History Of Gonorrhea

A Brief History of Gonorrhea

The history of gonorrhea is long and dates back many decades and even centuries.  Gonorrhea and ocular inflammation research dates back to the Napoleonic wars.  There were many myths and mysteries regarding this disease and until research proved so, many did not think this was a sexually transmitted disease.  In fact, gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease that can be passed through vaginal sex, oral sex, and anal sex.  This STD has infected many in history from politicians, movie stars, and friends of the famous.  However, sailors are most noted for passing and spreading this sexually transmitted disease and due to their frequent visits from port to port.

Gonorrhea affects both men and women.  In women, the main area affected is the cervix.  However, if it is not treated, the disease can spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes.  In men, gonorrhea affects the urethra.  Common symptoms with men are painful or frequent urinations, anal itching or bleeding and discharge, and abnormal milky white to yellow (depending on how long he has had the infection) discharge of puss from the penis.  In women, the symptoms are painful and/or frequent urination, anal itching or pain, abnormal vaginal discharge, abnormal vaginal bleeding during or after sex, genital itching, lower abdominal pain, fever and general tiredness.  Once treated, it is possible to become reinfected with gonorrhea and it is not uncommon for some to have been infected several times.

Some of the earliest cases of sexually transmitted diseases related to gonorrhea date back to France in 1250’s, but at that time it was not officially named gonorrhea.  In medieval Europe, cities hired public health doctors to treat infected citizens with no right of refusal for treatment.  Many of the treatments for gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted diseases were brutal and extremely painful and rarely resulted in a successful cure.

During the recovery of the English warship the Mary Rose, a syringe was discovered and many believe that this was used to inject mercury into the crewmembers’ penises that contracted gonorrhea while making their frequent trips to different ports around the world.

Then, around the nineteenth century, silver nitrate was a commonly used drug for dealing with gonorrhea but was soon dropped in favor of Protargol.  This was a type of colloidal silver and a product of Bayer from 1897.  This treatment was used until antibiotics and penicillin became common practice in the 1940’s.  This was the first truly successful cure for gonorrhea and was successful until the 1970’s.  In the 1970’s, gonorrhea became more resistant to penicillin and this lead to the use of other antibiotics used in conjunction with the penicillin.  Penicillin along with other antibiotics can still be seen being used in clinics to this day and remains one of the treatments of choice.

The English nicknamed gonorrhea “the clap”.  However, many think the word comes from a combination of the Greek words gono and rrhea.  Gono which means “seed” and rrhea which means “to flow”.   The flow of urine is disrupted when a person is infected with gonorrhea.  “The clap” is a nickname for this disease to describe the clapping and stinging sensation that men and women both will feel during urination.

In the past, condoms were not readily available as they are today.  However, it is still possible to contract this sexually transmitted disease even with today’s technology in condoms.  The best and only one hundred percent sure way to prevent gonorrhea and any sexually transmitted disease is abstinence.  Another great way of preventing sexually transmitted diseases is to remain in a monogamous and long-term relationship you’re your spouse or partner.