Gonorrhea is an infectious sexually transmitted disease. This disease involves the mucous
membranes of the urogenital tract. Gonorrhea is much more obvious in males because they
develop an acute discharge of pus from the urethra. Scarce when it starts, it becomes
thicker and heavier and causes frequent urination. When urination takes place, there will
be a burning sensation. If the prostate becomes infected, the passage of urine is partly
obstructed. In females the infection occurs in the urethra, the vagina, or the cervix.
Although discharge and irritation of the vaginal mucous membranes may be severe. Nearly
few or no early symptoms will appear. Gonorrhea is diagnosed by staining a smear of the
discharge to expose the bacteria. Treatment in the early stages is usually effective. If the
disease is untreated in the male, the early symptoms may subside, but the infection may
spread to the testicles causing sterility. In the untreated female the infection usually
spreads from the cervix into the uterus and fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory
disease. Severe pain may occur, or the infection may stay behind with few or no
symptoms. While doing this, it will be gradually damaging the tubes and leaving the
woman sterile. In both sexes the gonococcus may enter the bloodstream, resulting in
arthritis, heart inflammation, or other diseases. Gonorrhea in pregnant women may be
transmitted to the infant during birth and may, if untreated, cause a serious eye infection.
Penicillin is commonly used against gonorrhea, although over the years an increasing
number of penicillin resistant strains have been found. Other effective antibiotics are
tetracycline, spectinomycin, and the newer ones called cephalosporins. One antibiotic
called ceftriaxone can cure uncomplicated gonorrhea, including infections resistant to
penicillin, with a single injection. Gonorrhea increased greatly in the U.S. almost reaching
epidemic proportions in adolescents and young adults. In most large cities clinics have
been established where young people can get treatment. One of the most difficult tasks in
controlling gonorrhea is locating all recent sexual contacts of an infected person in order
to prevent further spread of the disease.