that the transmission happened during oral sex, the bacteria can affect the oral cavity and cause condition resembling streptococcal tonsillitis.


The number of reported cases of gonorrhea is not so high and in many countries it may suggest that gonorrhea is actually much less frequent than syphilis. Of course, this is not true. It is caused by the fact that people with gonorrhea are often ashamed and treat themselves by antibiotics without consulting a doctor. This is unadvisable as this leads to excessive overuse of antibiotics and occurrence of bacterial strains resistant to antibiotics.


The symptoms are different in men and women. In women, it is often asymptomatic and therefore more insidious. The germs spread throughout the genital tract causing inflammation. The woman is infectious and can infect other potential sexual partners. The inflammation often has a chronic course causing irreversible damage with strictures to the Fallopian tubes, thus resulting in sterility. Symptoms of active gonorrhea including burning sensation during urination and mucopurulent discharge are rather positive as they lead to proper diagnosis and therapy. In men, the disease is usually symptomatic causing the above-mentioned burning sensations and purulent discharge from the urethra (the so-called “bon-jour drops”). The area around the glans of the penis is reddish. The disease may be complicated by development of prostatitis and epididymitis. These conditions manifest with fever and unpleasant pain (including painful erection and ejaculation). Untreated process can cause infertility as in women.


Note: If the transmission is oral, the infection causes tonsillitis-like condition with sore throat, white coats on tonsils and tonsil enlargement.


Symptomatic forms are usually quickly diagnosed. The doctors usually send swabs for microbiological examination, which confirms the presence of Neisseria.


The best prevention is non-promiscuous sexual behavior and preference of safe sex with a condom. 


The gonorrhea is relatively easy treatable by antibiotic therapy. Microbiologic examination not only confirms bacterial presence but also evaluates its sensitivity to various antibiotics and this allows us to choose the right one.


Jiri Stefanek, MD  Author of texts: Jiri Stefanek, MD
 Contact: jiri.stefanek@seznam.cz
 Sources: basic text sources