Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection. Education and prevention are the two best tools to stop it from spreading.
Although much has been said and written about sexually transmitted infections (STI) in recent years, gonorrhea remains one of the most widespread infections, including in youth between the ages of 15 and 24.
Gonorrhea is caused by a bacteria called Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It is transmitted by penetration of the penis in the vagina, mouth or anus. It is incorrect to claim that an infected person will be aware that he/she is infected, since most individuals have no particular symptoms. If symptoms do appear, they resemble the following:
- pain during urination or intercourse
- pain to the rectum or in the lower abdomen
- abnormal discharge from the penis, vagina or anus
- sore throat if the transmission was oral-genital
Without treatment, the infection can lead to complications such as pain in the lower abdomen, infertility or problems during pregnancy. Additionally, in a large proportion of cases, gonorrhea is coupled with chlamydia, another STI. If symptoms are present, the diagnosis requires a specimen from the cervix (for women), the urethra (for men), from the throat or anus. Although it is unpleasant, this technique is painless. If there are no symptoms, a simple urine specimen is sufficient.
Treatment and prevention
Because gonorrhea is a bacterial infection, treatment is based on taking antibiotics. It is crucial to inform all sexual partners possibly infected so they can seek treatment and prevent spreading the disease. It should be noted that the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux provides a free treatment program enabling individuals to obtain the medication free of charge upon presenting a prescription and a valid healthcare card.
Wearing a condom for the entire duration and for all sexual activity (vaginal, oral or anal) is the best way to prevent contracting and spreading gonorrhea. Simple to use, easy to carry, and inexpensive, a condom can protect your health and your partners’. It should be an integral part of your sexual habits, unless you have only one sexual partner, who is stable and healthy.
If you have received a diagnosis for gonorrhea, here is some advice:
- Ask yourself about your sexual habits. Find out how to maintain healthy and safe sexual practices from a healthcare professional.
- For effective treatment, make sure to follow the doctor’s and pharmacist’s instructions.
- During treatment, abstain from sexual activity or wear a condom.
- Your pharmacist can offer advice on the type of condom that is best tailored to your preferences and on how to use it.
Sexually transmitted diseases are part of the uncertainties of life. If you have been diagnosed with one, don’t judge yourself and don’t be embarrassed. It can happen to anyone. However, take the appropriate measures so it doesn’t happen again and to prevent the unpleasantness for others.
Remember that your pharmacist is always there to help you and to answer your questions concerning any health issues!