Health Department

Joel Strasz - Public Health Director
Kathy Janer - Public Health Nursing Manager
Melissa Maillette - Emergency Preparedness & Health Education Manager
Amy Revette - WIC Manager
Mark Pickell - Business Services Manager
Joel Kwiatkowski - Environmental Health Manager
Dr. Kirk Herrick - Medical Director
Dr. Howard Hurt - Medical Examiner
Bay County Health Department
1200 Washington Avenue
Bay City, Michigan 48708
Voice: (989) 895-4009
Fax: (989) 895-4014
Health Information Line: (989) 895-4192

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in the United States.

Gonorrhea is an infection of the mucous membranes of the body. These include such areas as the vagina, urethra (tube that leads from the bladder), rectum, and throat.

SYMPTOMS

The symptoms of Gonorrhea in a male will usually be a discharge from the penis and/or burning when urinating. He will usually notice one of these symptoms within 2-7 days from the time of contact. However, SOME MEN WHO HAVE GONORRHEA DO NOT HAVE SYMPTOMS, but can still pass the infection to their sex partner(s).

Not all females notice the signs of Gonorrhea. Some women may notice a vaginal discharge that is heavier or thicker than what is normal for them or may have vaginal bleeding after sex. A burning sensation when urinating may also be noticed. Often the symptoms are so slight that the woman does not become alarmed.

Gonorrhea can also spread to the throat and rectum. Often there are no symptoms, but sometimes a sore throat or a rectal discharge might be noticed.

TRANSMISSION

Gonorrhea is passed from one person to another during sexual contact, usually intercourse.  This can include penis-vagina contact, oral-genital contact and penis-rectum contact.

DIAGNOSIS

Laboratory tests are needed to diagnose a Gonorrhea infection.  The test (a culture) is taken from any place that might be infected, like the cervix, urethra, rectum or throat.

TREATMENT

Gonorrhea is treated with medicines called antibiotics.  Gonorrhea can be cured but damage done to any body organs may be permanent.  If you believe you have an infection, contact your doctor or the STD Clinic at the Saginaw County Department of Public Health (Room 312).  YOU CAN HAVE GONORRHEA AND HAVE NO SYMPTOMS.

COMPLICATIONS

An untreated Gonorrhea infection in a man can spread to the upper urogenital tract and eventually reach the testicles causing swelling and soreness.  A man could become sterile (unable to father children) when this happens.

Because women do not notice symptoms of Gonorrhea, many develop Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).  This is when the infection spreads to the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries causing abdominal cramping and pain.  A woman can become sterile (unable to have children) if the organs are badly damaged.

Gonorrhea can enter the bloodstream and infect the joints causing them to swell and be very sore.  This condition is known as gonococcal arthritis.

PREVENTION

Use of a condom (rubber) during sexual intercourse is the best way to help prevent getting some sexually transmitted diseases (infection).  There is evidence to conclude condoms prevent HIV transmission in males and females, and that they could reduce the risk of Gonorrhea for men.  Additional studies are needed to determine effectiveness for other STDs.

The more sexual partners you have, the greater your chance of getting an infection.

Do not have intercourse with anyone who has an infection or is being treated for an infection.

Do not use feminine sprays or douches.  They can change the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina and increase your chances of getting a vaginal infection.