Oral Gonorrhea: Everything You Need to Know
Oral gonorrhea or Pharyngeal gonorrhea is a type of gonorrhea that affects the throat. Although gonorrhea is commonly known to affect the genitals, it sometimes spreads to other moist parts of the body, including the throat.
Pharyngeal gonorrhea is primarily transmitted through oral sex. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that about 85% of sexually active adults (18-44 years) have had oral sex at least once with a partner of the opposite sex. This means that more sexually active people are at risk of contracting this infection.
Here we’ll discuss everything you need to know about oral gonorrhea, including how it’s spread, how to differentiate it from strep throat, diagnosis, and the ideal treatment options.
So, let’s dive in!
Oral gonorrhea vs strep throat
Throat gonorrhea and strep throat are two different infections affecting the same body part (throat) and manifesting in almost similar symptoms.
Oral gonorrhea is a bacterial sexually transmitted infection (STI) spread by having oral sex with an infected person.
On the other hand, strep throat is a bacterial infection spread through saliva droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes; it can also be transmitted through sharing foods and drinks.
In most cases, gonorrhea in throat is asymptomatic. However, in the event the symptoms appear, the common oral gonorrhea symptoms include:
- Itchy or Sore throat
- Redness or lesions in the throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Trouble swallowing
- Flu-like symptoms
For strep throat, the symptoms are mainly:
- Fever, 101°F (38°C) or higher
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Trouble swallowing
- Redness at the back of the throat
- White patches in the throat
Due to the similarity in their symptoms, it’s advisable to visit a health practitioner for medical tests to ascertain the underlying issue. And while both infections are treated using antibiotics, the diagnosis will determine the right antibiotic for you.
How is oral gonorrhea spread?
Like other STDs and STIs, throat gonorrhea is spread through sexual intercourse with an infected person. In this case, the difference is it’s transmitted through oral sex.
You can get this infection by giving oral sex to a partner with infected genitals or receiving oral sex from a person with an infected oral cavity. A recent study also suggests that this infection can also be transmitted through kissing.
And since this infection is mainly asymptomatic, you can easily transmit it to your partner without knowing it.
If you suspect you’ve been exposed to conditions that would put you at risk of contracting this infection, consult a doctor immediately.
How is oral gonorrhea tested?
To test for throat gonorrhea, a health practitioner will recommend a throat swab. The doctor screens the swab samples from your throat to determine if there are any detectable traces of the gonorrhea bacterium, Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
If the test results come back positive, the doctor recommends the necessary treatment option.
If you have a positive oral gonorrhea test, the doctor may also recommend taking a chlamydia test because these two infections mainly attack simultaneously. So, don’t be scared if the doctor asks for a chlamydia test.
Oral gonorrhea treatment
Since gonorrhea in throat is a bacterial infection, the primary form of treatment is through antibiotics. The most popular and effective antibiotic for treating oral gonorrhea is ceftriaxone.
CDC recommends treating uncomplicated cases of oral gonorrhea using a single 500-mg intramuscular dose of ceftriaxone. Patients weighing 330 lbs. (150 kg) or more should take a single 1-gram (g) dose of ceftriaxone.
This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.