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What is Pharyngeal Gonorrhea?

Pharyngeal gonorrhea is a bacterial infection caused by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, affecting the throat. It's often a silent assailant, with many experiencing no symptoms, yet it poses significant health risks if untreated. Through vivid imagery, we'll explore its transmission, signs, and the importance of early detection. Curious about how it's diagnosed and treated? Keep reading to uncover the crucial steps to safeguard your health.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Pharyngeal gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease that is also known as gonorrhea of the throat or oral gonorrhea. Instead of the main infection that occurs on or near the genitals, this form of the illness causes infection with the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae in the throat, typically as a result of oral sex with an infected partner. When symptomatic, pharyngeal gonorrhea can cause an extremely sore throat, but not all people show symptoms of the illness.

The fact that pharyngeal gonorrhea may be asymptomatic can be significant. While some people might recover without treatment, they may also run the risk of carrying the bacteria and infecting partners with repeated oral sexual activity. This type of illness has shown up in high proportions of teens who engage in oral sexual activities in groups, and until it is treated, it can continue to be passed around. A high incidence of this illness has further been noted in some male homosexual groups if they fail to practice safer sex.

Pharyngeal gonorrhea may be prevalent in teens who engage in oral sexual activities in groups.
Pharyngeal gonorrhea may be prevalent in teens who engage in oral sexual activities in groups.

When pharyngeal gonorrhea is accompanied by symptoms, they usually occur within a week of when the infection was first transmitted. Most often what people notice is a dry, hoarse or extremely sore throat. Slight fever or general flu-like symptoms may occur at the same time, and cases of pharyngeal gonorrhea are very often dismissed by people as signs the onset of a flu or cold. Hopefully, those infected will make the connection between the symptoms, and any risky engagements in the last few weeks and seek treatment by a doctor.

People with pharyngeal gonorrhea may experience flu-like symptoms.
People with pharyngeal gonorrhea may experience flu-like symptoms.

At a doctor’s office, people may have a throat culture that confirms the presence of Neisseria. When confirmed, doctors usually prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection. Doctors generally give guidelines to patients on when they can resume normal sexual activities, but these may vary depending on what type of antibiotics are employed and whether these adequately address the infection.

Pursuing safer sex practices may help prevent pharyngeal gonorrhea.
Pursuing safer sex practices may help prevent pharyngeal gonorrhea.

At the same time, anyone with pharyngeal gonorrhea needs to consider potential sources of infection. This disease doesn’t occur by chance and results by passing bacteria during specific engagement in certain behaviors. If people catch the illness early, they may have a good sense if their partner(s), need to be informed. These partners need to get tested for the disease and may require treatment too. Without everyone in the loop being tested and getting appropriate assistance, the illness can still get passed back and forth.

A doctor may diagnose pharyngeal gonorrhea by performing a throat culture.
A doctor may diagnose pharyngeal gonorrhea by performing a throat culture.

Clearly, it’s also useful to pursue safer sex practices. Condoms should be worn no matter the type of sexual intercourse, to avoid direct contact between mucus membranes, mouth, and genitals. They can lower incidence of disease and protect partners from exchanging bacteria or viruses that cause illness like gonorrhea.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent TheHealthBoard contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Learn more...
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent TheHealthBoard contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Learn more...

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Discussion Comments

Pippinwhite

"Teens who engage in oral sexual activities in groups"? Clearly, I am getting very, very old. I didn't think I was, but I must be if this kind of activity is news to me (teens doing it, anyway).

At least antibiotics will treat it, but it underlines yet again the importance of using a fresh condom for every sex act, particularly if you are not monogamous.

I swear, when I saw that bit about "sexual activities in groups, " I swear I thought about that Tom Lehrer song, "I Got it from Agnes." There's the line, "whatever we get, we share!" So apropos for this topic. Unreal.

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    • Pharyngeal gonorrhea may be prevalent in teens who engage in oral sexual activities in groups.
      By: pressmaster
      Pharyngeal gonorrhea may be prevalent in teens who engage in oral sexual activities in groups.
    • People with pharyngeal gonorrhea may experience flu-like symptoms.
      By: berc
      People with pharyngeal gonorrhea may experience flu-like symptoms.
    • Pursuing safer sex practices may help prevent pharyngeal gonorrhea.
      By: yaskii
      Pursuing safer sex practices may help prevent pharyngeal gonorrhea.
    • A doctor may diagnose pharyngeal gonorrhea by performing a throat culture.
      By: DragonImages
      A doctor may diagnose pharyngeal gonorrhea by performing a throat culture.
    • Oral sex can spread gonorrhea to the throat, which is known as pharyngeal gonorrhea.
      By: Imagery Majestic
      Oral sex can spread gonorrhea to the throat, which is known as pharyngeal gonorrhea.
    • Pharyngeal gonorrhea can cause an extremely sore throat.
      By: staras
      Pharyngeal gonorrhea can cause an extremely sore throat.