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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Gonococcal Infections
      Category : Health Centers > STDs

Gonococcal Infections

Alternate Names : Gonorrhea

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Gonococcal infections are caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria. These infections are usually acquired through sexual contact. A gonococcal infection may also be passed from mother to baby during childbirth.

What is going on in the body?

Humans are the only host for Neisseria gonorrhoeae. It is spread from person to person through sexual contact. It can spread through vaginal, anal, or oral sex. The bacteria can also be transmitted on contaminated fingers or sex toys. Gonococcal infections can also be spread from an infected mother to her baby during childbirth.

The infection can affect any mucuous membrane. It is most common in the following locations:

  • the eyes, especially in newborns
  • the rectum
  • the throat
  • the urethra in men
  • the vagina, cervix, and urethra in females
  • In women with gonorrhea, the bacteria can travel into the fallopian tubes and ovaries. The woman may develop pelvic inflammatory disease. Gonorrhea in males may spread to the testicles or the epididymis, which produces sperm.

    Sometimes the bacteria can spread through the bloodstream to other areas of the body. The infection may spread to the abdomen, heart, joints, spinal cord, brain, and liver.

    What are the causes and risks of the disease?

    Gonococcal infections are caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria. It is spread through sexual contact or during childbirth. Gonococcal infections are 1.5 times more common in men than in women. They are seen most often in teens and young adults. Following are some of the risk factors for gonococcal infections:

  • child abuse
  • childbirth in an infected, untreated mother
  • multiple sexual partners
  • unprotected sexual contact
  • use of an intrauterine device, or IUD, for birth control


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    Gonococcal Infections: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Danielle Zerr, MD
    Reviewer: Barbara Mallari, RN, BSN, PHN
    Date Reviewed: 09/24/01

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