Gonorrhoea is caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, a bacterium that can grow and multiply easily in the mucus membranes of the body. Gonorrhoea bacteria can grow in the warm, moist areas of the reproductive tract, including the cervix(opening of the womb), uterus (womb) and fallopian tubes (egg canals) in women, and in the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body) in women and men. The bacteria can also grow in the mouth, throat and anus.

Not all people infected with gonorrhoea have symptoms, so knowing when to seek treatment can be tricky. When symptoms do occur, they often appear from two to ten days after exposure, but can take up to 30 days

The main decision once a diagnosis of gonorrhea has been made, either definitively or presumptively, is whether to treat the patient as an outpatient or to hospitalize him or her.

For males, treatment is always outpatient for genital infection; however, admission may be necessary for complications such as disseminated gonococcal infection (DGI) or gonococcal arthritis.

In females, the decision is much more difficult, because the risk of complications is much higher. In light of high rates of noncompliance, reinfection, and poor follow-up, some clinicians advocate admitting a female patient whenever a question of a complication such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is present, particularly in the adolescent population.

Many institutions have attempted to quantify abnormalities found on pelvic examination (ie, the PID score) in an attempt to admit those patients with a higher likelihood of complications.

In cases in which future fertility is at risk, most physicians are fairly aggressive, especially in situations in which the patient is very young or unfamiliar to them.

Many physicians admit patients who have corneal involvement for treatment with IV antibiotics. These patients can be discharged once the infection is under control and the corneal infection is improving.

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