Complications of Gonorrhea
Gonorrhea is easily treated, but when it is not treated, it can be a serious health threat for both women and men.
During pregnancy, untreated gonorrhea can cause premature labor and stillbirth.
Gonorrhea can be passed from mother to fetus during birth. These infections can lead to blood, joint, and eye infections. To prevent serious eye infections that can be caused by gonorrhea, drops of antibiotics are routinely put into the eyes of newborn babies immediately after delivery. Testing and gonorrhea treatment during a pregnancy reduces the risk of transmission.
In women, if gonorrhea is not treated, it can infect the fallopian tubes, ovaries, or uterus. This is called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Up to 1 out of 5 women with untreated gonorrhea will develop PID. If PID is not treated, it can affect a woman's ability to get pregnant.
Gonorrhea can also make men infertile. It can spread from the urethra to the testicles. There, it can result in a condition called epididymitis. One in five men with an untreated gonorrhea infection develops epididymitis. Acute epididymitis can cause infertility. Symptoms include fever as well as swelling and extreme pain in the scrotum.ARTHRITIS
Three out of 100 women and men with untreated gonorrhea develop a condition called disseminated gonococcal infection (DGI). DGI can cause arthritis and skin sores. Women are four times more likely than men to develop DGI. Adolescent women have the highest infection rate.
- joint pain
- skin rash or lesions
When diagnosed, DGI can be easily treated. If left untreated, DGI can permanently damage joints.