Pediatric Gonorrhea

Pediatric Gonorrhea

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Summary

Pediatric gonorrhea is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) that impacts both males and females. It can cause infertility if left untreated.

Expanded overview

Gonorrhea is a commonly occurring STI that can lead to further complications. Not everyone will develop symptoms, which can make diagnosing it difficult, but gonorrhea can still be passed with or without obvious warning signs. If left untreated, females can develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can damage the reproductive system and cause infertility. PID affects approximately 40 percent of the women with gonorrhea.

Causes

Gonorrhea is an infection caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae that affects the eyes, mouth, throat, rectum and vagina.

Risk factors

There are several risk factors that can increase the chance of gonorrhea:

  • Having a cut – The disease enters the blood stream through an opening in the skin (like a cut).
  • Having a mother with chlamydia – It is possible for a mother to infect her child during vaginal childbirth.
  • Being sexually active – Those that are sexually active have a greater risk of contracting gonorrhea. Further, the more sexual partners you have, the more likely you are to get gonorrhea. Being with a partner that has had multiple partners also increases your risk.
  • Weakened immune system – Immune systems can be weakened by HIV/AIDS, immune-suppressing medications (organ transplants) or other reasons.

Symptoms

Most people with gonorrhea will not experience symptoms. If symptoms are present, they will appear two to 30 days after the infectious encounter.

Symptoms can include:

  • Bleeding from the genitals or rectum
  • Burning during urination
  • Discharge from the throat, penis, rectum or vagina
  • Irregular menstruation (periods)
  • Pain in lower abdomen (belly) that typically only affects women
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Rectal pain
  • Sepsis (a possibly deadly complication from the infection), especially during pregnancy
  • Swelling or pain in the testicles

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