Gonorrhea: Symptoms, Treatments, & Home Remedies
Gonorrhea is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases that affect both men and women in different ways. And nearly 90 million new cases of gonorrhea occur every year. Also known as “the clap”, gonorrhea has been around for hundreds of years and is transmitted by a bacteria.
Gonorrhea is classified as a sexually transmitted disease (STD), caused by a bacteria called Neisseria Gonorrhea. It mostly affects the damp areas of the body including the following:
- Reproductive tract
While having unprotected sex is one of the major transmitters of gonorrhea, it can also be caused by any sexual contact via the mouth, penis, vagina, or anus with a gonorrhea-infected person. It can also be transferred from an infected mother to her child during delivery. The bacteria can continue to inflame the sexual organs and lead to pelvic inflammatory diseases, or more serious inflammatory infections throughout the body.
When left untreated, the bacteria can easily spread to other sexual partners, and one doesn’t need to ejaculate in order to pass it on. By as simple as coming in contact with the infected area on a person, you can get gonorrhea.
Although, a point to note here is that the gonorrhea bacteria cannot survive outside the body for more than 2-3 seconds, so you cannot acquire it from any external sources, like the toilet seat, sharing food, water, etc.
Gonorrhea has different symptoms in men, women, and children. While some people may have prominently visible signs of the bacterium, others can have no symptoms at all and still be a positive career. People without any symptoms are called non-symptomatic carriers, and there is a huge chance of a spread of the disease through them because they cannot notice the disease and neither can their sexual partners. We will now look at the symptoms in further detail below:
Gonorrhea Symptoms in Men:
Some men may not have any noticeable symptoms, while other may show symptoms as follow:
- Burning and irritation while urination
- Swelling and pain in the prostate gland
- Increase in frequency of urination
- Thick and yellow discharge from the penis
- Continued sore throat
- Swelling of the penis opening
Gonorrhea Symptoms in Women:
In women, the symptoms are often not very clearly visible or identifiable. Although, in some cases, there might be the following symptoms:
- Burning, itching, and irritation in the vagina and cervix
- Urge to urinate often
- Thick yellow or green discharge from the vagina
- Spotting between periods
- Abdominal pain
- Inflammation of the cervix
- Pain while sexual intercourse
- Feeling of tiredness
Gonorrhea in Newborns:
- Irritation of the mucous membranes of the eyes (can also lead to blindness)
Oral or Rectal Gonorrhea symptoms:
- Sore throat
- Rectal pain
- Rectal discharge
These symptoms of gonorrhea usually appear between 2 to 14 days of coming into contact with the bacteria. In rare to rare cases, the infected person may also experience skin lesions, joint pain, and swelling. If not treated in time, it can also develop into meningitis, prostate cancer or endocarditis.
There is more than one way to diagnose gonorrhea. Mostly, a urine sample is taken for diagnosis. Other times, the doctor may take a swab sample of the fluid from your rectum, throat, or the cervix. A bacteria culture of the swab is performed in the lab to test for gonorrhea or chlamydia.
To get yourself tested for gonorrhea, you can go to a sexual health clinic, a young people’s clinic, or a private clinic. You can also buy a self-test kit for gonorrhea from the drug store, though, there is a risk that the results from this may not be very accurate.
For a urine sample, your doctor will ask you to not urinate for at least two hours before the test, because you might wash away the bacteria in such a case, thereby, compromising the test. Apart from being a bit uncomfortable, a test for gonorrhea is completely harmless and painless and. It should be done as soon as any of the symptoms start showing up.
Medical Treatment for Gonorrhea
This STD requires an immediate and thorough treatment. Gonorrhea, if not treated in time, can have serious complications and can also be life threatening. It also holds the risk of transmission through sexual partners, if and when not treated.
The most prevalent treatment for gonorrhea includes the use of antibiotics. These antibiotics include the use of ceftriaxone injections, in combination with two oral tablets that are either azithromycin or doxycycline. This treatment should be administered in a single go for it to be effective. This treatment also mitigates the risk of developing chlamydia, which often occurs in patients suffering from gonorrhea.
In the above treatment for gonorrhea, you have to make sure that you follow the medication as prescribed and do not miss out on any doses. It is also important that your sexual partner is also treated for the same, so as to prevent the risk of further transmission of the disease.
Sometimes, the gonorrhea bacteria develop resistance to the antibiotics. In such cases, one needs to get retested for the STD and thereby should follow up with an alternate treatment of antibiotics. Some of these antibiotics that do not work in killing the gonorrhea virus include penicillin, tetracycline, quinolones, and sulfa drugs.
If not treated properly and in time, gonorrhea can develop into Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), Disseminated gonococcal infection (DGI), and other serious conditions.
The above-mentioned treatment for gonorrhea can be availed from any sexual health care clinic near you. While medication can stop the infection from causing any further damages, it cannot reverse any lasting damage that has already been caused by the disease.
Other medical treatments for gonorrhea also include a 7-day course of antibiotics and dual therapy treatment. Scientists are also working on developing a vaccine to prevent the gonorrhea infection.
Home Remedies for Gonorrhea
Some of the most important home remedies for gonorrhea include the use of garlic, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin K, amino acids, apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil, yogurt, aloe Vera, exercise, mangosteen, and echinacea.
Zinc: One of the best ways to boost the immune system and keep your body running on a healthy course is zinc. This essential mineral can increase the number of antibodies and white blood cells, while also directly affecting the bacterial infection of gonorrhea. You can find zinc in a diverse number of mineral-heavy foods, including dark chocolate, oysters, and sesame seeds.
Garlic: Garlic and its important active ingredient, allicin, is another popular home remedy for gonorrhea. This is one of the most easily accessible and popular antibacterial foods that you can add to your diet, and it also happens to be versatile in culinary preparations. You can significantly boost the strength of your immune system and treat gonorrhea effectively by either consuming garlic normally or treat yourself with garlic extract, or even garlic in supplemental form!
Vitamin C: You’ve likely heard that vitamin C is one of the best ways to improve the health of the immune system, and when it comes to gonorrhea, anything that can improve your resistance to bacterial infections is a good thing. High concentrations of vitamin C can be found in various fruits and vegetables, particularly spinach, broccoli, and citrus fruits. Vitamin C, commonly known as ascorbic acid, also acts as an antioxidant and can help to reduce the inflammation and discomfort caused by the condition.
Apple Cider Vinegar: This versatile health tonic, particularly the vinegar part of the mixture, is a potent antimicrobial and antibacterial substance, so it can be used to directly treat gonorrhea. Whether consumed internally or even applied topically (apple cider vinegar in a bath or on a tampon), this substance can quickly eliminate the bacterial infection and prevent it from spreading. It can also help with reducing inflammation and pain.
Aloe Vera: Aloe vera is used for many different purposes, and there are many different species of this beneficial herb. One particular species, Barbadensismilla, should be used for gonorrhea, as others can actually cause illness or worsen the infection. Since gonorrhea has become resistant to many drugs, herbal remedies like aloe vera are often prescribed as complementary or alternative options, and aloe vera has shown remarkable success in removing bacterial infections and lowering inflammation.
Tea Tree Oil: Similar to apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil can be placed directly on a tampon to directly attack the bacteria for females suffering from gonorrhea. Tea tree oil has been proven to be a powerful antibacterial substance that can effectively neutralize the gonorrhea bacteria, while also providing a variety of other benefits to the body.
Avoid Sexual Intercourse: When suffering from gonorrhea, the inflammation and pain can make sex quite unpleasant, and can even worsen the condition. Furthermore, if you are with a new partner, you risk spreading the disease to them, and if you and your partner are both suffering from the condition, you are perpetuating the illness and making it more difficult for both of your bodies to handle and cure the condition.
Exercise: Keeping active and fit is a good way for your body’s immune system to also get a workout. By promoting blood flow, repair, and a high metabolism, exercise should be able to boost your immune system to more effectively eliminate bacterial infections like gonorrhea.
Mangosteen: This popular tropical fruit, with the scientific name of Garciniamangostana, has been used to treat gonorrhea for generations. The high concentration of vitamin C and a large variety of antioxidants make this fruit a powerful dietary defender against all bacterial infections, and can quickly cure you of gonorrhea if consumed regularly and combined with other alternative or formal gonorrhea treatments.
Echinacea: There are dozens of applications for echinacea, thanks to its impressive antibacterial and immune-boosting properties. Echinacea is also readily available at most grocery stores and health food shops. There are dozens of research studies supporting the antibacterial properties of this herb, and it has been shown to not only control the symptoms of gonorrhea but also eliminate the root bacteria and protect the body from further infection.
Although the symptoms are not always severe, and the formal treatment is not always effective (antibiotic resistant strains of gonorrhea), it is important to consult a doctor before embarking on any alternative or herbal remedy treatments for a sexually transmitted disease. The above remedies are suggestions for complementary treatments and home-based strategies, but should not fully replace antibiotic treatment, or at least medical consultation.
There are a few basic precautions that you can take to prevent gonorrhea or any other sexually transmitted disease:
- Practice safer sex;
- Have one sexual partner at a time;
- Use condoms;
Lastly, it is very important that you talk about STI’s with your sexual partners, so that better precautions can be taken. It is also essential to spread awareness about gonorrhea and other such diseases to prevent them from spreading.