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Differences between gonorrhoea and yeast infection

Gonorrhoea vs Yeast infection

The act of intercourse can cause a number of infections. Gonorrhoea and yeast infection are one of the commonest sexually transmitted infections besides syphilis and herpes.

Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted infection spread by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. In men, it commonly causes penile discharge and burning sensation while urinating. Women are asymptomatic almost 50% of the times. Half the women might experience lower abdominal pain, vaginal pain during intercourse or a vaginal discharge. If left untreated it can spread to cause epididimytis in men or pelvic inflammatory disease in women. Symptoms generally start within a week after infection with the bacteria in both sexes. The infection can spread through oral, anal and vaginal intercourse.

Yeast infection is medically termed as candidiasis or moniliasis. It is caused by the fungus Candida albicans. It can affect even the skin, tongue and other systems but it is very commonly spread through unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected person. It can cause vaginitis in women. The symptoms of a yeast infection in women are severe redness and itching followed by burning and soreness in peri-vaginal area and a whitish cotton-like discharge. The discharge has a cheesy or curd-like consistency. Men experience symptoms like patchy redness and soreness at the head of the penis with intense itching and burning. Candidiasis can affect the anal mucosa, food pipe, nails also and cause more severe symptoms like difficulty in swallowing food.

The diagnosis of gonorrhoea is made by making a slide of the discharge or a smear from the genitals. The characteristic bacteria can be identified under the microscope. Mostly the symptoms are enough for a qualified doctor. Similarly, candidiasis can be identified by the characteristic discharge and symptoms. A swab test is rarely necessary to confirm a yeast infection but it will be a good idea to confirm the same. The vaginal/penile area is swabbed with a cotton bud and transferred and examined on a slide under the microscope. The characteristic spaghetti and meat ball appearance of the fungus can be identified.

Complications of a gonorrhoea infection are septicaemia affecting joints and the heart valves. If a yeast infection remains untreated it might spread to affect other organ systems and become a full blown fungemia.

Treatment of gonorrhoea is with antibiotics. Due to widespread and indiscreet usage, antibiotic resistance has developed and antibiotics like azithromycin and doxycyline that worked earlier might not work today. Stronger antibiotics like ceftriaxone might have to be used to cure a gonorrhoea. Also, daily physical hygiene and complete abstinence till cure takes place is a must. Both the partners must be treated simultaneously to prevent any re-transmission amongst the two. Similarly, a yeast infection is treated with anti-fungals like topical application and oral consumption of clotrimazole, fluconazole and ketoconazole. Topical nystatin might also be used. Local treatment might include medical vaginal suppositories and douches. If the infection has spread into the blood, then amphotericin and intravenous fluconazole might be needed to curb the infection.

Take home pointers:

Gonorrhoea is a sexually transmitted bacterial infection spread via oral, anal and vaginal intercourse.
Yeast infection, candidiasis or moniliasis is a sexually transmitted fungal infection spread via all kinds of sexual intercourse.
Gonorrhoea is spread by the bacteria Neisseria Gonorrhoea and yeast infection is spread by the fungus Candida albicans.
Symptoms of gonorrhoea are burning micturition and vaginal/penile discharge. Symptoms of yeast infection are curdy discharge from the vagina/penis with a fishy-odour and intense itching.
Both infections if left untreated can spread and cause widespread systemic infections.
Treatment for gonorrhoea is with antibiotics and of yeast infection with antimycotics.

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