Edit concept Question Editor Create issue ticket

Male Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is one of the most commonly recognized sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) worldwide, and gonococcal urethritis, characterized by urethral discharge and dysuria, is the predominant manifestation in males. Other less common forms of infection involve the rectum, the oropharynx, the conjunctiva, and a disseminated form with arthritis and cutaneous lesions. Clinical criteria supported by information obtained during history taking and microbiological studies are needed to make the diagnosis.


Presentation

Gonorrhea, caused by a gram-negative diplococcus Neisseria gonorrhoeae, is a well-recognized sexually transmitted infection throughout the world, with incidence rates peaking in the United States and Eastern Europe [1] [2]. It is most frequently diagnosed in the population of younger sexually active adults (aged between 15-24 years) [1] [2] [3]. African American or Hispanic ethnicity is a significant risk factor for the infection, as studies have found a 19-fold increased risk compared to Caucasians [1] [2] [3]. The transmission of N. gonorrhea mandates sexual contact, including rectal and orogenital, and several clinical forms of male gonorrhea have been described in the literature [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]:

  • Gonococcal urethritis - By far, the most important type of infection in males involves the urethra, in the form of acute anterior urethritis [1] [3]. Signs and symptoms, appearing after an incubation period of 1-10 days (although the mean onset is observed after 2-5 days), are urethral discharge followed by dysuria [2] [3]. At first, the discharge is mucoid or mucopurulent, but within the first 24 hours of symptom onset, it is evidently purulent and profuse and is the hallmark of male gonorrhea [1] [2] [3]. Discharge is accompanied by dysuria, but without the sense of urgency and increased urinary frequency [2] [4]. Complete resolution of symptoms after several months is the usual clinical progression, but various complications may arise, such as prostatitis (acute or chronic), epididymitis, seminal vesiculitis and other local infections [4]. In some cases, however, gonococcal urethritis can be completely asymptomatic, in which case a significant risk for transmission to other individuals exists [2] [3].
  • Rectal infection - Typically encountered in the men who are having sex with men (MSM) population (but also in women), rectal gonococcal infection is acquired by receptive anal intercourse [2]. Although many patients are asymptomatic, acute proctitis, presenting as tenesmus, pruritus, constipation, rectal pain, purulent rectal discharge and even bleeding, might develop [2] [3].
  • Gonococcal pharyngitis and conjunctivitis - Transmission of N. gonorrhea to the oropharynx or the eyes usually result in a mild or asymptomatic clinical presentation in males [3]. In rare cases, erythema and the presence of an exudate in the throat are noted, whereas photophobia, exudation, and local pain are seen in gonococcal conjunctivitis [2] [3].
  • Disseminated gonococcal infection (DGI) - In very few patients, hematogenous dissemination from localized infections can lead to bacteremia and systemic manifestations of the disease, most important being arthritis and various skin lesions [1] [2] [3] [4]. Gonorrhea is the most common cause of septic arthritis in adults, and the initial presentation of polyarthralgia and constitutional symptoms followed by asymmetric pain and swelling of one or two joints is typical for gonococcal arthritis [2] [5]. Conversely, almost 75% of DGI patients exhibit skin lesions - macules, papules, pustules, petechiae, vesicles, and bullae [3].
Fever
  • If you develop fevers, chills or pain in your sides or back I would go in even sooner.[zocdoc.com]
  • Aspirin should never be used in anyone under 18 years of age who has a fever. Learn about and use safe sex practices. The safest sex is with a partner who has tested negative and only has sex with you.[fairview.org]
  • You have a fever. You have a discharge from your penis. You have new or increased burning or pain with urination, or you cannot urinate. You have pain, swelling, or tenderness in your scrotum. You have joint pain. You have pus coming from your eyes.[myhealth.alberta.ca]
Malaise
  • Very rarely, the infection can settle in the heart and cause inflammation of the heart valves ( endocarditis ), manifesting with symptoms of malaise, fever, chills, and a heart murmur .[verywellhealth.com]
  • Very rarely, the infection can settle in the heart and cause inflammation of the heart valves ( endocarditis ), manifesting with symptoms of malaise, fever, chills, and a heart murmur.[menshealth.about.com]
Unsafe Sexual Practices
  • Individuals who engage in unsafe sexual practices and those with a history of past gonococcal infections are at increased risk for contracting N gonorrhoeae .[uspharmacist.com]
Constitutional Symptom
  • Gonorrhea is the most common cause of septic arthritis in adults, and the initial presentation of polyarthralgia and constitutional symptoms followed by asymmetric pain and swelling of one or two joints is typical for gonococcal arthritis.[symptoma.com]
Localized Pain
  • In rare cases, erythema and the presence of an exudate in the throat are noted, whereas photophobia, exudation, and local pain are seen in gonococcal conjunctivitis.[symptoma.com]
Tenesmus
  • Although many patients are asymptomatic, acute proctitis, presenting as tenesmus, pruritus, constipation, rectal pain, purulent rectal discharge and even bleeding, might develop.[symptoma.com]
  • Rectal pain, tenesmus, and bleeding are more common in MSM. Severe gonococcal rectal infections may be difficult to differentiate from inflammatory bowel disease.[aafp.org]
Purpura
  • Haug Browse recently published Learning/CME Learning/CME View all learning/CME CME Case 3-2019: A 70-Year-Old Woman with Fever, Headache, and Progressive Encephalopathy Caplacizumab Treatment for Acquired Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura Randomized[nejm.org]
Dysuria
  • Discharge is accompanied by dysuria, but without the sense of urgency and increased urinary frequency.[symptoma.com]
  • Gonorrheal epididymitis may be identified by dysuria, a foul-smelling discharge, painful ejaculation, and swollen lymph nodes in the groin. As with PID, the blockage of one or both tubes can lead to functional infertility.[verywellhealth.com]
  • Symptoms range from mild to severe and include dysuria and vaginal discharge.[merckmanuals.com]
  • NAAT – Nucleic Acid Amplification Test FPU – First pass urine MSM – Men who have sex with men Diagnosis in females Test Site/Specimen Consideration NAAT /- culture Endocervical swab If discharge/dysuria present.[sti.guidelines.org.au]
Urethral Discharge
  • Signs and symptoms, appearing after an incubation period of 1-10 days (although the mean onset is observed after 2-5 days), are urethral discharge followed by dysuria.[symptoma.com]
  • Gram stained urethral discharge may show gram negative intracellular diplococci but is not a sensitive test at non-urethral sites. If MSM , also collect anal and pharyngeal swab even if asymptomatic at these sites.[sti.guidelines.org.au]
  • They then complain only of mild dysuria with a mucoid urethral discharge as observed in nongonococcal urethritis.[dartmouth.edu]
  • The first symptoms in the male are a burning sensation upon urination and a purulent urethral discharge that may be profuse or may be so meagre as to go unnoticed.[britannica.com]
  • Men and women experience slightly different symptoms; these can include: Men: white, yellow, or green urethral discharge, resembling pus inflammation or swelling of the foreskin pain in the testicles or scrotum painful or frequent urination anal discharge[medicalnewstoday.com]
Painful Ejaculation
  • Gonorrheal epididymitis may be identified by dysuria, a foul-smelling discharge, painful ejaculation, and swollen lymph nodes in the groin. As with PID, the blockage of one or both tubes can lead to functional infertility.[verywellhealth.com]

Workup

Despite the fact that microbiological confirmation is necessary to make the diagnosis of gonorrhea in males, a complete physical examination and a thorough patient history are vital in raising clinical suspicion. In adult males who present with purulent discharge from the urethra or conjunctiva, or who suffer from an asymmetric polyarthralgia, gonorrhea must be included in the differential diagnosis. For this reason, data regarding recent sexual activity is of vital importance. Patients should be asked about the number of partners and if there have been any "risky" sexual contacts. Then, appropriate microbiological studies need to be carried out. In the setting of gonococcal urethritis, a sample of the urethral discharge, a urethral swab, or even urine (the first 10-15 mL) are all viable specimens for testing, and either gram-stained smears (carrying a high rate of diagnosis) or cultivation of the obtained material are recommended [6] [7]. Some authors advocate the use of nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT), which can detect bacterial DNA in urine or exudate, but its efficacy is variable [2] [3] [6]. These tests are used when conjunctivitis, disseminated infections, or arthritis (if the joint fluid aspirate is the optimal sample in that case) are suspected, whereas cultivation is recommended over gram staining and NAAT in gonococcal pharyngitis and rectal infections [2] [5] [6]. Because it is not uncommon for patients to suffer from more than one STD, an extensive diagnostic panel should be performed, in order to exclude chlamydia trachomatis (the most common STD worldwide), syphilis, but also hepatitis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection.

Neisseria Gonorrhoeae
  • Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of Neisseria gonorrhoeae infection in adults and adolescents. UpToDate . www.uptodate.com/contents/clinical-manifestations-and-diagnosis-of-neisseria-gonorrhoeae-infection-in-adults-and-adolescents.[uspharmacist.com]
  • Gonorrhea, caused by a gram-negative diplococcus Neisseria gonorrhoeae, is a well-recognized sexually transmitted infection throughout the world, with incidence rates peaking in the United States and Eastern Europe.[symptoma.com]
  • Gonorrhea is one of the oldest known sexually transmitted diseases ( STDs ), and it is caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria. Men with gonorrhea may have a yellowish discharge from the penis accompanied by itching and burning.[medicinenet.com]
  • Gonococcal septicemia in men has generally been associated with recent or concomitant acute gonorrhea, 1,2 whereas gonococcemia is women frequently develops in asymptomatic carriers of Neisseria gonorrhoeae .[jamanetwork.com]

Treatment

  • Tetracycline, in a total dose of 9.5 gm, is highly effective treatment, and a loading dose is not necessary.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Of those, 367 partners (53.0%) were notified by 311 index cases; 95 partners (25.9% of the notifications) of the 89 index cases presented for treatment.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Treatment of uncomplicated gonococcal infections. UpToDate . www.uptodate.com/contents/treatment-of-uncomplicated-gonococcal-infections. Accessed February 12, 2016. 5. Ghanem KG.[uspharmacist.com]
  • Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems.[myhealth.alberta.ca]
  • Symptoms may clear up in a few weeks or months, even without treatment. However, without treatment, the bacteria that cause NGU can stay in the urethra. This means that even if symptoms clear, you can still have an infection.[fairview.org]

Prognosis

  • Prognosis If gonorrhea infections are diagnosed and treated quickly and correctly, recovery usually is complete unless pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) develops. PID is more likely to develop if treatment is delayed.[drugs.com]

Etiology

  • The etiologic agent, neisseria gonorrhoeae, was isolated by neisser in 1879. Acute infectious disease characterized by primary invasion of the urogenital tract; the etiologic agent is neisseria gonorrhoeae.[icd10data.com]
  • The organism was grown in pure culture in 1885, and its etiological relationship to human disease was later established using human volunteers in order to fulfill the experimental requirements of Koch's postulates.[textbookofbacteriology.net]
  • In 1885, the disease was grown and, via human volunteers, its etiological relationship with humans was established. Neisser also worked with August von Wasserman on the development of his diagnostic blood serum tests for syphilis.[austincc.edu]
  • Etiology, manifestations and therapy of acute epididymitis: prospective study of 50 cases. J Urol , 121(6), 750–754 (1979). Holmes KK, Counts GW, Beaty HN. Disseminated gonococcal infection. Ann Intern Med , 74, 979–993 (1971).[cdc.gov]

Epidemiology

  • Hook III , a professor of medicine, epidemiology, and microbiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine. "The problem we have is that the antibiotic pipeline dried up about 20 years ago."[tonic.vice.com]
  • From an epidemiologic point of view the disease is becoming more difficult to control because of the increasing number of asymptomatic male carriers. All forms of the disease previously responded to penicillin, but resistant strains have emerged.[dartmouth.edu]
  • From epidemiological synergy to public health policy and practice: the contribution of other sexually transmitted diseases to sexual transmission of HIV infection. Sex Transm DIs , 75(1), 3–17 (1999).[cdc.gov]
  • Sex partners with contact within 2 wk should be treated presumptively for gonorrhea (epidemiologic treatment). Expedited partner therapy (EPT) involves giving patients a prescription or drugs to deliver to their partner.[merckmanuals.com]
Sex distribution
Age distribution

Prevention

  • It's a good idea to start thinking about prevention now. Not having sex is the best way to prevent any sexually transmitted infection. Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety.[myhealth.alberta.ca]
  • Prevention and Management Considerations Appropriate treatment is of paramount importance for existing gonococcal infections, but preventive measures must also be considered and discussed with the patient.[uspharmacist.com]
  • After abstinence, the best way to prevent infection with gonorrhea is to practice safe sex through the use of barrier contraceptives . Where the symptoms appear will depend upon where infection occurred.[contracept.org]
  • External resources CDC National Prevention Information Network (NPIN) National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention P.O.[drugs.com]

References

Article

  1. Gullette DL, Rooker JL, Kennedy RL. Factors Associated With Sexually Transmitted Infections in Men and Women. Journal of community health nursing. 2009;26(3):121-130.
  2. Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R. Mandel, Douglas and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Churchill Livingstone; 2015.
  3. Mayor MT, Roett MA, Uduhiri KA. Diagnosis and management of gonococcal infections. Am Fam Physician. 2012;86(10):931-938.
  4. Shim BS. Current Concepts in Bacterial Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Korean Journal of Urology. 2011;52(9):589-597.
  5. Murray PR, Rosenthal KS, Pfaller MA. Medical Microbiology. Seventh edition. Philadelphia: Elsevier/Saunders; 2013.
  6. Ng L-K, Martin IE. The laboratory diagnosis of Neisseria gonorrhoeae. The Canadian Journal of Infectious Diseases & Medical Microbiology. 2005;16(1):15-25.
  7. Cook RL, Hutchison SL, Østergaard L, Braithwaite RS, Ness RB. Systematic review: noninvasive testing for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Ann Intern Med. 2005;142(11):914-925.

Ask Question

5000 Characters left Format the text using: # Heading, **bold**, _italic_. HTML code is not allowed.
By publishing this question you agree to the TOS and Privacy policy.
• Use a precise title for your question.
• Ask a specific question and provide age, sex, symptoms, type and duration of treatment.
• Respect your own and other people's privacy, never post full names or contact information.
• Inappropriate questions will be deleted.
• In urgent cases contact a physician, visit a hospital or call an emergency service!
Last updated: 2018-06-22 10:43