Can Mouthwash Cure Gonorrhea?
Sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs/STIs) have accelerated to alarming levels. Disturbing statistics show that, in the United States alone, 20 million cases are reported annually. Half of these are found in millennials, which are younger people between the ages of 15 to24. Syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea are the three top STDs affecting the younger population today. 820,000 cases of sexually transmitted infections are attributed to gonorrhea alone.
What is the Difference Between an STD and an STI?
Though used interchangeably, there is a difference, albeit a slight one. An STD is a catch-all term for all sexually transmitted diseases. An STI is an infection that has not yet become a disease. Since most STIs can be treated with the proper medications when caught in time, they do not always evolve into a disease. For example, if you are unaware you have the STI, chlamydia, or are staying quiet hoping it will go away, it can blossom into an STD called pelvic inflammatory disease.
The term STI is used more often now to counteract the stigma that was once associated with STDs. It’s a gentler and more optimistic acronym, since people associate the word ‘infection’ with ‘cure’, thus implying the condition has a hopeful outcome.
Other than Intercourse, How Does One Get an STI or STD?
Bacterial and viral STIs are typically transmitted sexually via oral, vaginal or anal sex. Exposure to infected blood, skin, mucous membranes, seminal or vaginal fluids, bodily secretions, and open sores place you at high risk for STIs. Unclean shared needles used for tattooing, piercing and drug injection render you highly susceptible as well. Other STIs, such as pubic lice and scabies can be spread via physical personal proximity or infested fabrics.
Who Gets STDs?
From birth to death, no one is immune. There is no racial, economic, age or gender barrier. Sexually transmitted infections are impartial, in that they don’t discriminate.
What are the Symptoms?
Each STD/STI has its own list of multiple symptoms. You may have some or all of them. In many cases, there are no symptoms at all. If you are sexually active, especially with plural partners, or if you indulge in oral sex, pay attention to your body’s signals. Sudden pelvic, abdominal, back, tongue, mouth or throat abnormalities, should always be reported to your physician. Even your dentist can detect oral STI issues.
It is important to insist your partners use protection or provide proof of ‘cleanliness’. Use condoms and/or a dental dam regularly. Have yourself tested on a regular basis. Just as you can get an STI, you can also unknowingly transmit one.
What are the Risks of Untreated STIs?
Repercussions can be severe, even fatal. Untreated STIs can lead to STDs, affecting you physically and mentally, destroying your nervous system, organs, bones, joints, tissues—every part of you. Some may lie dormant for years. If you have an STI and are pregnant, your baby can be born with that same condition, or be stillborn. Even if you firmly believe you are in a completely monogamous relationship and are suddenly afflicted with some of the tell-tale symptom associated with STIs, see a physician. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
What are the Treatments?
Treatments vary based on the individual infection you have. Only your physician can prescribe the correct regimen after proper diagnosis. Antibiotics are usually effective for bacterial, parasitic or yeast STIs. There are however, some resistant strains of gonorrhea emerging that have become immune to antibiotics. Early intervention is important. Viral STDs cannot usually be cured, but they can be managed with antiviral medications. Vaccinations can help prevent hepatitis and some HPV types. Remember, STIs can recur. Even if previous treatment cured your gonorrhea, you can still contract it again from another partner.
Why are so Many Young People Suddenly Getting STDs/STIs?
There are a number of reasons for the astronomical rise:
- Multiple Partners: Risk rises in non-monogamous relationships.
- Unprotected Sex: Misplaced trust, inhibitions lowered by drug or alcohol use, and other factors can make women less cautious, leaving them vulnerable to these infections.
- Oral and Anal Sex: Many females opt for oral or anal sex, either because of homosexual preference, desire to preserve virginity, fear of pregnancy or other reasons. The human mouth is just as ideal a location for STIs as the vagina, and venereal disease plays no geographical favorites. It’s as enthusiastic growing north as it is south. Gonorrhea, chlamydia, herpes simplex 1&2, syphilis, human papillomavirus (HPV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can all be transmitted and contracted orally and anally.
- Casual Sex: One night stands are becoming more frequent and acceptable, increasing the odds of infection.
- Internet Dating: Wining and dining a woman for weeks, even months to eventually ‘get lucky’ has become less of a seduction ritual. Many social sites are devoted to individuals who aren’t interested in relationships or are too busy to devote time to them. They admittedly seek only physical encounters. The possibility of engaging in sex with one-or even more- sexual partners a week dramatically raises the chances of getting an STI.
- Less fear of pregnancy and long term physical repercussions: Because there is now access to so many forms of birth control, fewer cautions are being taken. Where women once refrained from sex for fear of getting pregnant, those ‘accidents’ are preventable or easily ‘rectifiable’ now. Likewise, knowing that a few days of taking antibiotics can cure just about any infection has made people less cautious about protection.
I Heard That Mouthwash Can Cure Oral Gonorrhea. Is This True?
In a word, NO! Though research has shown that mouthwash does indeed kill some gonorrheal bacteria in the mouth and a little past the tonsils into the throat, there is no evidence to support that it has any healing qualities beyond that.
Believing a quick gargle will make you spit out all traces of gonorrhea is a dangerous assumption to make. This home remedy is as effective on oral STIs as covering an atomic bomb in bubble wrap to muffle the explosive sound. In fact, using mouthwash as a cure or preventative may actually mask some important symptoms that your physician needs to know about in order to identify and treat you effectively.
Statistic show that one in four Americans will contract an STD in their lifetime. Many won’t even know it. If you think you may have an STI or STD and wish to schedule an appointment for screening, call 770.720.7733.
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