Complications Of Gonorrhea

March 10, 2010

In spite of campaigns for safe sex, people the world over are still contracting STD's.  One of the most common STD's around is gonorrhea. This sexually transmitted disease (STD) is caused by a bacterium that infects both men and women both. Gonorrhea can affect the throat, urethra, and rectum of either sex, and in women, can affect the cervix, or the opening of the uterus.

Most of the time, people who contract gonorrhea, get it during sexual relations. But the infection can be passed from an infected pregnant woman to her developing infant. The effects of gonorrhea in infants tend to be limited to the eyes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tells us that around 700,000 United States residents contract gonorrhea each year. Many people don't realize they are infected with gonorrhea.

Use Condoms

Of course, the smartest thing a person can do is to avoid contracting gonorrhea. Abstaining from sex is the surest way to prevent an infection with gonorrhea. But if you plan to have sex, use latex condoms every time you have intercourse and make sure you use them as directed. Be careful about your sexual partners and ask them to be tested before your relationship becomes sexual.

When gonorrhea goes untreated, there can be some significant complications, for instance:

*Female Infertility—When gonorrhea goes untreated in women, it can spread to the uterus and fallopian tubes which in turn can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can cause irreversible scarring of the tubes, complications of pregnancy, and infertility. PID may cause chronic abdominal pain, irregular menstrual periods, backache, bad-smelling vaginal discharge, and painful sexual intercourse.

Male Infertility 

*Male Infertility—Men who remain untreated for gonorrhea may end up with a condition called epididymitis. This is an inflammation of the rear section of the testicles which contains the sperm ducts, or the epididymis. Epididymis is a treatable condition, but if left untreated, may cause male infertility.

*Spreading Infection—Gonorrhea can spread through your bloodstream, infecting other areas of the body, such as the joints. Symptoms may include stiffness, swelling, joint pain, sores, rash, and fever.

*HIV/AIDS Vulnerability—Gonorrhea predisposes one to a higher risk of infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which can lead to acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Those who have both gonorrhea and HIV are more liable to transmit their diseases to their partners.

Blind Babies

*Infant Complications—Babies who get gonorrhea from their mothers during their delivery may become blind, contract infections including joint infections, and may have scalp lesions.

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