Oral Gonorrhea

November 12, 2012

Oral Gonorrhea

Many people consider oral sex to be safe and gratifying. It does not lead to pregnancy, and lowers the risk of diseases such as HIV, chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea from infected partners. However, it can lead to conditions such as oral gonorrhea.

Causes

Oral gonorrhea, or pharyngeal gonorrhea, is a sexually transmitted infection of the pharynx, and is caused by gram-negative round bacteria known as Neisseria gonorrhoeae. You may acquire the oral gonorrhea symptoms upon contact with the yellowish-white pus-like fluids or exudates of the infected individuals. The exudates mix with the person’s vaginal fluids, seminal fluids, or mucus membranes near the anus and rectum. When your oral cavity comes in contact with these fluids during oral sex, the bacteria enters the mouth and establishes itself in your pharynx.

Symptoms

The bacterial infection of the pharynx can lead to symptoms such as sore throat and discomfort when swallowing food. Oral gonorrhea symptoms often resemble those of strep throat characterized by redness and white spots or whitish or yellow discharge. Many patients may also develop maoral gonorrhea, which is asymptomatic and clears off spontaneously without any treatment.

The oral gonorrhea symptoms are similar in men and women, and begin a few days after oral contact with the genital areas of individuals who are infected N. gonorrhoeae. Kissing an individual with oral gonorrhea does not transmit the disease in most cases. However, it is possible to acquire the infection upon direct contact with the fingers, penis or sex toys of the patient in rare cases.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of oral gonorrhea symptoms depends on isolation of the gonococcal bacteria from the throat. Your doctor may collect a throat swab and send it to the microbiology laboratory for further testing. Apart from observing the bacteria under the microscope, the technicians will try to grow the microbe in an artificial culture medium to conform the diagnosis.

Treatment

Most doctors will prescribe antibiotics to treat oral gonorrhea symptoms. It is, however, important to remember that many strains of N. gonorrhoeae are resistant to some antibiotics. Hence, your health care provider may choose more than one antibiotic to control the infection, depending on the strains prevalent in the geographical area. The infection may spread to other parts of the body via blood, especially in immunocompromised individuals. This can lead to serious systemic infections. You should also remember that N. gonorrhoeae is often associated with other pathogens such as Treponema pallidum and chlamydia trachomatis. Most antibiotics used to kill gonococci can kill these pathogens as well

Prevention

Oral gonorrhea symptoms can be prevented by avoiding contact with the fluids of the infected individuals. Condoms may offer some protection, although they are not fool-proof. If you are new to oral sex, or suspect infection, you should seek the guidance of a doctor or a sex educator. Oral sex is relatively safe in uninfected individuals. However, many experts believe that the risks of oral sex outweigh the advantages associated with it.

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