Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Men usually experience symptoms in two to fourteen days after exposure to the bacteria. Symptoms begin with a tingling sensation in the urethra during urination; in two to four hours urination becomes very painful and is accompanied by a pus-like discharge. As the condition progresses, the pain worsens, and the discharge becomes thick and is produced in greater amounts.
Women, on the other hand, may experience no symptoms at all until the condition is quite advanced. In the early stages, a gynecologist may be able to detect slight cervical inflammation or light vaginal discharge during a pelvic examination. If the condition is not detected and treated, it can progress to the point that urination becomes painful, urgent, and frequent. Even at this advanced stage, gonorrhea is often mistaken for a bladder infection unless a thick, pus-like discharge is present.
If it is not treated promptly, gonorrhea can develop into prostitis or urethritis in men. In women, it can spread to the fallopian tubes and uterus, causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which, in turn, can lead to infertility. The bacteria also can travel through the bloodstream to other parts of the body, potentially causing heart Problems or arthritis.
Signs and Symptoms
Conventional Medical Treatment
Because gonorrhea is so difficult to self-diagnose, sexually active adults who are not in a monogamous relationship should be tested for gonorrhea annually. To diagnose the condition, your physician or gynecologist conducts a pelvic examination, checking for inflammation or discharge; if either is present, the doctor will collect a specimen of the discharge or infected tissue for further testing.
Gonorrhea is a highly contagious disease. If you are diagnosed with gonorrhea, your doctor will ask that you contact all present (and, if necessary, past) sexual partners. Antibiotics, such as the Ceftriaxone (which is taken in a single dose) plus doxycyline may be prescribed. Doxycyline is prescribed for 7 days to treat chlamydia, which often occurs simultaneously with gonorrhea.
Complementary and Alternative Treatments
Nutrition and Supplementation
Although diet doesn't have a direct role in treating or preventing sexually transmitted diseases, supplementation can help. Follow the daily guidelines below:
(Consult your health care provider regarding the duration of treatment.)
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Acupuncture Although acupuncture cannot prevent or cure gonorrhea, it can be used to help fortify the immune system so that the body is better able to fight this bacterial intruder. This modality also can offer pain relief, reduce a fever, and lessen inflammation.
Chinese Herbal Therapy See your practitioner for a full diagnosis; strong herb formulas may be prescribed.
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