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What are the Consequences of Untreated Gonorrhea?

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Updated June 13, 2014

Question: What are the Consequences of Untreated Gonorrhea?
Answer: In untreated gonorrhea infections, the bacteria can spread up into the reproductive tract, or more rarely, can spread through the blood stream and infect the joints, heart valves, or the brain. The most common result of untreated gonorrhea is PID, a serious infection of the female reproductive tract. Gonococcal PID often appears immediately after the menstrual period. PID causes scar tissue to form in the fallopian tubes. If the tube is partially scarred, the fertilized egg may not be able to pass into the uterus. If this happens, the embryo may implant in the tube causing a tubal (ectopic) pregnancy. This serious complication may result in a miscarriage and can cause death of the mother.

Rarely, untreated gonorrhea can spread through the blood to the joints. This can cause an inflammation of the joints which is very serious.

If you are infected with gonorrhea, your risk of getting HIV infection increases (HIV, human immunodeficiency virus, causes AIDS). Therefore, it is extremely important for you to either prevent yourself from getting gonorrhea or get treated early if you already are infected with it.

Reprinted from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

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