A common contagious venereal disease of the male urethra or the female vaginae transmitted by sexual contact; it is marked by inflammation of the mucous membrane of the genital tract, a purulent discharge and a painful, frequent urination.
Persons most commonly affected:
Young adults of both sexes but can affect any age group.
Organ or part of body involved:
Men — urethra and possibly spreading to affect bladder, prostate glands and testicles. Women — urethra and reproductive organs. The joints, especially wrists and elbows, ankles and knees, are commonly affected.
Symptoms and indications:
Men — burning pain on passing urine, which is cloudy and may contain pus, thick yellowish-green discharge from the penis (gleet), enlargement of glands in the groin. There may be pains in the joints and other organs, the bladder, testicles and prostate gland may become inflamed and tender. Women — may have fewer symptoms than men and these include yellowish-green vaginal discharge (gleet), burning pain on passing urine, which may contain pus. Also the Bartholin
Causes and risk factors:
The cause of the infection is the bacteria Neiseria gonorrhoea, which is spread mainly by sexual intercourse but occasionally through contact with infected discharge or underwear, towels, etc. The risk of contracting the infection increases if a person has sexual intercourse with many partners, without the use of condoms, but this is a common disease that can affect anyone. There is a danger of sterility and other complications through spread of the infection within the body, especially if it is not caught and treated in the early stages. A newborn baby may acquire a serious form of conjunctivitis during passage through the birth canal if the mother has gonorrhoea.
Can be prevented by avoiding sexual contact with someone who has the disease. Because the chance of contracting this and other venereal disease increases with the number of sexual partners, limiting the number of partners is the first step in prevention. Using condoms helps to reduce the risk of contracting gonorrhoea.